By Cheri Sicard
The video below on how to use bear spray is a must-see for ANYONE recreating in bear country, including campers, RVers, hikers, horseback riders, anglers, etc. And bear country encompasses a whole lot of wilderness territory in the United States and Canada.
The 10 minutes you spend watching could literally save your life or the life of a friend or family member.
Hosted by certified bear safety expert Chuck Bartlebaugh, the video below is filled with tips and wisdom from a true expert about how to use bear spray. Chuck may lack a charismatic show-biz personality on camera, but personally, I’ll take substance over form any day.
Chuck Bartlebaugh has spent more than 30 years traveling North America photographing and studying bears. To that end, in 1976 he founded BeBearAware.org, a national non-profit conservation organization dedicated to educating the public about human impact on wildlife and their environment, especially bears.
The campaign was spurred by the loss of both human and bear life caused by the misinformed and tragic actions of people visiting our national parks, national forests, and refuge lands.
The organization, and this video, are meant to better equip the public on how to handle an unexpected encounter with our Ursidae neighbors. (There’s a word to look up for your Scrabble games.)
Plan for the worst and hope for the best, I always say. Bear spray preparedness could literally save your life if that worst-case bear scenario ever happens.
Who should carry it?
Chuck says all of us should always carry bear spray when out in bear country.
The video actually goes out in the field and instructs you how to be prepared and deploy the spray in several scenarios you might find yourself in. Although no doubt Chuck’s taxidermied co-star is far more docile than those found in the wild.
You will learn what to do:
- If the bear is within 60 feet and charging
- If the bear is within 30 feet and charging
- If the bear is within 15 feet and a friend is being attacked
- If the bear is within 15 feet and you are being attacked or taken down while having to spray the bear
A charging bear can reach you within 2 seconds. Likewise, Chuck begins by explaining a few minor points that can become major issues if you should ever find yourself in that precarious situation:
- Accessing your bear spray quickly
- How to hold the can
- Removing the safety clip on bear spray
- What to do while spraying for maximum effectiveness
- How long to continue spraying bear spray
What kind of bear spray is best?
Because bear sprays are not created equally, Chuck also covers the type you should look for.
He also discusses the reasons why a bear might charge and ways you might be able to stop that scenario before it starts by using bear spray.
I learned a lot from this video and predict you will too. I will admit, I have never carried bear spray despite often hiking in bear country. I am going to remedy that immediately.
Not to mention, a good can of bear spray is not a bad self-defense item to have in the RV against human predators, as well.