Does pepper spray make bears mad?

Short answer: No.

In all the testing researchers in Ely, Minnesota have done with various brands of pepper spray, no bear has shown the slightest hint of anger. All quietly retreated to deal with the temporary eye irritation.

Pride Johnson, manufacturer of Counter Assault, said the same. Neither he nor the Ely researchers have ever seen or heard of a bear becoming more aggressive after being sprayed.

Further, bears remember the hand motion that precedes spraying. They typically retreat when a person lifts and extends an empty hand like he or she is going to spray—especially if the person makes a “sshhh” sound like the spray.


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