bear pepper sray

Bear Climbs a tree to get at her!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Wow,  what a wild story.  I saw this article and couldn’t believe a bear would come after someone 20’ in a tree and to climb that fast is quite amazing.  Would have been an opportune time to have a canister of bear spray handy.  You’d really hate to kill the momma bear leaving the cubs to fend for themselves. 


By Dave Orrick

Updated: 10/27/2011 11:52:50 PM CDT

Lisa Lang said the bear who attacked bounded up to her tree stand in three leaps, bit and lingered until her husband Jeff approached. (Courtesy of Lisa Lang)

A Wisconsin deer hunter was recovering at home Thursday after a bear attacked her this week in Polk County.

Lisa Lang, 28, of Clam Falls was bitten in the leg when the bear climbed 20 feet to her tree stand Tuesday. Lang escaped when the bear retreated, but her wound required 40 stitches.

Bear attacks are rare, but this one featured such uncommon circumstances that several black bear experts said they couldn’t recall any quite like it.

Lang said she was bow hunting about 6 p.m. on the edge of a freshly mowed, family-owned cornfield. A deer decoy was about 20 yards in front of her. Her husband, Jeff, was about 120 yards away in a tree stand across the field.

Lang said she saw a mother bear and four cubs enter the field some 70 yards to the side.

"The cubs were all playing, just moving along, and then when they got close to the decoy, they sort of got spooked or something," she said. "I started hearing different noises and growling."

Lang said she didn’t think the bears were aware of her.

"I think if they didn’t get startled by the decoy, none of this would’ve happened," she said.

The Langs said they believe they had seen the family of bears in the past several years but never had any problems.

One of the cubs bolted from the decoy – and up a tree just a few yards from Lang’s stand.

"He was eye level with me," she said. "Then the sow came over and spotted me."

She and her husband estimated the bear to be more than 400 pounds.


for protection in case of a bear encounter, Jeff Lang carries a sidearm, and Lisa does occasionally. But neither was armed Tuesday.

Lisa Lang, who has been hunting for six years, said she quickly considered her options, including loading a bow for a possible shot or making noise, a common tactic to scare off a black bear.

She chose to yell at the mother bear.

"She just bounded up the tree in three bounds and grabbed my leg," Lang said.

After a few seconds, the bear released its jaws from below Lang’s right knee. But it remained on the tree long enough for her to scream to her advancing husband: "I’m bit and she’s still in the tree!"

The bear retreated to the base of the tree but paced around it. Lang decided against loading her bow and firing, fearing a nonfatal wound might further anger the bear.

"Besides, I couldn’t think to draw my bow," she said. "It was sheer panic."

As Jeff Lang approached, the bear backed away, allowing his wife to climb down from her stand and flee across the field with him. The cub remained in the tree the entire time.

Bear experts said the circumstances of the attack were so unusual that it wasn’t appropriate to second-guess any of Lang’s actions.

In general, black bears – the only kind found in the region – are timid. If a bear enters a campsite or picnic area, acting aggressively to scare it off is recommended.

Sows protecting cubs are more aggressive, however. Lynn Rogers, a biologist with Wildlife Research Institute and the North American Bear Center in Ely, said it’s possible that when Lisa yelled at the bear, it made things worse.

"The more aggressive she was, the more of a threat the mother would have thought she was," Rogers said.

Rogers said that while attacks of any kind from black bears are extremely rare, there’s some limited evidence to suggest black bears might be more willing to attack when a person is up a tree because black bears have evolved to be more comfortable in trees than on the ground.

"But this is so rare," he said of Tuesday’s attack. "Most mothers are not nearly that aggressive."

Kevin Harter, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said the bear seems to have acted within the "realm of understandable bear behavior." As such, there is no plan to go after the bear, although he said wardens will keep an eye on the area.

"It’s Bear 101: Never come between a sow and her cubs," Harter said. "In this case, of course, it’s completely an accident."

Lang said she respects the DNR decision. She said she plans to hunt again at some point, "but it’ll probably be more with firearms."

Carry Bear Spray

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

How many articles have been written on this very topic?  It’s not rocket science, people who carry bear spray while in bear country have a much better chance of survival then those who don’t or even those who carry a firearm!  Doesn’t it just make sense to buy a $40 can of bear pepper spray .  What is your life worth?


In July, a grizzly defending her cubs attacked a couple hiking in Yellowstone National Park, it killing the man.

Again in Yellowstone, a man hiking alone was fatally mauled by a grizzly bear in August. In September, a Montana black bear hunter was attacked by a grizzly bear he mistakenly wounded. The guy’s hunting partner tried to save him but ended up shooting and killing him.

An elk hunter in Idaho was mauled in September after stumbling upon a grizzly guarding a carcass. The man walked away from the encounter, but with a broken arm and punctures.

How did the Idaho elk hunter manage to survive a grizzly attack while the others did not? His hunting partner chased the grizzly bear off with a $40 can of bear spray. Arguably, the others would be alive today had they carried bear spray. None did.

This spate of recent human and bear encounters has spurred interest researching the effectiveness of bear spray and firearms during bear attacks.

A study done in 2008 reviewed 20 years of attacks in Alaska in which bear spray had been used. It concluded that bear spray stopped “undesirable” brown bear behavior 92 percent of the time, and 98 percent of people using bear spray walked away uninjured from close-range encounters with bears. By comparison, a previous study of nearly 300 bear attacks involving firearms concluded that guns were 67 percent effective.

Bear spray contains capsaicin, (the active component of spicy chile peppers), and works by causing the membranes of the eyes, nose and lungs of a bear to swell. The bear has a temporary, nearly total loss of sight and severe restriction of breathing. Sprayed bears are, for the most part, incapacitated and preoccupied, allowing the user time to vacate the area.

Besides possibly saving a life, another benefit is that sprayed bears may remember the unpleasant experience and avoid future human encounters.

Bear sprays should, at a minimum: contain 1 to 2 percent capsaicin, weigh about 8 ounces and spray for about 25 feet for a duration of seven seconds. Buy certified bear spray, not a personal-defense product (such as mace, which is designed for use on people or dogs). Certified bear spray is available locally at Backcountry Experience, Gardenswartz Outdoors, Goods For The Woods, Rocky Mountain Pawn & Gun and Walmart.

Granted, we have black bears in our neck of woods, and not grizzlies, their larger relative. And, bear spray doesn’t replace good common sense and bear safety measures. But if you recreate, work or live in an area visited frequently by bears, a holstered can of bear spray, or one placed near a doorway or deck, can bring peace of mind. Bryan Peterson is director of Bear Smart Durango, formed in 2003 to educate residents about safely and respectfully coexisting with bears and to advocate for policy changes. For more information, visit

Hikers Don’t Carry Bear Spray

Monday, October 17th, 2011

I saw this article and was bewildered.  Why wouldn’t someone carry a bear spray to defend themselves in bear country?  Sure it is expensive, but what value would you put on your life? $50?  It just doesn’t make sense to me, its like going into a bad part of town and not carrying any type of self defense weapon!

For years Yellowstone Park officials have told hikers to carry bear spray and know how to use it, but an informal survery taken after two fatal bear attacks in Yellowstone this summer showed that only 16% of the park’s day hikers carried the spray.

A 7.9 oz can of EPA registered bear spray costs approximately $50. Why the spray costs so much is anybody’s guess; the main ingredient is "ground chile peppers."

So many visitors throw away their bear spray after visiting Yellowstone a special recycling program has been started to keep the noxious spray from going off accidentally while being hauled away to landfills.

Some hikers have stopped charging grizzlies with bear spray, but often bears attack so quickly there’s no time to use bear spray.


There are concerns the spray fosters overconfidence that leads to confrontations with bears.

Yesterday in Bozeman, Mont., the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Coordinating Committee discussed "bear information effectiveness." Today the Committee with discuss a new "I&E [information & education] planning effort."

Clearly, it’s needed.

The Center For Wildlife Information has been well paid to produce hundreds of thousands of brochures for the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee; the long-winded bear spray brochure is filled with superfluous information.

Day hikers in Yellowstone probably don’t care about the "registration process" for bear spray, but it’s there, along with detailed facts about "enforcement monitoring." And more.

Bear Pepper Spray wasn’t used

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

How many times do you read these kinds of articles?  And really it doesn’t matter if it’s a bear attack, or someone being attacked in a violent crime.  Over and over again the headlines read “This could have been prevented if they were carrying a pepper spray or some other type of self defense weapon.”


A bow hunter is lucky to be alive following a run-in with grizzly bear Friday night in the Gallatin Canyon.

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Sergeant Joe Knarr, an out-of-state bow hunter who was returning to hunting camp after a day in the field came across the grizzly at an open space on the Cinnamon Creek trail south of Big Sky.

The hunter told FWP officials that he and the bear saw each other at the same time.

The hunter started to retreat while attempting to load an arrow in his bow. The bear pursued him, knocked him down and bit him on the head. The bear then released the hunter and moved away.

The hunter says he doesn’t remember exactly what happened next, but he did attempt to get up and the grizzly returned and chased him through some trees before finally leaving the area.

The injured hunter was able to walk out and was treated and released for cuts to his head from a Big Sky clinic Friday night.

FWP and Forest Service personnel placed warning signs at the trailhead Friday night.

Knarr says the attack could have been prevented if bear spray had been used.

FWP officials also said that an outfitter on Saturday in the Cub Creek area outside of West Yellowstone prevented a bear attack when he used pepper spray on a charging grizzly sow.

FWP officials say bears are very active in the Gallatin Canyon this year and anyone taking part in any activity, whether it’s hiking, walking a dog or even gardening, should carry pepper spray with them at all times.

Sergeant Knarr says bear attacks usually happen fast, so when you carry bear spray, you need to have it close at hand, ready to use and you need to know how to use it.

2006 Bear attack could have been prevented

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I found this article in USA Today, it talks about the sad situation when a bear attacked some hikers and what’s really sad is that it could have been prevented had they been more prepared and heeded posted signs


A California hiker killed by a grizzly in Yellowstone National Park on July 6 – the first fatal bear mauling in Yellowstone in a quarter century, and one of two attacks in the park this year – may have unwittingly provoked the bear by screaming and running away, according to a final report released Tuesday.

In this 2009 file photo, a grizzly bear walks across a road near Mammoth, Wyo., in Yellowstone Park.


By David Grubbs, AP

The park report suggested that the 58-year-old victim, Brian Matayoshi, of Torrance, California, might have survived his encounter if he and his wife, Marylyn, had heeded posted advisories.

"What possibly began as an attempt by the bear to assess the Matayoshis’ activities became a sustained pursuit of them as they fled running and yelling on the trail," the report said.

RELATED: Grizzly bear attacks are raising hackles

RELATED: Yellowstone death puts bear attacks in focus

The couple was not carrying bear spray – mace-like canisters of pressurized pepper spray that park officials advise hikers to carry for self-defense, the Associated Press notes.

The attack occurred when the Matayoshis encountered a female and her two cubs foraging for food about a mile from the park’s popular Wapiti Lake picnic ground, where the couple had set out for a morning hike, according to the investigators’ report.

The female grizzly "started coming at us and Brian said ‘Run.’ We were running down the trail," Marylyn Matayoshi told investigators. She heard her husband yell, the AP reports, and turned to see the sow attack him.

After killing the husband, the bear tugged at Marylyn Matayoshi’s backpack before releasing her and fleeing. Because the bear acted defensively and had no prior run-ins with humans, park officials let it roam free.

Two other people have been killed by grizzlies in the Northern Rockies this year, including a second attack in Yellowstone earlier this month that killed a Michigan man, and a Nevada hunter killed Friday by a wounded bear along the Idaho-Montana border.

That compares to an average of one fatal attack every two years, says Gregg Losinski, member of a federal-state task force on grizzlies. He told Reuters that so far this year, overall conflicts between grizzlies and humans are fewer than those reported last year.


This is not only sad for the people involved, but the bear population.  All these bears are doing are acting in self defense.  You’re coming to there home and threating them, they have every right to defend themselves and their young just like you or I, yet if they end up killing someone the are put down, how fair is that?  Fortunately they let this one go .

Self Defense in Bear country

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

I found this great informative article at  please read and take notes if you live in or are about to visit bear country.  You can buy a bear pepper spray here if you feel the need to do so.


The following list includes the worst case scenarios for bear encounters. These are situations that all hikers and mountain bikers would like to avoid.

  • Grizzly Bear - Click for more informationBears that have become addicted to garbage and human food. Once bears become accustomed to human food and garbage, they become drawn to areas of human occupation. This may include backcountry campsites far from urban centres. A history of poor backcountry garbage management by backpackers can add backcountry campsites to a bears regular forays.

  • Bears that have first year cubs which go up a tree. In this situation, the female may not leave the area, but rather will defend the cubs. The sow may attack quickly if you are within its comfort zone. Be ready with your bear spray, and be prepared to climb a tree if possible.

  • Bears with second year cubs that may participate in a bluff charge. Again, this can be a very dangerous situation as you are now dealing with multiple bears. While this is very rare, it would allow the family to protect a kill site more effectively.

  • Bears defending a kill site. Bears are very aggressive when protecting a kill site. Learn to watch for signs of kill sites such as large accumulations of ravens and other scavenging birds or animals.

  • Predatory Encounters. While this is a rare situation, and generally refers to predatory attacks by black bears, this can be a very serious encounter. Since the bear is hunting you as prey, you must be prepared for an imminent attack. The bear may circle you, slowly moving in closer and closer until it decides whether to attack or not.

What do you do when you meet a bear?

Whenever you travel in bear country, you have to accept the basic reality that you may encounter a bear. The tips on these pages will help reduce the likelihood of meeting Master Bruin, but at the same time, you need to be prepared for what to do when the unexpected occurs.

If you are in open country, use binoculars to scan the horizon to look for bears. In more forested landscapes, be sure to make lots of noise and keep a mental inventory of climbable trees (just in case). Remember, black bears are agile climbers, and grizzlies have also been known to climb short distances up trees. To be safe, you should look for trees that will allow you to get at least 10 m (33 ft) above the ground. Don’t forget that bears can charge at 50 km/hr (30 m.p.h.). You’ll need some time to climb that tree.

Situation 1 – Bear has not detected your presence and is more than 100 m (350 ft) distant.

Don’t announce your presence if the bear has not seen you. If possible, retreat slowly and give the bear plenty of space. If you have the opportunity, you should retreat and leave the trail to the bear. If you must continue, back off a short distance, and give the bear time to leave the area. You should also do a wide detour quietly and quickly downwind to avoid problems.

Situation 2 – Bear has detected your presence, but is more than 100 m (350 ft) distant.

Your goal here is to act in such a way as to allow the bear to identify you, but to also let it know that you are no threat. Speak calmly so that it knows you are a human (their eyesight is quite poor). They will often quickly give ground to you once they identify you as human. If the situation permits, back away slowly, keeping a close eye on the bear. Otherwise, you may wish to detour around the bear, but in this case, detour upwind so that the bear can get your scent. Keep talking calmly. Waving your arms may help it identify you as a human.

Situation 3 – Bear has detected you and shows signs of aggression

If you have followed the advice listed above, hopefully you have a bit of distance between the bear and yourself. You’ll need to

  • Assess the situation. Are you dealing with a black bear or a grizzly? Are there cubs involved? Are there climbable trees nearby (and do you have sufficient time to climb them)?

  • Do Not Run. You can’t outrun a bear so don’t even try. Despite rumours to the contrary, black and grizzly bears can outrun a human on ANY terrain, uphill or down. People will tell you that you should run downhill when chased by a grizzly. This is simply a myth – don’t try it!

  • Try to retreat slowly. Back up slowly and try to put more space between you and the bear. Talk calmly so that it can identify you as human, and slowly back up. Keep your backpack on as it can provide protection if necessary. Don’t make direct eye contact, but keep a close look at the bear as you back away.

  • Climb a tree if available. If you have enough time, and the bear continues to move closer, take advantage of a tall tree to climb. Remember, black bears are strong climbers as well. Grizzlies have also climbed short distances up trees after people. You want to get at least 10 m (33 feet) high to reduce the chance of being pulled out of the tree. Even though some bears can come up the tree after you, the hope is that they will feel less threatened, and thus less likely to chase you up the tree.

  • If the bear charges you. Bears will often bluff charge before attacking. This is designed to allow enemies to back down before the bear needs to actually make contact. It evolved as a way to prevent encounters with enemies and it may provide you with an opportunity to back away.

  • Use your pepper spray. This is a last resort. Pepper spray is only good at very close range (5 m or 15 ft). Wind will reduce this effective range even farther (and may blow the spray back into your face). If the bear approaches within this range, point the spray at its eyes and discharge the contents. Hopefully, this will either disorient the bear to allow you to escape, or at the very least deter it from attacking. Once you have partially discharged a canister of bear spray it should be discarded. While the spray may deter attacks, the smell of pepper can act as an attractor.

  • Black Bear - click for more informationIf a black bear (or any bear that is stalking you) makes contact. If the attack escalates and a black bear (or any bear that appears to have been stalking you) physically contacts you, fight back with anything that is available to you. Black bears tend to be more timid than grizzlies and fighting back may scare the bear off. In addition, if a bear is stalking you than you are in a predatory situation and fighting back is your only option. This also applies to any attack at night as these may also be considered predatory in nature.

  • If a grizzly makes contact. As above, if you believe the bear to be stalking you, fight back with everything you have. In general though, playing dead in a daytime grizzly encounter tends to reduce the level of injury sustained by most attack victims. Many grizzly attacks are defensive in nature, and playing dead may show the bear that you are not a threat. Keep your backpack on as it will provide added protection. The best position is to lie on your side in a fetal position. Bring your legs up to your chest and bury your head into your legs. Wrap your arms around your legs and hold on tight. You may also lie on your stomach, backpack on, and place your hands behind your neck to protect that vulnerable area. Do not play dead until the last moment. Staying on your feet may allow you to dodge, or divert an attack.

  • After the attack. Once the attack has ended, remain patient. After a few minutes, try to determine if the bear is still in the area. If the bear has moved on, you should make your way towards assistance as quickly as possible.

Bears in you backyard?

Much of the focus in the literature is on bear attacks in wild settings. Don’t forget that living in bear country comes with a responsibility to help reduce natural attractants in townsites. Click here for more details on living safely in bear country

Da Bears, a few safety tips here

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

No I’m not talkin bout the ones in Chicago

I ran across this article this morning
and thought I’d share it.


Camping and hiking season is  here!

With that comes a bear safety reminder.

Pasemko with Canadian Parks and Wildlife Society tells 660News what
to do if you encounter a bear.

“If you do run into a
bear, you want to leave the area immediately. So, backing up slowly,
being very submissive and avoiding eye contact.”

adds, “Avoid running, even if it may be an instinct, you really
need to slow down and get away as quietly as possible.”

lastly, if you are setting up shop and camping, “Remember to
keep your campsite clean of food and garbage. Use bear hangs or
hiking lockers to store these items. If you are bringing your dog
along for a hike, keep them on a leash as they can provoke bears as
well. The key message is use caution.”

Pasemko says,
taking preventative measures like hiking in groups, making lots of
noise and checking trail enclosures on a number or websites or park
reports are best.


These are pretty common tips and
nothing ground breaking but they make sense.  If all else fails
however, you can always rely on a good ole canister of  Bear Pepper
Spray, available at most sporting good stores or you can purchase one
right here.