By: Christine Wilda
I took some liberty with my summary of this article. It seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up. In short, my article from the Ask a Wildlife Biologist section of the ADF&G website was a question and answer session a question that had been asked multiple times over the summer- Can wasp spray or Tasers be used as alternative bear deterrent products on bears? Below is short conversation between two people encountering a bear.
“Woah bear. You stay over there. Come any closer and I’ll use my wasp spray on you.’
“That won’t work on a bear. Here, you need some of this.’
“What is it?’
“What is that? Why wouldn’t my wasp spray work?’
“Bear spray is a painful, but harmless defense spray made from a chemical in cayenne pepper. Wasp spray shouldn’t be used on bears for a couple reasons. The first concerns aim. Unless you have fantastic aim you won’t hit the bear where it counts- their eyes or nose. Wasp spray doesn’t come out in a cloud like bear spray does. Instead it comes out in a stream. The second is that wasp spray is a poison that is used to kill the insects. It could harm both people and bears because it affects the nervous system. The third reason would be that wasp spray isn’t designed to be used on big animals.’
“Darn, okay. How about my Taser? Could I use that? What? Even the bear is giving me funny looks now.’
“My funny look is me wondering why you have a Taser on you in the first place. The use of a Taser on large animals hasn’t been explored very much, however, so I wouldn’t suggest trying that either. Caution, common sense, and a thing or two of bear spray are you best bet against a bear. Here, you take my extra can and let’s get out of here.’
At the end here people may or may not have learned something new. Can anyone tell me the correct way to leave a bear encounter? I’m just curious.