While enjoying the outdoors can be a very rewarding experience, it can also be very dangerous at the same time. One of the most exciting things about hiking and camping in the backwoods is the chance to see wildlife living in their own habitat. The chance to be right in the middle of deer, elk, bear, wild boar, and all types of other animals that we never get a chance to see is pretty surreal. Although these encounters can be pretty awesome most of the time, they can turn dangerous very quickly if we are not careful. Always give these animals the respect they deserve. Do yourself a favor and learn how to avoid close contact with these animals.
Some of the easiest creatures to find in the wild, and some of the most interesting to watch are Black Bears and Grizzly Bears. I could sit and watch these creatures all day long. If you do a lot of hiking, camping, or hunting, I would suggest learning the differences in the Black Bear and the Grizzly. Learn how to tell them apart. There are a lot of differences in their behavior; therefore, your response to an encounter with one of them would need to be different with each, especially in the event of an attack. The nonprofit Center for Wildlife Information website has a lot of helpful information about bears. While your intent should always be to avoid close encounters with these creatures, always be prepared to protect and defend yourself in the case of an incidental face to face with one of these 400 – 600 lb. giants. You might be surprised to know that research published in 2008 by some of the top bear researchers in the country confirmed that the most effective defense against a bear attack is bear pepper spray. It has been proven over the years to be far more effective than guns, with far less injuries to the victims. An analysis of 20 years of bear pepper spray accidents in Alaska found that the product effectively halted aggressive bear attacks in 92 percent of the cases. Out of 175 people involved in the incidents of this study, only three suffered injuries. Of these three, none of the injuries were serious enough to require hospitalization. You can read the full report from the Journal of Wildlife Management.
Bear Pepper Spray is a must for any outdoorsman. Do not make the mistake of thinking that Bear Pepper Spray and conventional pepper spray made for humans are the same thing. They are both made with the same active ingredient Oleoresin Capsicum (OC). The difference between Bear Pepper Spray and conventional human pepper spray is that Bear Pepper Spray must pass several EPA tests to ensure the use of the spray is humane to the animals. The EPA has also set size, strength, spray distance, and spray time standards for all EPA approved bear sprays to ensure their effectiveness in bear attacks. Although this spray will temporarily disable an animal by causing an intestinal burning of the eyes, nose and mouth, there are no drinking health effects that will affect the animal.