WTD?

What's the Deal With: Bear spray?

Sort of like Sriracha, but for bears
November 23, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.
Bear spray can be an excellent deterrent to bear attacks — if used correctly.
Bear spray can be an excellent deterrent to bear attacks — if used correctly. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

By JULIA LERNER
Staff Reporter

In August this year, a man was attacked by a lactating black bear in Whatcom County. 

Since then, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has emphasized its bear-aware campaigns, educating residents on how to prevent future attacks. One of their recommendations: bear spray. 

Bear spray can be an excellent deterrent to bears, but only when used correctly and sparingly — usually when a bear is about 60 feet away. When sprayed, you’re supposed to create a “cloud” of the substance, so when a bear walks into it, they’re blinded and you can make your escape. 

That cloud, though, can settle like a spicy layer on structures and plants, and earned the nickname “Bear Sriracha” in Nome, Alaska, where I used to live. Bears would come from miles away to lick the substance off leaves and homes. 

“Bear spray does not work like an insect repellent,” warns the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It may actually attract a bear.” 


WTD runs on Wednesdays. Have a suggestion for a “What's the Deal With?” inquiry? Email us at newstips@cascadiadaily.com.

Have a news tip? Email newstips@cascadiadaily.com or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Register for email newsletters

* indicates required
Preferences:

Latest Stories


HEALTH
Cutting-edge: Controlled ketamine therapy can open, heal the mind
Two Bellingham clinics seek to treat mental health disorders

FOOTBALL
Lynden triumphs over North Kitsap, repeats as 2A champions
Lions defeat Vikings 31-24 via thrilling game-winning drive

SOCCER
WWU women outlast West Chester for national soccer title
Vikings win second national championship in program history

FOOTBALL
1A state title slips away from Mount Baker
Mountaineers surrender 3 fourth-quarter TDs in 35-20 loss to Royal

SOCCER
Netherlands eliminates US in round of 16 at World Cup
USMNT takes a 3-1 loss