Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Don't click here if you don't have your SPRAY

Home  >  FAQ

Questions About Bears

1. How Bear Spray Works
2. What can I do to help prevent bear encounters in camp?
3. What kinds of bears am I most likely to run into?
4. What should I do in a bear encounter?
5. Does bear pepper spray attract bears?
6. What makes Counter Assault different from other bear sprays?
7. What should I do if I accidentally get sprayed?
8. How should I use Counter Assault Bear Deterrent if I am approached by a bear?
9. Will Counter Assault hurt animals?
10. Can I carry Counter Assault onto an airplane?
11. What is the shelf life of bear pepper spray?
12. Will Counter Assault work in freezing temperatures?
13. Why is it important that Counter Assault Bear Deterrent is EPA registered?

1. How Bear Spray Works

Capsaicin and related capsaicinoids are the Active Ingredients within Oleoresin Capsicum. Commonly referred to as OC, it is a natural, oily, resin-like substance derived from hot peppers, the same ones used in spicy foods. Bear sprays that contain OC induce an almost immediate but temporary burning sensation of the skin and a burning, tearing, and swelling of the eyes. If OC is inhaled, the respiratory tract becomes inflamed resulting in swelling of the mucous membranes lining the breathing passage and temporarily restricting breathing to short, shallow breaths.

Counter Assault utilizes a sophisticated dispersal system to create an atomized fog, which produces a pepper cloud slow to dissipate. The most effective dispersal system is the atomized fogger.

Counter Assault Bear Deterrent
To be effective, Counter Assault Bear Deterrent must be airborne. Do not spray this product on objects, tents, or humans; such use has NO deterrent effect on bears.

A group comprised of bear biologists and wildlife specialists released recommendations for bear pepper spray on August 12, 1999. Their Bear Pepper Spray Position Paper lists the following criteria:


Counter Assault Bear Deterrent exceeds all the Recommendations.

2. What can I do to help prevent bear encounters in camp?

Remember that bears are curious creatures with a powerful sense of smell. Please follow local camping regulations, but here are some tips:

  • Set up cooking, eating, and supply areas at least 100 yards from your sleeping area.
  • Store food and odorous items by hanging at least 10 feet above ground and 4 feet from top and side supports or by storing in approved bear-resistant containers. Click here for a diagram.
  • Select food in individually sealed packages. Plan meals carefully to prevent leftovers.
  • Store pet food, livestock feed, and garbage the same as food. Never bury it; pack it out.
  • Strain food particles from dishwater using a fine mesh screen and store with garbage.
  • Dump dishwater at least 100 yards from your sleeping area. Food odors may attract bears.
  • Keep sleeping bags and tents completely free of food, food odors, or beverages at all times.
  • Store personal items (such as deodorants, toothpaste, make-up, soap, and lotions) with food and garbage when not in use. Any odorous product may attract bears.
  • Camp in open areas away from trails, thick brush, berry patches, spawning streams, or carcasses.
  • Sleep in a tent for increased safety.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after cooking, eating, or handling fish or game. Always minimize odors.
  • Change your clothes before going to bed -- do not sleep in the same clothes you cook in.
  • Rehearse what you and others in your group will do -- day or night --
  • If a bear appears in your camp or while you're hiking. Review local regulations before your outing.

3. How do I tell a Black Bear from a Grizzly Bear?

The most common North American bears are the black bear and the grizzly bear. The black bear is the smaller of the two, uniformly black, brown, blond, or cinnamon in color. Grizzly bears often have medium to dark brown legs, hump, and under parts with light-tipped (grizzled) fur on their head and upper body. The grizzly's distinctive shoulder hump is actually muscle mass that
enables powerful digging with its long claws. The claws of the black bear are better for climbing. Back to top

4. What should I do in a bear encounter?

  • If you see a bear and it has not seen you, Stay calm - if you see a bear and it hasn't seen you, calmly and quietly leave the area.
  • If on a trail, step off the trail on the downhill side and slowly leave the area.
  • If the bear has seen you, identify yourself - let the bear know you are human.
  • Talk in a soft to normal voice, do not yell. Help the animal recognize you are human.
  • If the bear cannot tell what you are, it may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell.
  • A standing bear is curious, not threatening, but this is a good time for a first short (one-second) burst of Counter Assault, which may send the bear on its way.
  • Try to back away slowly diagonally, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground.
  • Pick up small children immediately and stay in a group.
  • Try not to pose a threat - avoid direct eye contact, as bears may perceive this as a threat.
  • Don't make any sudden movements. If necessary, back away slowly to give the bear plenty of room to escape.
  • Wild bears rarely attack people unless they feel threatened or provoked.
  • Stand still - hold your ground if the bear charges. Bears often "bluff charge".
  • Since it's impossible to tell a bluff charge from the real thing, a short (1-3 second) blast of Counter Assault should interrupt the charge.
  • Do not run - including to the nearest tree unless you are sure you can climb at least 10 feet before the bear reaches you.
  • Running is likely to prompt the bear to give chase. You can't outrun a bear -- they have been clocked up to 35 mph,
    and like cougars and dogs, they will chase fleeing animals. (Climbing a tree may not work for black bears because they are agile climbers.)
  • Under no circumstances should bear spray create a false sense of security or serve as a substitute for standard safety precautions in bear country.

5. Does bear pepper spray attract bears?

Any scent may attract bears, but there is no conclusive evidence by bear experts that bear spray does or does not attract bears.
This issue came to light due to the improper use of bear pepper sprays. Bear experts all agree that bear pepper spray, when used correctly, is the best defense against an aggressive bear. It must be airborne to work.

6. What makes Counter Assault different from other sprays?

It is the only Bear Pepper Spray to Exceed bear biologists recommendations. Click Here For Bear Spray Specifications Chart

7. What should I do if I accidentally get sprayed?

If you are exposed, the effects of Counter Assault are temporary. With no treatment at all, the effects should dissipate within approximately 30-45 minutes. However, some attempt should be made to relieve the discomfort of the individual who has been exposed. Treatment is accomplished by simply flushing the exposed area with large quantities of water. As soon as possible, the affected person should be removed from the contaminated area, placed in a fresh-air environment, and told to place their head briefly under water while opening their eyes. More complete treatment instructions are packed with each canister of Counter Assault.

8. How should I use Counter Assault Bear Deterrent if I am approached by a bear?

Only a small amount of Counter Assault is usually needed to resist aggressive behavior. We recommend using short bursts (one-half to two seconds) as opposed to a long, continuous spray. The sound made by the atomized fogger blast of Counter Assault will frequently startle the animal, as it is not a familiar noise. Sometimes this is enough to chase it away.

* If a bear or large predator approaches to within thirty feet, give a warning blast, placing a fog between you and the animal. Note: Check for wind direction and position yourself upwind if possible, to avoid cross-exposure.
* If the bear or large predator continues to approach or to charge within 20 to 30 feet, use short blasts, continuously in succession, aiming low at the head and face of the animal so it runs into the spray, until the animal retreats or is deterred.

Spray and react -- when the animal attack is interrupted, this is your chance to get away, but DO NOT RUN.

CAUTION:This product is no substitute for common sense.

9. Will Counter Assault hurt animals or people?

Animals and people temporarily experience intense burning sensations, which wear off in 30 to 45 minutes. Counter Assault is non-lethal, has no ozone-depleting chemicals, and causes no permanent damage to the animal or person sprayed.

10. Can I carry Counter Assault onto an airplane?

FAA regulations do not allow transportation of more than 4 ounces of pepper spray packed in your luggage. You may call us for local dealers in the area you are going or we can drop-ship to your destination.

11. What is the shelf life of bear pepper spray?

Counter Assault products have a four-year recommended replacement date because ALL aerosols lose propellant over time. This four-year replacement date means that it will shoot to maximum distance the first four years, and will still spray a considerable distance after that date. For example, Counter Assault Bear Deterrent, when new, sprays 30 to 40 feet whereas many other bear deterrents only spray from 15 feet to 20 feet when freshly manufactured. Though the potency of the pepper does not diminish, all aerosol canister seals will weaken over time, allowing the propellant to escape.

12. Will Counter Assault work in freezing temperatures?

Yes, although it will not spray as far at freezing temperatures, because a decrease in temperature causes a decrease in pressure, American and Canadian park rangers carry their Counter Assault under their jackets to keep it warm for emergency use. It has been used effectively in Cape Churchill, Manitoba against polar bears using this method and also in the Arctic at extremely low temperatures of 12°F/-12°C to -6°F/-22°C.

13. Why is it important that Counter Assault Bear Deterrent is EPA registered?

Any product that claims it can deter an attacking animal by definition is a pesticide, and must be registered with the EPA.

Become Facebook Fan

Additional Options

Accepted credit cards