Everyone knows famous zookeeper and television personality Jack Hanna. What you probablly didn’t know is that he carries pepper spray religiously for self defense against both humans and animals. While hiking Saturday in Glacier National Park a small bear weighing about 125 pounds came charging toward the famous zookeeper. TV host and zookeeper Jack Hanna says he took his own advice and used pepper spray on a grizzly bear headed toward him.
Hanna reports discharging his pepper spray canister first, at about 30 feet. The hope was that the wind would help carry it and deter the bear. Well that didn’t happen and the bear kept coming forward. At about 20 feet he sprayed again but the bear continued to move toward him. Finally, as the bear got within 10 feet Hanna was able to spray and hit him right in the face. The bear turned and fled in the opposite direction!
Most pepper spray products are not made to be effective at 30 feet. Most two or four ounce cannisters have a range of up to 18 feet. Bear spray, however is made to be effective at upwards of 30 feet. Hanna has been carrying pepper spray for over 15 years and this was the first time he’d ever had to use it.
Imagine what would could have happened had he not had the pepper spray? It appears they surprised a mother bear and her cubs. “We thought of letting them go by, but the trail was cut into the rock and was too narrow,” Hanna said. “So I said, ‘Everybody talk loud and we’ll back up until we can get off the trail.'” Hanna told everyone to crawl up the hill and put their backs against the wall. They all stood quietly and still while the mother and one cub passed them. The second cub decided to charge them.
Whether hiking, biking, running, or walking you just never know when a dangerous situation will present itself. Preparation today could indeed save your life tomorrow.