Tips for Using Bear Spray

bear spray providers

If you are in bear country you should carry bear spray and know how to use it.

One of the best tips for using bear spray is to practice with it before you have to use it. The average human and bear encounter happens with an average distance of fourteen feet between the two species.  That’s not the time to hold the can in the light so you can read the directions printed on the side. When the moment comes you have to be ready.

Bear spray must be utilized at times in a surprise encounter and the brain needs to train the body how to respond.  Many bear spray providers will also sell dummy cans to practice. These practice cans contain the same propellant and discharge in exactly the same fashion, save that they don’t have the pepper.  Learning to quickly draw and discharge your bear spray at a target might make the difference between a mauling and a near miss.

The second of several tips for using bear spray is to keep it on hand. Backpackers and those who are camping will often make the mistake of leaving their bear spray in their pack where it is useless in the event of a bear encounter.  Experts recommend carrying a can of bear mace in a hip holster where you can readily access it. It will take practice to draw from the holster so be sure you can do it without fumbling.  If you are uncomfortable with the holster, most cans accommodate a lanyard that can be wrapped around the wrist so you can carry the bear spray in hand.

A third tip for bear spray is to use it only as directed.  Spraying tents or clothing with bear spray will not deter bears or mask your scent. The only thing that will do is cost you a can of bear spray.  Some experts contend that the pepper scent of bear spray might lure a bear your direction as a potential food source.  Bear spray is only effective when sprayed into a bear’s eyes, nose, and throat.

Bear spray is extremely irritating to the mucous membranes. It is powerful enough to deter a bear so should never be used against people even as a prank.  Even accidental exposure can be temporarily debilitating, so be sure when you discharge your canister that the wind is not blowing in your face. To sum up the tips for using bear spray, practice drawing and firing the canister until you can do it without thinking and use it only for its intended use.

For additional outdoor and camping tips visit the Mad Progress Outdoors section.

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