According to New Study Bears Immune to Bullets, Vulnerable to Pepper Spray

Pepper-spraying the animal in the face could have prevented this.

By Trevor Antley.

That’s right. According to a new study coming out of BYU, pepper spray fares better against an angry bear than, say, a bullet traveling 896 miles per second. While this may come as a surprise to some, those who have been following developments in the bear community know that in recent years both grizzly and black bears have begun donning Kevlar vests. Where exactly the bears are getting the vests is currently unknown.

Scientists are also quick to observe that due to the 6-foot range of most pepper sprays, its use means that the eager camper or hiker will get to see the large animals up close. A gun, they note, could be used from a less-exciting (although safer) distance, and the sound of the gunshot unfortunately often scares the animals into fleeing. If you want to get to know a bear up close, scientists say, guns are not the best option.

We can all pray for a day when humans and bears will coexist without having to maul, shoot, or maim one another, but that day–if it’s anything more than a pipe dream–does not appear to be coming soon. Until then we can only stock up on pepper spray and hope that whoever is supplying the bears with the vests doesn’t give them pepper spray too. If the bears have pepper spray then our advantage is gone, and the last thing you want is to be pepper sprayed by a bear.