Is Your Life Worth $40 in Griz Country?

Is Your Life Worth $40 in Griz Country?

Brian Matayoshi would likely be alive today if he carried a $40 canister of bear repellent spray on Wednesday.

According to bear pepper spray research data compiled by Dr. Thomas Smith, an Associate Professor of Plant and Wildlife Sciences at Brigham Young University, bear spray stopped aggressive bears in 92% of the cases studied. The research covered twenty years of incidents in Alaska.

Of the 175 people who used bear spray and were involved in these incidents only three were injured and none went to the hospital. Contrast this with nearly 300 bear attacks involving firearms, the firearms were only effective in 67% of the cases.


According to Smith "The reason guns are less effective than bear spray is the difficulty of making an accurate shot during a split second chase. Smith's data shows it take an average of four hits to stop a bear. Bear spray is easier to carry and easier to use accurately in an emergency than a gun."


This article and the research it is based on are very interesting. I would suggest reading the article. Smith thinks one of the reasons bear spray is effective, is it requires the person being charged to hold their position, thereby avoiding triggering the bear's instinct to chase. Another upside is that a bear that has been sprayed in the past remembers it. I've heard reports that bears encountering humans with spray regularly are being conditioned to depart to avoid being sprayed. Sometimes this merely requires raising an arm in gesture similar to spraying.

Bart Bratlien of my neighborhood sporting good store, Capital Sports in Helena, MT took a few minutes to demonstrate proper deployment of bear spray and to discuss his choice of a "plan b" firearm in the off chance the bear spray fails.

We used a training canister for this video. Bratlien noted that actual spray with the pepper is heavier and will spray a longer distance than what you saw. It is also red in color.


I would highly suggest visiting the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee for the most comprehensive, research-based bear safety information. The documents are well written, easy to read and very sensible.

Also, check out this video created by Counter Assault, a leading manufacturer of bear spray.

My wife, who works with bears for MT Fish Wildlife and Parks told me that to empty an expired canister, you spray the remaining contents into a bucket of water and poor the water out somewhere out of the way. Don't just throw it in your trash bin. If it is punctured or heated to the point it explodes, it will mess people up.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Kevin Steele sights in his CZ .557 carbine rifle that he plans to use on a Colorado elk hunt.

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Former Delta Force Operator Kyle Lamb hikes the rugged desert mountains of northern Sonora in pursuit of the diminutive Coues species of whitetail.

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Kevin Steele and Jason Morton are above the Arctic Circle pursuing grizzly bears in Alaska and put a stalk on what they believe is a good one.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious marinades. Recipes

8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw

Follow these basic steps to prepare your meat, then pair it with one of these delicious...

These trail cameras feature the latest wireless technology. Optics

The Best Cellular Trail Cameras for 2020

Tony J. Peterson - July 09, 2020

These trail cameras feature the latest wireless technology.

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are created equal. Recipes

How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are...

See More Trending Articles

More Survival

Your local gyms are closed and you aren't supposed to hit the running trails anymore, but that doesn't mean you have to retreat to your sofa. In this lesson Hollywood Weapons host and former Green Beret, Terry Schappert will talk about the importance of keeping your body fit and some tips on achieving that goal, even if you don't have the equipment already.

Shelter in Place - Home Gym

Outdoor Channel Public Service Announcement - April 11, 2020

Your local gyms are closed and you aren't supposed to hit the running trails anymore, but that...

 A good camp cook will have several on hand. Survival

Cast-Iron Dutch Oven: A Camp Essential

Michael Pendley

A good camp cook will have several on hand.

Before you have time to build that first shelter, before you have the time to make a fire, and even Survival

Les Stroud: How to Dress for Survival

PH Online Editors - February 20, 2013

Before you have time to build that first shelter, before you have the time to make a fire, and...


Waves splashed around Survival

Castaway: Hunters Discover Hunting for Survival

Simon K. Barr - May 09, 2016

Waves splashed around "The Verle Anne," a leftover landing craft from the Falklands War. The

See More Survival

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now