Bear Spray Frequently Asked Questions

Bear attacks are rare. But they do occur, not only in the wilderness and remote places but also in well-populated campgrounds and even in areas close to suburbs and cities. If you have ever seen a bear up close and personal, whether in the wild or in a zoo, you will know you will not want to tangle with one of them. Besides having sharp claws and teeth, these beasts are extremely large and powerful.

That’s why it’s a good idea to carry bear spray if you are going into bear country or have a reasonable chance of running into one of these animals.

How does bear spray work?

When used correctly, bear spray causes swelling of a bear’s mucous membranes, shortness of breath and psychological effects such as panic.

Does bear spray work and what does bear spray do?

Bear experts agree that bear spray is much more effective than firearms in a human-bear confrontation. While estimates of bear spray success rates range from 90 to 98%, humans are injured in 50% of bear confrontations where the human uses a firearm*. Bear spray requires less accuracy (thanks to heavy fog delivery), covers more ground and is immediately accessible.

Learn more about bear spray and other preventive measures with this Bear Safety 101 video series.

Won’t irritating the bear with pepper spray just make the animal angrier?

The proper use of bear spray will cause immediate irritation to the bear’s eyes, nose, mouth and lungs. Studies have shown that bears will flee due to panic and in order to find relief from the intense burning sensation.

Can you use bear spray on humans and dogs?

Do not use bear pepper spray on dogs or humans. Bear spray is regulated as a pesticide by the EPA and has only been approved for use on bears. It should not be used on any other animals, including humans.