A Public Service Annoucement: Bear Spray Can Kill Ya’!

“Safety doesn’t happen by accident!” -Author Unknown

I am still adjusting to being “brave” in the outdoors. I would not say that I am a huge girly-girl, but I don’t like bugs, especially flying ones like wasps and bees, and I don’t like snakes, which is my opinion, as part girly-girl, are scary. I am also a pretty big chicken when it comes to bears.

I will admit it, chicken is putting it nicely. I am a baby. A really big baby. I am that person who keeps everyone else in the tent awake because they think they hear things all night long. And the things that I hear are, in my mind, always bears! Bears that want to come into camp, pillage the dinner left-overs, and then rip into my tent and have me for dessert. My imagination can get very out of hand, and soon everyone in the tent is angry because they haven’t slept all night and I am about to have a heart attack because I have worked myself up so much. Good times.

I also had a fear of running into bears while out wandering in the woods. So, as I have taken up hunting and spent more time outside, I have had to face this bear fear. I came up with a great solution: bear pepper spray! Nothing, according to numerous wildlife websites, fends off bear better than bear spray. Bear spray is like pepper spray but it contains higher levels of concentrated capsaicin than other pepper products.

With bear spray on my hip, I have become much more daring and adventurous. Last summer, we ran into a smaller male black bear feasting on an elk carcass. Instead of screaming and making a big scene, I sat quietly in the bushes and observed the bear as he enjoyed his elk banquet. Bear spray had apparently made me a normal person in the outdoors. I was stoked.

I was stoked about my new found bravery, until the other day. It has been a mild fall here, and the temperatures have hovered in the low to mid 70s for a couple of weeks. The great fall weather has allowed for a lot of mountain time, and I have carried my bear spray around quite a bit. Well, this week everything changed.

After returning from our last mountain trip, I got lazy. I left my bear spray in the truck on the dash board for a couple of days. The weather got lazy too. Instead of holding out these long stretches of perfect fall temperatures, the weather slacked off a little and temperatures dropped into the 30s at night. Tuesday night there was a sudden freeze warning. I rushed out picked the rest of my garden and then went to bed.

Now, I know to not leave bear spray in the heat, especially the hot car. The can is pressurized and letting it get hot, or around open flames, is dangerous. It says this on the can. I didn’t think about not letting it freeze, which I am going to assume the can says also. I say assume because I can’t look on my can anymore.

Why can’t I look on my can? Because my can froze on the dash board of my truck…and then EXPLODED all over my truck. I am emphasizing the word exploded because it literally looks like a bomb went off in the truck, attempted to break through the windshield, and then sprayed pepper spray shrapnel ALL OVER THE INTERIOR OF MY TRUCK!


So, I am pretty sure the truck is ruined. If anyone has any ideas on how to remove pepper spray soaked glass shards from interior I would love them. And if anyone knows how to get pepper spray out of the heating vents so my face isn’t blasted with hot pepper fumes each time the vehicle is on that would be useful information, I think.

These sunglasses used to have lenses...until they hit by the bear spray explosion and knocked out of the frames.
These sunglasses used to have lenses…until they hit by the bear spray explosion and knocked out of the frames.

I do have a suggestion for anyone purchasing bear spray. They do sell holding cases for bear spray so if it goes off in your car the explosion is contained. Buy one of these! And don’t be lazy, like me. Take your bear spray out of the car and store it the proper way.

I THINK I am still a fan of bear spray, but I definitely have a new found respect for the stuff. Based off how bad my face was burning upon opening the truck door after the explosion, I am pretty certain a spray of that to a bear’s face will definitely fend off even the most ornery animal. However, I am a little afraid of bear spray now that I realize I am carrying a capsaicin bomb on my hip.

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