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

B&C Typical Mule Deer

B&C Typical Mule Deer

Doug Burris Jr's typical mule deer taken in 1969, could just be one record that will never be broken.

Fare Game: Elk Tartare

Fare Game: Elk Tartare

David Draper shows you how to properly prepare Elk Tartare.

Whitetail Shot Placement

Whitetail Shot Placement

Craig Boddington breaks down where hunters should aim for the best penetration of the vitals on a whitetail deer.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills. How-To

4 Shooting Drills to Make You a Better Hunter

Jeff Johnston

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills.

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

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...

Technology is taking deer hunters, and their gear, into the future. Accessories

The Best New Deer Hunting Technology

Jeff Johnston - May 15, 2020

Technology is taking deer hunters, and their gear, into the future.

See More Trending Articles

More Survival

During a shelter-in-place scenario, information and personal needs change quickly, and you have to be ready to adjust. The CDC is now recommending making and wearing homemade face masks. But where do you start? What materials do you need?  In this lesson, “Hollywood Weapons” host and former Green Beret Terry Schappert will show you how to get creative for protecting your face when it's necessary to go out in public.

Shelter in Place – How to Make Your Own Face Mask

Outdoor Channel Public Service Announcement - April 09, 2020

During a shelter-in-place scenario, information and personal needs change quickly, and you...

When under shelter-in-place orders and not going anywhere, your vehicle should be fueled and ready to go in case things change. In this lesson, “Hollywood Weapons” host and former Green Beret Terry Schappert shares some tips on how to prepare your car or truck for the next time you might need it.

Shelter in Place - Prepare Your Vehicle

Outdoor Channel Public Service Announcement - April 10, 2020

When under shelter-in-place orders and not going anywhere, your vehicle should be fueled 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

I am worried about the next generation of hunters. They seem overly fascinated with technology Survival

Lost and Alone: Could You Survive?

Mike Schoby - May 09, 2016

I am worried about the next generation of hunters. They seem overly fascinated with technology

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