Self defense substances

Does Bear spray work on Black Bear?

February 18, 2019July 15, 2019

For those who don’t know what bear spray is or what it is capable of. Let’s get started with it first. It is a self-defense product, less potent than a pepper spray, but more effective as a bear deterrent. Good part of using bear sprays over guns is that not only it encourages human safety but it also helps in bear conservation.

What Research Says?

According to 2008 study by Herrero, bear spray was proven to be effective in stopping bear’s undesirable behavior and incidents occurred in Alaska. While it showed 100% effectiveness on polar bears, in case of black bears, it showed 90% efficacy.

Of all persons who were carrying the sprays, 98% were uninjured and safe after experiencing a close encounter. Most of the research also showed that spraying reduces the likelihood of such encounters with black bears. Though, there are other few instances where users also report the failure of bear sprays. The reason behind such cases was clearly the impotence of using sprays.

There is another study that took place on free-range black bears. A research was conducted to test the effectiveness of bear spray on black bears. When 5 black bears (4 males and 1 female) were sprayed at a distance of 1.5 to 3m, all of them immediately whirled away except for one male weighing 200-225 Kg who returned after first attempt.

He somehow escaped from second and third spray attempts too. Finally, a fourth spray attempt successfully hit the eyes and he escaped from the spot.

When it comes to black bears, they result in minor injuries and tend to be deadly. Black bear also accounts for 14 percent of encounters, compared to just 2% by polar bears.

How Can You Avoid Human-Black Bear Conflict?

Bears are not to blame each time. Humans should take responsibility as well and try to focus on bear’s behavior. Try to recognize their species whether it’s a grizzly bear or black bear.

If you stick together, chances are you will appear larger and intimidating. Make sure you interpret bear’s postures and vocalizations correctly. This way you will know what the bear fears. Black bears are good climbers, and when threatened, they either move away or climb up a tree.

  • If you get a face-to-face with black bear, stop working and pay attention to the bear. Slowly move away. Don’t run and keep observing the bear.
  • Make sure you stand tall. First yell at the bear to get out of your way.  But if it doesn’t go away, then keep your bear spray ready to take an action if bear approaches too close.
  • Use the spray when bear is at least 20-30 feet away. Make sure you point it out at the bear and not yourself. Spray couple of times in zig zag way.

Which brand to choose as your line of defense?

Sabre is among the top-notch manufacturers of bear spray. Their lines of products are effective, approved and field tested. Whether you go into the woods on daytime or night, Sabre Frontiersman bear spray works well by glowing in dark. It’s lighter in weight as well which makes hiking or running easier.

It is an option for your safety

Bear spray works well as an effective alternative to bullets on black bear. As a recreationist, you should consider it as an option for your safety every time you go for recreating in a bear country.


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