One of the major questions that is often asked among people going on some serious adventure camping for the first time is whether or not bear mace works. Does bear spray really work? The answer is, yes. This is a good question because after all, if you're wrong, you could be lunch. An angry charging grizzly bear is a much bigger issue than a raccoon looking for a snack at night.
If you're thinking about using bear spray, it makes sense to know whether or not that deterrent works before the angry grizzly charges. Hikers, campers, bikers, and travelers alike in certain parts of the country use bear spray, and studies show that actual bear pepper spray, when used correctly, is more effective than a firearm.
There are several problems with using a firearm for self defense. The first and most obvious is the people carrying around a hand gun aren't always excellent shots. Being an okay shot with a revolver is not enough when a bear charges. In fact, there are expert marksmen who have been mauled because the shot bear just got angry and kept on coming, even with several well placed shots.
The second part is that a bear that is shot is only likely to stop or slow about two thirds of the time. The other third the bear actually becomes more angry and aggravated from the pain and actually becomes more intent on harming you. On the other side, studies from the last 30 years showed that bear spray turned back charging bears or over curious bears an amazing 92% of the time.
Bear spray can cause incredibly severe pain to humans, but an accident with bear spray will put you in extreme pain for some time, but it won't be fatal the way a firearm could be. A person that just catches a downwind whiff of this is often on the ground in pain for five minutes or more. A bear's nose is hundreds of times more sensitive than a human's, which is why the bear spray is so effective and repulsive to even a full sized grizzly.
Like with most things, the key to using bear spray effectively is to know how to properly use it. If a bear is getting too close are charging, spray the bear spray in front of you. It should form a cloud in the air, and the moment the bear hits that cloud it will fall on its haunches and then 19 out of 20 times it will tuck tail and run.
That's a far better result than having it charge through two bullet wounds to its next meal.
April 18, 2020
Bear Spray: The Best Defense Against Charging Grizzlies
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