How To Use Bear Spray

How To Use Bear Spray: The Authoritative Guide

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How To Use Bear Spray

Its a nice day for a hike in the woods right? But, you’re going for a hike in the woods you need to have the essentials. I mean, you got your jacket,  bottled water, snacks, and your pretty much good to go. But wait a minute! where’s the bear spray? I mean, that stuff’s gonna make you feel more comfortable.

But in an emergency, the bear spray might save your life. Hopefully, it’s on your belt. Which is where it should always be if your hiking through bear country.  If you need it, and it’s in your backpack, you might not have time to take the backpack off to use it. Because, if you need it, chances are you are going to need it right away.

Using bear spray is might be confusing for someone who has never used it. Just like a lot of things, like figuring out how to take a picture with a cell phone or using a GPS to figure out where you are or setting your alarm clock to wake me up to your favorite song. Like everything in life, it takes practice. And a little background knowledge can’t hurt either.

Tips To Scare A Bear Off

How To Use Bear Spray

Most bear attacks occur when a bear is surprised at close range. If you’re out hiking or biking, you can let a bear know you’re in the area by letting out a loud yell every couple of minutes. So the bear doesn’t get spooked. More times than not, you can talk loudly with your companions for the same effect.

Of course, if all else fails, you can always sing. That usually gets the bears out of the way. Ever hear of those bear bells? Well, there not effective! The best tool you have to avoid a surprise bear encounter is the human voice. But even if you’ve taken all of these precautions and you’re in a situation where a bear is approaching or charging you, you’re gonna need to know how to use bear spray.

Bear spray is the most effective way of deterring an approaching grizzly or black bear at close range. It’s been used many times to prevent bear attacks. And studies have shown, that it’s more effective at preventing an attack than a gun! Even hunters in bear country should have bear spray accessible to them in case of a close encounter.

You’re going to want to make sure you’re carrying actual bear spray and not pepper spray intended for use on dogs or humans. Bear spray is designed specifically to be effective on, as the name suggests, bears. it may also be effective on other wildlife such as elk, cougars, and coyotes. You’re also going to want to check the expiration date on the can. It’s usually good for two to three years.

[Related Article: Does Pine Sol Deter Bears?]

Additional Tips

Just like any tool or safety equipment you own, you’re going to need to know how to use bear spray quickly and effectively in a bear encounter.

Practice your quick-draw, without actually spraying, yeah one too many late night westerns! Bear spray isn’t used like insect repellent. You don’t spray yourself and you don’t spray your equipment. It’s best to keep it attached to your belt or to a chest harness where it’s readily accessible.

It’s not the best idea to attach it to your bike or to your backpack. Because if you get separated from those, your pretty much screwed. In the rare event that you come in close range of a bear, your heart’s probably going to be pounding and adrenaline is going to be coursing through your veins. Do not run!

Take your bear spray out of the holster and remove the safety clip. And if you are with a someone or a group of people, group together with the rest of your party and back away slowly avoiding eye contact and speaking softly.

Most bear encounters usually end right then and there. But if the bear continues to approach you and gets within range you may need to use your spray. Bear spray is most effective at a short-range. About a car length. Some brands can be used at distances of up to nine meters or about 30 feet depending on the wind and weather.

If there’s a strong wind blowing in your face be prepared. Because some of the spray may blowback towards you. If you spray when the bear is too far away, it probably won’t have any effect on the bear. And you’ll have wasted some of your bear spray.

Using Bear Spray

Make sure to hold the bear spray with two hands. One on the trigger and the other one on the cylinder. Then deploy the spray in two-second bursts and keep your hands steady. Aim slightly downward, just below the bears face preventing the spray from going over its head.

Be sure to use only short bursts as a regular-sized can of spray has only six to eight seconds of spray duration. And you may need to use that spray more than once. when bear spray comes in contact with a bear the pepper and the spray will cause temporary loss of sight and may make it more difficult for the animal to breathe. Buying you some time to get out of a very dangerous situation.

once the bear is stopped or turns to leave, that’s your chance to retreat the way you came. But keep your spray ready in case you need it again! It’s important to know how to use the bear spray. But it’s also important to understand that it’s really your last line of defense.


Understanding and practicing safe travel when you’re in bear country is the best way to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear. Ultimately, they don’t want to have a run-in with you any more than you do with them. and it is their home. We’re just visiting in their territory.