A few days ago the social media world was buzzing about an article written in the High Country News by Charles Finn entitled ‘I Don’t Carry Bear Spray. Here’s Why’. We found the story in Adventure Journal. It’s fascinating, well worth the read.
In it Finn admits that he is anti-bear spray because he doesn’t want to be responsible for the “agony a bear goes through when it gets a snout full of capsaicin,” and because he wants “to meet the wilderness on its own terms.”
I can’t help but wonder if ‘meeting wilderness on its own terms’ also means that Finn hikes without a backpack, without a water bottle, without a first aid kit, without boots and without clothes. However, it was Finn’s conclusion that really got me thinking.
He speculates that if he is attacked and killed by a bear…”at least I’ll know I died serving a purpose-helping to fatten a bear up for winter. After all, they were here first, and the odds of survival are decidedly not in their favor. If anyone deserves to be pepper-sprayed, it’s us.”
Thanks for the outdoor guilt trip Finn. I hike with bear spray and if I get between a Mama and her cub I fully intend to use it. I think it is the humane and responsible thing to do.
Bear spray is a non-lethal agent, meaning that it only causes temporary discomfort to the bear. Ask any military or law enforcement professional who has been sprayed in the face with pepper spray, it’s not that bad.
In most cases if a bear attacks a human the bear is killed. Sometimes multiple bears are killed. In 2011, a 72 year old woman was killed by a black bear in British Columbia, and 5 suspected bears were tracked and killed.
Sorry Finn, if you sacrificed your body to a bear you wouldn’t be fattening it up for winter–you’d be killing the bear.
Now I ask would you rather be responsible for the “agony” a bear goes through from pepper spray or the “agony” a bear goes through when he is killed?