Planning your next outdoor adventure in the bear country; is the key to knowing how you should use bear spray. But to how far do you know about how to use bear spray? You do not need to be an expert in bear biology; but with a lot of bear spray myths out there, you should know a few basics to ensure your protection in wilds.
Is bear spray less effective or not as powerful as regular pepper spray? Are our bear spray and pepper spray the same? Can bear spray have on the tent and also bear spray can seriously harm a bear? But what is all truth? Let’s throw light on bear spray myths vs. facts.
It is always wise to be prepared for any encounters in the wild. No matter what you plan in the bear country, whether camping, biking, hiking, or whatever, just makes bear spray a key in your gear. To make the right use of bear spray, you have to clear out all its misconceptions. Let’s look at some of the biggest and reveal some interesting truth about this vital piece of gear when heading to bear land.
MYTH 1: Bear spray less effective or not as powerful as regular pepper spray
This is one of the bear spray myths out there, it is time to debunk it. About 1.33% of major capsaicinoids are measured in the most powerful pepper spray while it measures about 2.0% major capsaicinoids in a bear spray which is almost 50% stronger in comparison.2.0% in a bear spray is the extreme bear spray strength one is legalized to have by the EPA and it says how operative is going to be.
With the major capsaicinoid percentage, it tells the strength which is a lot mistaken for the percentage of oleoresin capsicum (OC) that measures out the pepper amount in the product.
In order to define the true strength of bear spray and pepper spray individually, you have to identify the major capsaicinoids percentage of each.
FACT: Bear spray and pepper spray strong point is measured in key capsaicinoids amount in each
MYTH 2: Bear spray is effective on humans and can use on skin/ clothes like bug spray
By not properly understanding the terms “repellent” and “deterrent”, some used to have it like a bug repellent, spraying on skin and clothes. And with reluctance to read the instructions and warning note in the back, many get it mistaken easily.
Bear spray myths say bears would leave you away if you have bear spray on yourself. But the first thing that comes in the back of the bottle is “Do not spray on humans”. And the other thing is people believe bear spray can spread around the campsite to ward off bears especially as a safe trick during the night. This is backed with some logic, but what it actually does is attract bears from distance to closer to check the plant-based odor of high pepper in the spray.
The best thing here is putting all scented products in a bear-safe container and keeping it about 100 feet or more from the campsite.
FACT: Do not use bear spray on humans and clothes
MYTH 3: Bear Spray is as not as effective as a gun
When it comes to bear safety, people believe guns are more effective for protection instead of using bear spray. But from studies, this has proven to be a myth.
Bear spray is an effective choice for self-defense when we are turned to grizzly bears and black bears. And here the chance for you to get seriously injured with a gun is very low if you choose bear spray.
Anyway, guns are dangerous weapons that can even kill bears. And when a bear is at you, naturally the chance to aim right at the bear is low to be sure and you are definitely getting into trouble.
FACT: Bear spray is a smarter choice for self-protection especially against black bear and grizzly bear
MYTH 4: Use Bear spray on your tent
As above stated, bear spray is a deterrent and not a repellent. It will not work as a bug spray by spraying it all over the tent and on you. Even bear spray myths say it brings protection over tents, it can be an attraction to bears far away with its pepper smell.
Therefore, it is not a good idea to use bear spray on your camping tent to keep bears off from your campsite. And never use on your skin as it could course various irritations and skin infections. There, make sure you only use bear spray on a charging bear and prevent using it on your camping gear, on your or around the campsite.
FACT: Bear spray is effective only when it is used against a charging bear
MYTH 5: Bear spray can cause life-long injuries to bears
This is one of the biggest bear spray myths out there which has no proven facts up to now. There is no incident in past about serious injuries to bears from bear sprays and there is no chance for it in the future too.
In the United States and most countries, bear sprays are regulated to use which is another fact that proves bear sprays are not for serious damages. They are just to cause slight discomfort to bear that is just to last temporarily. Its active ingredient is going to wear off in a few hours and no serious harm. They are not for causing life-long damages to the animal and never appear fatal.
FACT: Bear spray causes a temporary discomfort to the bear to prevent it from charging at you. It is not to cause serious injuries to the animal
MYTH 6: Aim Bear spray straight ahead
One of the top bear spray myths is to lengthen out your arms straight ahead at a right angle from your upper body. That really spread contrary to bear manners and also EPA guidelines.
Bears charge on all fours and get speed by running low to the ground. To spray out it right, make sure to point it more downwards. Aim it at 45 degrees and do not shoot over the head. It is working outward of 25 to 35 feet, with a cloud of about 8 feet diameter. It goes wide but not stream. To get the best of the bear spray where it inhales it and gets the spray in its eyes. Try best to aim it more downward at about 45 degrees.
FACT: Target the bear spray more down at 45 degrees
MYTH 7: Bear spray to use at home defense
Bear spray can stop a bear from moving towards you, then why not use it against a harmful criminal in-home defense? In any dangerous situation, what comes first is your protection and others. What keeps bears away from you can work as your defense mechanism. Yes, both pepper spray and bear spray include similar active ingredients. But why bear spray is not the best tool for self-defense?
Bear spray is less effective than pepper spray in focus to the amount of oleoresin capsicum. Bears are more sensitive than humans in sense of smells and vision and a small amount of oleoresin capsicum is enough to cause temporary irritation to bears. But here, a higher amount of oleoresin capsicum in pepper spray is more potent to prevent an attack from a violent human.
At the same time, bear sprays are only allowed to use in bear country as a self-defense mechanism. Therefore, carrying a bear spray with you for self-defense in any other area is about going over rules.
FACT: Pepper spray with more pepper in the formula is more effective against humans than bear spray for self-protection
MYTH 8: Go towards a bear having a bear spray in hand
Whether you have a bear spray or not, it is not a good idea to approach a bear. Unless you are an expert in this approaching wildlife purposely is really a bad decision. In many areas including Acadia National Park and Shenandoah, moving towards wildlife is considered harassment and could get punished.
Bear spray is a self-defense mechanism for any accidental encounters in the wilderness but could not guarantee 100% protection. In that case, approaching a bear purposely means you are putting yourself in danger. Never put your life at a risk for a bear spray canister or anything. Just make sure you are keeping the right distance from wildlife even if you have bear spray.
FACT: Even with a Bear spray in hand you should not purposely approach a bear
MYTH 9: Store well your bear spray in the backpack
Bear sprays are not to work in a plan, you may want it from any moment you started hiking in bear country. So there, packing it tight seep in your backpack would do nothing in a bear encounter. Make sure you keep it readily reachable where you will probably get only seconds to react.
By today, you find bear sprays with holsters where you can keep them attached to your belt of the backpack or your pant. And if you want, there are purpose-built harnesses to keep bear spray close enough. Most importantly, make certain that it is easily accessible in any accidental situation.
FACT: Keep your bear spray at an easily accessible place as you only have a few seconds to react to an unexpected encounter
MYTH 10: Need Bear spray only when hiking
Are you planning to Yellowstone National Park this time, make sure you have bear spray all the time! Even there is more chance of accidental bear encounters when hiking, at a bear territory this can happen at times. Maybe you are just resting on your Hammock, or even answering nature’s calls, an encounter is possible in any situation. Therefore, anyone planning for a visit to the bear country should take bear spray marking it a top priority in the list.
If you are camping in a large group, make sure you have more than 1bear spray with you to ensure safety against the wilderness.
FACT: Bear sprays are essential every time when you are at a bear country
Are you ready for your next adventure in the bear country; leave bear spray myths debunked and make the best of it!