Welcome to part II of the bear spray stories. If you haven’t read part one, I’d recommend doing it now so this will make more sense.
To recap, I was in a dive bar in Anchorage talking to a park ranger, a veteran tour bus driver and veteran of the tourism industry in Alaska. The subject of bear spray came up and they recounted four of the funniest stories I’d heard about bear spray. For some strange reason, I decided to illustrate them on this blog.
In part one, we learned that bear spray is very effective in tear-gassing a busload of tourists, even it it isn’t very effective at getting a marmot out from under a bus. In part two, we will learn that bear spray can save your life, provided you have the cajones to use it correctly.
The park ranger and his colleague were hiking in Denali National Park when off in the distance they saw a majestic grizzly bear.
The bear was about 150 yards away, which was a little too close for comfort, but the bear didn’t notice the rangers and was moving away so they were in a safe position. Nevertheless, they started to retreat.
As soon as they started to retreat, something unexpected, and cute, happened.
After examining the two pink, hairless creatures for a minute, the two bears began to show off for the rangers.
Then in the distance…
the mama grizzly turned her head and saw the cubs fraternizing with the humans. She was not impressed.
Suddenly the mood of the rangers changed. What had previously been awe over the cuteness of the bear cubs…
turned to terror when the mom noticed the rangers and began charging.
The mama grizzly covered the 150 yards in about 10 seconds. The cubs, sensing that something was wrong, turned against the humans while the ranger unholstered his bear spray.
The ranger timed the bear spray shot perfectly, scoring a direct hit on the charging grizzly.
The ranger said that the grizzly started to veer off just as he shot the pepper spray, so there is a chance she was bluff charging.
Mama bear was clearly agitated by the bear spray. She circled back, pawed at the ground and then retreated. Luckily for the rangers, they were upwind of the charging bear and thus got a face full of pepper spray also.
The bears walked off angry and demoralized and the rangers, glad to be alive, were also very glad that they hadn’t soiled themselves. Although terrifying, the rangers now have a great story to tell while in dive bars in Anchorage.
In the next two bear spray stories, no bears are involved.