SABRE recently received a call from Larry Dickerson, an outdoorsman who had a recent bear encounter with SABRE’s Frontiersman Bear Spray on hand. Dickerson found Frontiersman highly effective at scaring off the bear and was kind enough to write a letter sharing his experience:
On the afternoon of April 3, 2015, I was shed hunting near Grizzly Ridge, west of Wapiti. I was returning to the horses, working along several small isolated grassy ridges. For the most part, my vision was concentrated to my left and right, as I walked along scanning the ground for antlers.
Just below a hillside summit containing a few scattered trees, I looked up to see a bear about 60 yards from me. I recognized the bear as a grizzly, which had already spotted me and it was very apparent, the bear was focused on me. I immediately started talking to the bear and began yanking up my jacket trying to pull out my bear spray from the holster. As soon as I looked up again (just as my bear spray cleared the holster) she was already half way to me. The grizzly was not charging hard at me, but loping down the hill at me. She slowed and pulled up about 25 feet from me, then bounced on her front feet several times, popping her teeth. It was then I first spotted her two, two year olds coming down the hill. They were almost as big as her and stopped about 10 yards or so, behind momma. There was a very strong cross wind (approx. 20-25 mph). After a bit of posturing and aggressive bouncing, she walked dead down-wind from me. Possibly, this was to get a better smell of me, but she certainly gave no negative reaction to my human smell. This gave me the opportunity to use my bear spray. I am sure the “hiss” of the spray escaping the canister startled her to a point, however, the spray was upon her in an instant. She reacted immediately, spun around and poop flew about three feet outa her butt! She ran away basically the same direction she had approached, at approximately 45 degrees away shaking her head. The two year olds followed her, until they disappeared over the hill about 60 yards from me.
As I described above, the bear never made it to me, but her behavior was aggressive and since she made the mistake of walking directly downwind of me, I had an opportunity to get rid of her. Hopefully, this will help insure she will not repeat these aggressive tactics and hopefully learn that bad things can happen when associated with humans. I am relieved to think that sometimes bear spray is the best tool one can have, as if I had a gun, I am not sure what I would have done, maybe fire off a round in front of her. Certainly, it would have been unwise to kill the bear, as she was very close, but only posturing aggressively instead of attacking.
Though SABRE recommends following the instructions on the packaging, Larry also shared another method that worked for him, which was using two hands rather than one thumb to remove the safety. He shared the following:
Instead [of using one thumb to remove the safety], just reach over with the other hand and ‘RIP OFF’ the safety cap. If you do this in practice, both hands are now on the canister as it begins spraying. If you fire off several full canisters, you will notice the canisters are kinda powerful when expelling the spray, and may ‘kick up’ slightly, therefore, two hands holding onto the spray is actually safer feels more ‘in control’ of the spray (I learned all this from my wife, Lynn). However, when my time came in the field, I used my right thumb to remove that safety cap and that was a time-consuming mistake in my case.
SABRE is all about education, practice and helping people find out what works for them when it comes to self-defense. Be sure to watch the videos and get plenty of experience, using practice sprays to get a feel for what the real deal will be like. You can view more testimonials like this one from satisfied customers on our website. SABRE is proud to be a leader in manufacturing quality, life-saving products.
See also: Bear Spray Better than Firearms and Bear Safety for Spring