I understand the desire for risk, I’ve climbed rock walls without ropes and paddled rivers swollen to their extremes, but in this case it’s not all about us or you. Actually, I find it rarely is, but that’s rant for another day. The choice to bring bear spray into the backcountry is not a decision which only affects you. Other lives are at stake. In the event that some day your nickname (Eaten-by-Bear) becomes prophetic, it may not only be you that gets to experience the big national park in the sky. Depending on the circumstance it may be the bear you so valiantly want to protect as there are often consequences for human-eating bears, such as relocation or death. Furthermore, I would be willing to bet that a bear that has met with pepper spay is less likely to have a negative interaction with an unsuspecting hiker in the future, thereby again increasing it’s own chances of survival and that of other humans.
Also, while your concern over inflicting pain on a species other than your own is a nice one, your facts are a little off. Yes, grizzly bears have an incredible sense of smell, which makes bloodhounds look like Chia pets with stuffy noses, but this is not the mechanism through which bear spray acts. The concentrated capsicum in bear spray is not a deterrent because it smells so bad, it is an airway and mucus membrane irritant. So, while bears have a great deal of surface area up in their noses, which allows them to smell so well, it is not their incredible smell per say which makes bear spray effective on them. The spray for example, would work equally well on my runny-nosed Chia pet if it had eyes and a trachea.
Lastly, what is your feeling on Vibram soles, Goretex, and nylon because if you really want meet wilderness on it’s own terms, you should take on the weather, a foe both mightier and more immediate than a grizzly bear you can’t see.
Missoula News/Independent Publishing |
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