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Bear spray a viable alternative to guns for deterring bears, BYU study shows
Date:3/25/2008

faces, Im sure that most bears learn at an early age that size is not a good indicator of threat, Smith said. Theres always this fear of retribution that keeps them in line. They could take any person they wanted. But they dont know that.

On the rare occasions bears get close enough to warrant a spraying about three times a year in Alaska, the study showed - the hissing sound and sight of the expanding cloud are often enough to frighten away the animal. I have data to show that if you sprayed water, they often would run, Smith said.

Counterintuitively, Smith and his team also documented 11 incidents when the residue of bear spray applied to objects like tents with the intent to repel curious bears actually backfired and attracted bears instead. Smith cautioned users against this practice and advised hikers to take their practice sprays before entering bear country.

The study did not make any comparisons among various types or manufacturers of bear spray because the sample was too small to draw significant conclusions.

Other findings reported in the paper include:

  • On average, the spray was used when the bear was about 12 feet away

  • 35 percent of incidents involved hikers, and 30 percent involved bear management activities

  • 60 percent of the incidents occurred between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

  • Nearly 70 percent of the incidents involved brown (grizzly) bears and 28 percent involved black bears. The study also reports the first two documented uses of bear spray on polar bears in Alaska.


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Contact: Michael Smart
michael_smart@byu.edu
801-422-7320
Brigham Young University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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