Pepper Spray

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Pepper Spray Questions

What is pepper spray and how does it work?

The active ingredient in pepper spray is capsaicin, which puts the “hot” in hot peppers. It comes in aerosol cans that propel the capsaicin solution in a stream or fine mist. It produces a generally harmless “burning” sensation that lasts a few minutes to an hour.

What is bear spray?

Bear spray (also known as Grizzly Bear Spray) is pepper spray approved by the EPA for bears, as is Counter Assault.

Does pepper spray make bears mad?

No. Ely researchers have never seen or heard of pepper spray causing anger or attacks.

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Spray more effective than guns against bears: study

blurry_charging_grizzly.jpgLast Updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | 3:09 PM CT CBC News

Despite doubts among hikers and campers, you're better off with an eight-ounce can of bear spray than a gun, according to 20 years of data (Smith et al., 2008).

Canadian and U.S. researchers announced Wednesday that the spray stopped aggressive bear behavior in 92 per cent of the cases they investigated, whether the behavior was an attack or merely rummaging for food.

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Does pepper spray make bears mad?

Short answer: No.

In all the testing researchers in Ely, Minnesota have done with various brands of pepper spray, no bear has shown the slightest hint of anger. All quietly retreated to deal with the temporary eye irritation.

Pride Johnson, manufacturer of Counter Assault, said the same. Neither he nor the Ely researchers have ever seen or heard of a bear becoming more aggressive after being sprayed.

Further, bears remember the hand motion that precedes spraying. They typically retreat when a person lifts and extends an empty hand like he or she is going to spray—especially if the person makes a “sshhh” sound like the spray.