While any user can attest to the effectiveness of pepper spray and other similar products when it comes to protecting one’s self, bear sprays are also considered another weapon that is worth the purchase. These sprays are almost similar but they are definitely not the same thing. But if you will look closely to the bear spray ingredients that are present in one canister, you will find out that pepper sprays also contain those ingredients, only with some noticeable difference.
In a typical can of pepper spray, you will have an OC concentration of about 10% or even higher. On the other hand, the bear spray will only have maybe around 1-2%. Why is that, you may ask? The goal is to just use the bear spray in scaring the bears and to possibly lead them away from attacking, without having to incur any serious pain or injury to them. This is why only a small amount of concentration is present, just enough to irritate the animal, leading it to turn away and leave you unharmed.
The active bear spray ingredients
Oleoresin Capsicum (OC)
This is the same oily residue that you can find from hot cayenne peppers, obviously the reason why these sprays are actually called pepper sprays. Capsicum is the one responsible for the burning sensation that one feels when sprayed in the face.
The OC will need base fluid to have it diluted, and this fluid is usually oil-based so that it is easier to separate from the oily nature of OC.
These two ingredients won’t be able to eject from the can if the aerosol propellant is not present.
Choosing the best bear spray
If you live in an area where bears and other animals are most likely to attack, it is just practical and safer to have a bear spray readily available when you need it. When choosing the right spray, there are some factors that you need to consider such as:
Reach – This refers to how far the spray will reach or shoot once you’ve released it. There are different variations and you ideally would want to pick one with the longest range possible. Bear sprays can reach anywhere from 18 to 40 feet, or roughly 5.4 to 12 meters.
Spray duration – The spray duration means the interval that you will experience or get when spraying. Typically there should be around four to nine seconds each canister.
Weight – You may want to also consider how heavy or lightweight your bear spray will be especially if you plan to carry it around all the time. If you often bring a purse or a bag, pick a spray or canister that will perfectly fit the size of your purse.
Cost – Of course, another essential factor would be the cost. Do you mind spending a lot or you want something that is just within your budget range? Bear spray prices can vary depending on the brand, range and also the model, among other things.
How to use your bear spray
Once you already have it, you will now need to familiarize yourself with it and make sure that you will find it easy and comfortable to use when the situation calls for it. To use it, the first thing you will need to do is to remove the safety clip. Once you have removed the clip, you will have to aim directly to the attacker, and be sure to adjust your angle as well, while considering the direction of the wind. Make sure your arms are steady and then carefully depress the trigger using your thumb finger. Spray only when needed and try your best not to consume it all especially if you have more than one attacker.
If the bear still continue to approach toward your direction, release another spray and aim for its face. Once it got busy or irritated with the bear spray ingredients, immediately leave the area and secure your safety. It is best not to run as it will only catch unwanted attention.
Bear spray or pepper spray?
There are some users asking if it is possible to use the bear spray as a replacement whenever a pepper spray is unavailable. Considering the active bear spray ingredients that are also present in pepper sprays, it can be effective as long as the strength and potency is enough. However, you also need to keep in mind that not all sprays intended for animals will be as effective on humans due to a number of reasons. For one, the senses of animals are much more delicate which only require a small portion of OC compared to those of humans.
Now if you plan on using your regular pepper spray on bears or other large animals, take note that it could be less effective and might just be not worth the risk. If you are going on an outdoor activity and the potential of bears and other animals approaching is of higher possibility, it is best to bring a bear spray instead just to be safer.