How to Use Bear Spray

How to Use Bear SprayBear Spray

If you are all too familiar with the call of the wild, or perhaps simply enjoy fishing by a serene lake, chances are, you love being in the woods. Now, there's some information that you might find valuable about venturing into these territories.

The fresh smell of the forest, the thrill of sleeping under the stars, the sensation of coarse bark beneath your hands, getting back into nature, and relying on survival techniques to make it through...all of it amounts to one adventurous pastime.

If spending time outdoors is one of your favorite things to do, you've likely heard that you need to carry bear spray in your backpack as a deterrent.

But why? What exactly does it do, and how does it work? And how would you use it in case of a dangerous situation? More importantly, would you use it in the front direction towards the bear or upwind?

Not to worry. The subject can seem confusing, but we have the basics laid out for you in an easy-to-understand manner.

Below, we've put together a comprehensive guide detailing everything you need to know. We cover the proper use of bear spray, things you should know before using it, the ingredients in the bear spray, and more.

Why Use Bear Spray?

When camping, hiking, or otherwise spending time in the outdoors, you should be equipped and prepared. It's especially important to have bear spray ready in your hands when you're outdoors.

Bears are aggressive and powerful animals. If you encounter one or find that one is charging at you, you are going to want to be able to defend yourself.

Bear Spray Held in Hand

Bear Pepper Spray

Bear spray is an excellent alternative to carrying around a lethal weapon for protection. It is non-lethal. It is designed to deter and stop their aggressive behavior, with its active ingredient being capsaicin, derived from red peppers.

This unique spray can significantly reduce the chances of getting injured or even killed. It also helps to reduce the number killed by humans in self-defense. Moreover, if the capsaicin lands on the bear's skin, it will cause severe irritation.

Bear spray comes out as a fine but forceful mist. It is composed of chemicals derived from Capsicum - a group of plants that includes bell peppers, jalapeños, and other peppers.

What Does It Do To The Bear?

The most potent sprays usually have a 2% concentration of capsaicinoid. This deterrent is derived from red pepper, a potent irritant.

Upon contact, the bear’s eyes, nose, and lungs will be inflamed, resulting in temporary sight loss, restriction of breathing, and a burning sensation.

The result is effective but temporary. This spray will not permanently injure or kill. It merely gives the affected humans time to get away.

Remember, when you encroach upon a dangerous animal's territory, you are putting yourself at risk. There is no reason an animal should be killed unless a human's life is in imminent danger.

Even when it comes to the spray, you should not use this option until you have no other choice.

Steps for Proper Use of Bear Spray

Bear sprays are potent. You should have a full understanding of how they work and how to use them before carrying one on your person.

How It Works

MACE Bear Spray contains a powerful blend of capsaicinoids, which are the active ingredients in pepper spray, and is an example of the strength of these types of sprays, as it contains 260 grams of these potent chemicals. The can empties in as quickly as 9 seconds and can blast up to 20 feet away.

In essence, this creates a mighty wall between you and the charging bear.

Thankfully, it does not require a perfect aim or a direct hit to be effective — no need to rely on being a good shot in the heat of a terrifying and adrenaline-charged moment. All you have to do is put a healthy cloud of spray between you and the beast that's coming at you.

By understanding these key facts, your next outdoor adventure can be safer and more secure. If you have found yourself in a dangerous situation with a bruin nearby or even charging at you, this could certainly put a damper on your day of mountain climbing or kayaking.

How to Use

Here are the steps you should take. All of this should be done as quickly and effectively as possible, similar to how you would control your dogs on an adventurous walk.

  1. First, remove the safety clip. Aim the can slightly downward and adjust for the wind conditions.
  2. When the animal is around 30-60 feet away, pull the trigger, and begin spraying. Do not spray too soon, as you risk the cloud dispersing before he or she is within close distance of you.
  3. Spray directly at the animal so that it cannot get to you without first passing through the cloud of spray. Aim toward its face and eyes, especially.
  4. Continue spraying until the can empties, or they stop charging at you.
  5. If it comes within 15 feet of you, continue to spray directly into its face. This also applies if they are sniffing around inside your tent or around your campsite.
  6. Flee from the area as quickly as possible.
  7. Do not run, as this triggers the instinct to chase you. Just move quickly and calmly and get to a safe place.
  8. Lastly, avoid coming into contact with the spray. It will have the same effect on you that it does on the bear, if not worse.

Helpful Tips

In addition to proper usage, here are some useful tips you should know as a proud owner of a can of bear spray when walking or exploring wildlife territories.

Have It Handy

If you're out canoeing, snowboarding, or even just on a long-range walk, you should keep the bear spray can readily accessible. This could mean it's in a pocket you can reach easily, or in a quick-draw holster. You could also keep it hooked to your belt.

Bear Pepper Spray on Side in Holster

Keep it On Your Side for Immediate Access

Whether you're skiing, biking, or doing your routine wildlife watching, the one place you do not want to keep it is away in your pack. Make sure you have quick and easy access to the can of spray in case you need to use it unexpectedly.

Don't wait until the moment a bear is charging or when you're walking your dogs to figure out how to use the spray.

It Is Not Preventative

You should also be aware that this product does not work the same way bug spray does when you're out kayaking or climbing. It is not preventative nor will it make your snowboarding or any other gear wildlife-proof.

Spraying yourself, your equipment, or your dogs with bear repellent will do nothing to deter them. It only works when used at the moment, and does not make you "invisible" to them the way bug spray does to insects, whether you're out biking or canoeing.

Practice Makes Perfect

Find an empty or used-up can and practice with it, just like how you would practice maneuvers while climbing, skiing, or biking. Try removing it quickly from wherever you plan to keep it. Also, try removing the safety tab with your thumb and firing.

Try using the empty spray in all types of conditions—be it while snowboarding, kayaking, or during a long-range bike ride. You never know what sort of situation you'll encounter while exploring the wildlife.

You should be able to use the spray can whether you have a headwind or the wind is at your back, whether you're skiing down a slope or canoeing through a rapid.

With a crosswind, much like when you're climbing or biking, you need to fully understand how the spray will interact with all types of wind and weather conditions.

Proper Storage and Use

Just as you would treat your skiing or climbing gear, you should know some appropriate methods for caring for your bear spray.

Keep it away from extreme temperatures. The can may explode if it reaches 120 F. Therefore, it should not be stored inside your vehicle, in the hot sun, or near any heat sources after a long day of snowboarding or kayaking.

In the same way, bear spray does not work as well at super-low temperatures. Below 40 F, the can may not spray as far or might not work at all. Keep the temperature of the canister as regulated as possible.

You also need to ensure that your canister has not expired, similar to checking your skiing or canoeing equipment. The product will not do much for you if it is past its expiration date.

Lastly, make sure the one you choose is stamped with a seal of approval by the Environmental Protection Agency. Personal defense products like a hand-held keychain pepper spray will not cut it when you're skiing, climbing or hiking with dogs around wildlife.

It Is Not 100% Effective

Do not rely on a bear spray to be your one and only defense against them when you're out biking or walking your dogs.

Though it is a beneficial tool, it should not be the only protective measure you take against a dangerous encounter while skiing, biking or other activities. Staying safe while adventuring will ensure you have plenty of more adventures to come, like kayaking or long-range wildlife photography.

You should spend time learning ways to reduce your risk of encounters while spending time in areas that they roam, be it canoeing, climbing or even when you're walking your dogs. Knowing other wilderness techniques, too, can help keep you safe.

For example, leaving food around at your campsite is a surefire way to attract bears. Whether you're biking or kayaking, all food should be locked up tight and put away so that they don't catch a whiff and come searching.

Take many preventative steps to avoid the risk of encounters or attacks when you're out climbing, snowboarding, or even just walking your dogs. The canister should not be your first line of defense, but your last resort. Just as you would wear protective gear while skiing or biking, bear spray is a part of your long-range safety plan when exploring wildlife territories.

More Bear Safety Tips

There are more ways to stay safe on the trails. You should be armed with basic knowledge to avoid dangerous confrontations such as a bear encounter altogether. This knowledge includes understanding the proper use of gear and equipment like short-range firearms and bear deterrents to help you navigate through potential risks.

Can of Bear Spray

Carry Bear Pepper Spray while Outdoors

With some outdoor know-how, and the appropriate gear, you may not even end up with a need to deploy your bear deterrent. Avoiding situations in regions like Alaska, where a bear encounter is more probable, is key. The ability to stave off a sudden bear charge is the main goal here.

Avoid Bears - And Help Them Avoid You

When you're in bear country, like the many vast trails in Alaska, your best strategy is to avoid them at all costs. If you see a bear from a distance, do not try to get close. It's not the time to test your short-range firearm.

These are very dangerous and aggressive animals when provoked or frightened. Not even the most top-shelf gear can guarantee safety when taking your chances for an up-close glimpse at this wild beast.

To help prevent a bear encounter from happening upon you, make lots of noise as you go. Stay in a group--never traverse in the back-country alone--and look for signs that a bear has been in the area. Keep your gear and bear deterrent within reach and in a secure container easy to access.

If you come across scat (droppings), dig marks, visible paw prints, overturned logs, or a trail that suggests that one has been there, chances are a bear has been around. Vacate the area and look and listen for activity as you explore.

Bears: Territorial, But They Do Not Want Confrontation

Keep in mind: usually, bears avoid people. They are afraid of humans, as they find them unfamiliar and threatening. So do your best to make sure they don't come looking for you.

Most encounters occur because a bear has inadvertently wandered too close to you. You should be especially cautious of mothers who have cubs to protect. Their instincts force them to stop at nothing to protect their young and may charge if provoked.

In addition, a bear with a fresh kill will be especially territorial. So, in these scenarios, having gear like firearms or bear deterrents with a longer shelf life can come in handy.

How to React at First Sight of A Bear

So you've spotted a bear. As long as it's far away and has not noticed you, you are not in immediate danger. Do not spray anything just yet. Always assess their behavior before resorting to your bear deterrent.

If you see one and it is not in close proximity, simply leave the area. Do not attract attention to yourself. Just go quickly and quietly and avoid contact.

If the bear has spotted you but is not charging or coming toward you, back away calmly without resorting to your bear deterrent or firearm. Running and other sudden movements will inspire them to chase you.

Defending Yourself From A Bear: Spray or Gun?

An aggressive encounter with a bear is rare, but it does happen. Having repellent to defend yourself might even be more effective than a bullet from a gun.

With a gun, you have to shoot with a proper aim and hit the animal in a spot that will disable them, not just anger them further. There's a lot more pressure and responsibility when you're defending yourself with a firearm.

Where to Purchase Bear Pepper Spray

Now that you know the importance of the right gear and using and carrying this life-saving spray, you need to know where to buy it. Keep an eye on the shelf life of the bear deterrent to ensure it will be effective when required.

In fact, you should be aware that some states even have hunting laws now that require you to possess a can of bear spray. They need to be stored in a safe container, away from children and pets.

Purchase only from a reputable source such as TBOTECH, and familiarize yourself with bear deterrents and their specific usage. You can check out our wide selection of personal defense products, including animal repellents, and buy here.

Among the animal repellents we sell are bear sprays that will undoubtedly do the trick. They are EPA-approved and are some of the most robust products of their kind. Remember to check their container and shelf life before heading off on your trail.

Don't head out into the woods with anything less than these top-of-the-line products. It's not just about having the gear but knowing how to use it effectively.

If you have concerns or questions about any of our highly rated products, their shelf life, or inquiries about company policies, please contact us today.



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