Reactions of free-ranging black bears to capsaicin spray repellent

  • Published source details Rogers L.L. (1984) Reactions of free-ranging black bears to capsaicin spray repellent. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 12, 59-61.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use non-lethal methods to deter carnivores from attacking humans

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Use non-lethal methods to deter carnivores from attacking humans

    A study (year not stated) at campgrounds and garbage dumps in Minnesota and Michigan, USA (Rogers 1984) found that pepper spray repelled all American black bears Ursus americanus and tear gas repelled half of bears. Four out of five bears sprayed once in the eyes with pepper spray fled 7–20 m away and did not return. The fifth bear, a male, only fled after being sprayed four times (although on two occasions, the spray did not reach the bear’s eye). Four bears exposed to tear gas left the site. However, two returned within a few minutes. No animals exhibited signs of aggression. The study was conducted in sites (number not stated) where black bears were reported to be taking food from people. Five black bears were sprayed in the eyes with pepper spray from distances of 1.5–3.0 m and four were sprayed with tear gas.

    (Summarised by: Richardo Rocha)

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