Posts Tagged bear spray

Jack Hanna fends off Bear Attack

Posted by Rob on Tuesday, 27 July, 2010

Jack Hanna recently encouraged hikers to carry bear pepper spray in a public service message for the National Park Service. If you don’t know who Jack Hanna is, he’s a TV host, Columbus Zoo keeper, and a frequent guest of the David Letterman show.

While encouraging others to do so, Hanna has also carried Bear Mace while hiking in the woods for over 15 years, and never had to use it himself… until this past weekend in Montana’s Glacier National Park.

Hanna and his wife Suzi were finishing up a 5-mile hike from Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park on Saturday. Another set of three hikers were also in close proximity. As the group continued down the path and turned a blind corner, a mother grizzly bear with two large cubs were making their way up the trail towards them, not 30 feet ahead.

This particular trail has a steep drop-off on one side, and a sheer cliff on the other, without any real escape path. “We thought of letting them go by, but the trail was cut into the rock and was too narrow,” Hanna said. “So I said: ‘Everybody talk loud and we’ll back up until we can get off the trail.’ “

Hanna reported it seemed more like 1/2 an hour, but in reality the five of them slowly backed up the trail for about 5 minutes. They met up with another 2 hikers, a man and his 10-year-old son coming down the path. Now the 7 of them were backing up with no visible place to go but backwards. Eventually a small rocky clearing granted the group as much of a break as they were going to get. Hanna instructed the group to “crawl up the hill and put your backs against the wall.”

The mother bear and one of the cubs kept on going up the path, passed by the hikers and wandered off into another clearing up the trail. The other cub lagging about 15 yards behind the other two bears took particular notice of the frightened but calm group and decided to charge directly at them. Although smaller than an average human, that 125 pound grizzly bear cub is very strong and vicious, armed with very sharp claws and teeth, and has the potential to attract some pretty hefty back up, namely his 125 pound sibling and 400 pound mama!

Heeding is own public service advice, Hanna pulled out his canister of pepper spray for bears, and readied himself as the bear rushed forward.

“At about 30 feet I unload my pepper spray, and the wind takes it,” said Hanna, but the bear kept coming.

“Then I unload the second spray,” said Hanna, but the bear still kept coming.

“Then the third time I unload that pepper spray right in his face,” continued Hanna, forcing the bear to break off the charge and flee.

“You can’t do anything with a grizzly; they can run a football field in seconds,” said Hanna, “There’s no way I could hit that bear with a gun.”

This was the same trail where a California man and his daughter were severely mauled five years ago by a mother bear and two cubs.

On average, 35 individuals per year are mauled by bears in the United States. Don’t become another statistic! Protect yourself with bear strength pepper spray and arm yourself against possible bear attacks with safe, humane Bear Pepper Mace.

Our bear pepper spray has the strongest EPA approved animal repellent rating (2.0% Capsaicinoids) with an extreme blast range of 20-30 feet! Regular human pepper spray is not the same as bear pepper spray. Strap a can of Bear Pepper Mace to your side before you head out on your next outdoor adventure and store another can in your pack. Feel secure that you have a personal defense spray that can stop a possible bear attack. Bear Pepper Mace. Accept no substitutes.

Hopefully you go 15 years or more before you ever need to use it, just like Jack Hanna. But don’t be caught without it when you really, and I mean really need to use it.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

Related Blog Posts:
Start Packing your Bear Pepper Spray and Bear Mace
Pepper Spray for Lions, Tigers and Bears
Get the Bear Necessities
Pepper Spray for Bears – Hunters, Hikers, Campers be Warned
Woman Mauled by Bear, Yogi has Alibi
Not All Bears are Cute and Cuddly
When Bears Attack!

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Start Packing your Bear Pepper Spray and Bear Mace

Posted by Rob on Tuesday, 16 March, 2010

Even if I forget to pay attention to what time of year it is, the seasonal influx of bear pepper spray and bear mace orders from those in bear country remind me that the bears are waking up from hibernation. I did notice my Canadian Geese have come back north and settled in our pond again, but if you frequent Yellowstone, Glacier National Park or any other areas inhabited by grizzly or black bears, you have no doubt noticed some of them stirring too.

bear-sprayWhether it is bear tracks, bear droppings, animal carcasses or an actual human-bear encounter, now is the time to pack the bear spray.

Coming out of hibernation, these bears are hungry and aggressive. Later on in the season, while still dangerous, bears are more peaceful unless there is an available food source. You do properly store your food while in the woods don’t you?

Since 1992, half of the people ended up injured from bear encounters when people defended themselves with a firearm, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services investigations. Those that defended themselves with bear formulated pepper spray ended up escaping injury most of the time, while those that were injured received less severe injuries and shorter attacks before the bears vacated the area.

Your best bear safety tip is to avoid the heavily bear populated area and heed all seasonal bear closure notices. Most of the time, the bear closures are only temporary, covering certain areas with increased bear activity that eventually lessens. If the park says stay out until June 15th or June 30th, wait until July. This is for your safety and the safety of your family, not the convenience of the park rangers.

This is still early on in the season, not all bears are out and about yet. And the temperatures may still be pretty cold in some areas. It is best to store your pepper spray for bears in a chest holster, which would keep the canister warmer than the frigid temperatures. Bear spray will still operate, but it may spray out slower and not quite as far. But make sure your bear spray is still readily accessible. You may only have a few moments to act, and you will not have time to dig it out from the bottom of your backpack.

I would always have at least 2 canisters on me, one readily available clipped to my hip or chest, and at least another can of bear mace in my pack. Have each person in your party carry the same. You never know if you are going to run in to one bear on your way in and one bear on your way out of the woods… If you do use at least a partial canister of bear spray, replace it when practical. You want a full 9 oz. can in the event you face a potential bear attack.

If you are deploying mace bear spray, take a quick account for the wind and adjust your aim accordingly. Pop the safety and aim towards the animal but slightly down, as the spray with fog out and upwards. Shoot off a brief warning shot when the bear is just out of range of your spray. If the bear continues advancing or charges, spray again creating a wall of fog between you and the bear so he runs into it.

Once the bear is distracted or turns away to wander off, immediately leave the area and seek shelter. Do not run, and do not take your eyes off the animal, but attempt to get back to your vehicle or nearby building or ranger station if available. Under no circumstances should you chase, follow or otherwise taunt the bear. Let him leave freely, and don’t give him a reason to return. Don’t forget to pull out your backup canister from your backpack and attach it to your hip or chest.

Campers, hunters, hikers, fisherman, and other outdoor enthusists be warned.

Watch out for the bear signs, check out the park webpage and as always, Be Safe, Be Prepared.

Related Blog Posts:
Pepper Spray for Lions, Tigers and Bears
Get the Bear Necessities
Pepper Spray for Bears – Hunters, Hikers, Campers be Warned
Woman Mauled by Bear, Yogi has Alibi
Not All Bears are Cute and Cuddly
When Bears Attack!

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Get the Bear Necessities

Posted by Rob on Wednesday, 11 February, 2009

If you are going to venture anywhere near bear country, you may be safer carrying a 9 oz. canister of Guard Alaska Bear Repellent or Bear Pepper Mace than you would relying on a gun. But you don’t have to take our word for it.

How about the recommendation of Thomas Smith and Stephen Herrero?

Thomas S. Smith, associate professor of wildlife science at Brigham Young University, “is highly respected among bear biologists, naturalists and educators. His one-on-one experience with bears in the field is an enormous resource to the bear management community,” said director of the Center for Wildlife Information, Chuck Bartlebaugh, who runs “Be Bear Aware” and other wildlife safety campaigns. “This new study is important information that is needed by hunters, hikers or campers to understand the value of bear spray and how it can protect both people and bears.”

Dr. Stephen Herrero is Professor of Environmental Science and Biology at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is recognized throughout the world as a leading authority on bear ecology, behavior, and attacks, writing several books and papers on those topics.

Smith has faithfully carried bear pepper spray while conducted fieldwork among bears for over 16 years but admits he has never had to actually deploy bear spray. Caution and wisdom are the best prevention of bear attacks, and being a bear biologist, you would expect nothing less. “I wish I had more scary stories to share, but I’ve behaved myself.”

Non-experienced, non-bear biologists don’t quite have the luxury of knowing bear behavior inside and out.

Many hikers, campers and other outdoors people have expressed concern, as well as unfounded doubt and criticism over the effectiveness of that little can of pepper spray on a ferocious bear. “Working in the bear safety arena, I even found a lot of resistance to bear spray among professionals,” says Smith. “There was no good, clean data set that demonstrated definitively that it worked, so that’s why we did this research.”

Sensing the need for some answers and reassurance, Smith and colleagues analyzed data from 20 years of bear spray incidents in Alaska, home to 150,000 bears.

From their findings, pepper spray specially designed for bears effectively halted 92% of the cases of an aggressive bear encounter, whether attacking or rummaging for food.

Only 3 individuals were injured by bears out of 175 people associated with the study, with none requiring a trip to the hospital.

“People working or recreating in bear habitat should feel confident they are safe if carrying bear spray,” says Smith.

Smith had some previous research of the effectiveness of guns in similar situations. Only 67% success. It was noted on average it takes four hits to even stop a bear, and the accuracy needed “during the terrifying split seconds of a grizzly charge is extremely difficult”. On top of the physical issues, many national parks have restrictions on bringing guns in the first place.

The research debunks some of the common misconceptions about using bear spray:

- “Bear spray doesn’t work when it’s windy.” Wind was reported to have interfered with spray accuracy in five of the 71 incidents studied, although the spray reached the bear in all cases. A wind meter was used to test the speed of the bear spray as it shot out of the canister and repeatedly averaged 70 miles per hour. Smith also noted that bears and humans can easily see each other in open, windy spaces. The surprise encounters tend to occur in wooded areas in which vegetation blocks wind.

- “The spray will also disable the person using it.” In the 71 incidents documented in the study, only 10 times did a user report minor irritation and two reported near incapacitation.

- “The can might not work.” There were no reports of spray can malfunction among the 71 studied incidents.

It is believed that one of the primary reasons bear spray works is that it gives users a reason to stand their ground. Running is the worst response to an aggressive bear, Smith says, “but it’s hard not to. Just picture the meanest dog in your neighborhood and multiply his size by ten. It’s very hard to keep your feet from running, but bear spray gives you an option. When you stop and plant your feet, that makes them stop.”

This is because even though humans are much smaller than bears, the animals still view us as risky. “Having seen bears with porcupine quills in their faces, I’m sure that most bears learn at an early age that size is not a good indicator of threat,” Smith said. “There’s always this fear of retribution that keeps them in line. They could take any person they wanted. But they don’t know that.”

It was also noted that the hissing sound and sight of the expanding pepper spray cloud are often enough to frighten away the animal. “I have data to show that if you sprayed water, they often would run,” Smith says.

It was also reported that there were 11 incidents where bear spray was applied to objects like tents in attempt to repel curious bears. Do not attempt this, as it actually backfired and attracted bears instead. You should also discard practice spray canisters before entering the woods.

Other findings reported in the paper include:

– On average, the spray was used when the bear was about 12 feet away (Bear spray typically covers 20-30 foot range)

- 35 percent of incidents involved hikers, and 30 percent involved bear management activities

- 60 percent of the incidents occurred between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

- Nearly 70 percent of the incidents involved brown (grizzly) bears and 28 percent involved black bears. The study also reports the first two documented uses of bear spray on polar bears in Alaska.

Besides Smith and Herrero, Terry D. Debruyn of the National Park Service, and James M. Wilder of Minerals Management Service were also involved in this study. The paper also relies on an earlier publication of a decade’s worth of bear spray data by Herrero and Andrew Higgins. The research was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center. Source

So in conclusion, a study reviewing bear incidents in Alaska over a 20-year period, involving 175 people, and found that pepper spray deterred bears (including grizzly bears, black bears and polar bears) in 92% of cases. In 98% of cases, people who used bear spray were uninjured by the bear; in the remaining cases, injuries were minor. In only 7% of cases did wind interfere with accuracy, and in only 3% was the person using the pepper spray incapacitated by the spray. (Report did not state if user error was involved.)

Clearly as we have stated in the past, bear spray is a highly effective defense against aggressive bears. Nothing is 100% effective, but if the possibility of encountering a wild bear presents itself, I’d rather be safer than sorrier.

Obviously, we want to prevent criminal use of bear spray, but we must also bear in mind that this product saves lives and protects people from serious injury in the woods. Or anywhere a bear may wander.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

bearspray

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Pepper Spray for Bears – Hunters, Hikers, Campers be Warned

Posted by Rob on Monday, 10 November, 2008

We have been saying it for awhile, but another grizzly bear expert is urging hunters and hikers to carry bear pepper spray when entering the woods. It just makes sense.

This time, Mike Madel, a bear management specialist from the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has reported an increase in hunter bear encounters over the past few years. As if you needed another reason to defend and protect yourself from an angry, 8 foot bear in the woods.

“Hunters like to rely on firearms, and things do happen pretty quickly,” Madel says. “But if both backcountry hikers and hunters have red-pepper spray on the hip, it can be accessed quickly and used.”

A mother grizzly was shot last month on Summit Trail between U.S. Highway 2 and the South Fork of the Two Medicine River near East Glacier. A hunter was imitating a female elk call, or “cow talking” when the mother bear and two cubs investigated the noise.

Madel says the mother charged the hunter who ended up shooting and mortally wounding the bear. The two cubs were not captured and a warden who responded to the scene and shot the seriously wounded bear, decided the two cubs were to fend for themselves. Pepper spray may have prevented the death of that mother bear.

The bear isn’t the enemy, we are invading their home. Most of us would rather deter the bear from approaching and leave the scene with both parties unscathed.

A year prior, a different hunter was attacked by a grizzly bear near Dupuyer in Montana, and then another hunter shot and killed a female grizzly that charged him near East Glacier. A third hunter was unharmed, although shaken up by a close encounter along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Madel believes a large number of elk along the Front is attracting many hunters, which in turn, leads to more encounters with the local grizzlies.

This is true with more than just the elk hunters in Montana. Anywhere hunters are in the woods hunting elk, moose, deer, wild turkey or any other hunting season prey, an encounter with a grizzly bear, brown bear or polar bear may be possible.

Even wilderness hikers and campers need to be careful and prepared for a bear encounter. Even when meticulous bear encounter prevention measures are and should be taken, a chance bear-to-face meeting could occur.

I have seen many bears at a rather close distance. Luckily the fences and zoo enclosures protected me quite well. In the wild, I’d rather have a can of bear mace strapped to my hip, with a back up can in my pack. I hope all my companions have their bear spray readily available too. Just in case.

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Score 1 for the Puppy, 0 to the 3 Bears

Posted by Rob on Wednesday, 27 August, 2008

An 8-month-old cockapoo (cocker spaniel-poodle mix) scared three bears out of his back yard this past Sunday. The mere 15-pound puppy named Pawlee was let out for his normal morning rituals and immediately started to bark his tiny little head off.

With all the fuss the dog was causing, the family’s 9-year-old son went to investigate the commotion. He quickly ran back into the house to report two bear cubs and a mother bear wandered into their yard.

Fortunately, the pup’s bark chased the two cubs up a tree and kept the mother bear at bay. After a few minutes, the cubs climbed down, hopped a fence, and the three bears eventually took off into the woods. Pretty courageous for a pint –sized pup. The mother bear could have easily wiped the grass with the wanna-be guard dog, but decided to let this dog have his day.

Local officials report that while bears are not uncommon in the Wyckoff, New Jersey area, this family has not seen any during the 10 years they have lived there until now. Good thing Pawlee was on patrol.

Anyone living in an area where bears may frequent would benefit from having some Guard Alaska or Mace Pepper Spray for Bears handy. Just like that story the other day when the lady was mauled by a bear while tending her garden, you just never know what a wild bear is thinking. Even trained bears can go postal for no apparent reason.

Be Safe, Be Prepared.

Bear Spray Squidoo

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Grizzly Bear Attacks and Kills Trainer

Posted by Rob on Wednesday, 23 April, 2008

A 7 1/2 foot tall, 700 lb. grizzly bear killed one of
his trainers with a bite to the neck yesterday. “Rocky”,
the 5 year old bear was recently seen in the movie
“Semi-Pro” where he wrestled Will Ferrell’s character.

At the time of the attack, 3 experienced animal handlers
were working with Rocky in a training center in
California. Pepper Spray was used to subdue and contain
the grizzly immediately after the attack, and no other
injuries were reported.

This bear was known as one of the best bears in the
business and seemed to obediently follow cues and
instructions. “You can train them and use as many safety
precautions as you can, but you’re still taking a chance
if you’re putting yourself in contact with them, It’s
still a wild animal,” says a zoo worker.

If you ever come across a bear in the wild, be assured
he probably isn’t trained to play nicely with humans.

The Sierra Club wants the Forest Service to require
everyone who enters a national forest in grizzly bear
country to carry bear spray Spokeswoman Heidi Godwin
said in a news release…

“The proper use of bear pepper spray will reduce human
injuries caused by bears, reduce the number of grizzly
bears killed in self defense, and help promote the
recovery and survival of the grizzly bear.”

We don’t necessarily approve of making new laws, but it
does show how effective bear spray is against bears.
Also, make sure that the spray you are using is registered
with the EPA for use against bears. There is a special
formula for this and ordinary pepper spray is not
recommended.

Carry on your belt so you’ll always be ready or set it
out at the camp so everyone has easy access to it. Some
states now have hunting laws requiring possession of a
defensive spray where bears are common. Check with your
local authorities.

It would be nice to believe that nothing will happen to
you, but the reality of it is that an ounce of protection
could be worth more than a pound of cure. What is Worth
Protection to you? Your belongings? Your family? Your
personal well-being?

Yours in safety,

Rob Cook

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Bah, It’s only a 16 foot Python. No Worries Mate.

Posted by Rob on Thursday, 28 February, 2008

A 16 foot scrub python devoured a family dog in front of the
children, ages 5 and 7, who were playing in their yard. The
110 pound snake quickly squeezed the life out of the much
smaller silky terrier-Chihuahua crossbreed before swallowing
it whole at their home near Kuranda in Queensland state in
Australia.

This story, as amazing as it is, actually gets worse. The
python actively stalked the family dog, as the family
noticed the snake hanging around for several days. They
even saw it hanging out in the dog’s bed, which apparently
was a tell-tale sign that the snake was out to get the dog,
says a local snake expert.

Ok fine, perhaps the family was unaware of the staking
rituals of a scrub python, but if you notice a 16 foot
python spending extra time around your house and you
have a small dog, and two small children, don’t you call
Animal Control ASAP? Crikey!

It’s not like they could have armed the pooch with pepper
spray
or a stun gun but come on now. Pick up your phone
before your dog’s hind legs and tail are all that are
sticking out of the snake’s mouth.

Let’s step back for a second and forget about the animals
for a minute. If there was a strange van parked across the
street from your house on and off for a few days and you
noticed a suspicious looking stranger hanging around, how
long do you wait to call the police to check out the
situation?

Hopefully before your child or a neighbor’s child ends up
missing. If their indifferent reaction to the frequent
snake sightings are any indication, am afraid that might
be the case.

Don’t wait until it is too late. Protect yourself and your
loved ones. Buy some pepper spray or a stun gun. If you
live in bear country, buy some bear spray. Be prepared
before something bad happens.

And if you see a 16 foot snake staking out your property,
or a suspicious stranger, or a rabid dog, PICK UP YOUR
PHONE. Call the Police, call animal control, call your
cousin Big Vito, just do something!

It would be nice to believe that nothing will happen to
you, but the reality of it is that an ounce of protection
could be worth more than a pound of cure. What is Worth
Protection to you? Your belongings? Your family? Your
personal well-being?

Yours in Safety,

Rob Cook

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