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Topic: I Tested My Bear Spray — On Myself, Something went wrong.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:04 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I had this older can of Counter Assault bear spray. The can was close to five years old. It seemed to be leaking inside the drawer where I kept it. The drawer smelled real bad. So I took the bear spray outside and discharged the entire can.

Something went wrong. I did not report this earlier because I could not keep my watering eyes open long enough to type. Man, that stuff stings!

Before the test, I had thought things out carefully. There were no witnesses. That was important. But there was a strong breeze. So I walked downwind from my house and aimed away from everything and toward an empty horse pasture. The breeze would keep any spray from drifting my way. No one would be hurt.

Everything was set. I would discharge the can in several bursts. The first burst surprised me. There was a slight "kick" to the canister. As the spray shot out 40 to 50 feet in front, the can tipped backward slightly. I quickly adjusted to grizzly eye level. Okay fine. I was impressed.

So I sent several bursts of spray off into the moonlit distance. I practiced. I held the can securely. My confidence was high. I was ready for a grizzly charge. Bring it on.

Practice complete, the can was about empty. So I left open the nozzle to discharge all pressure. But somehow when I released the "trigger" for the last time, I received a quick burst of back-spray directly into my eyes.

Whoa Nelly! The sting was instantaneous. I could not hold my eyes open. I stumbled back to the house — feeling betrayed by a friend. We had shared the backcountry. We had slept in the same tent. It had lived in my house between forays. I thought we trusted each other. Now this!

And somehow the back-spray or leak in the can had deposited the pepper on my hands. So as I stumbled toward the bathroom to wash my eyes, my hands left residue on every doorknob and light switch. I was just barely able to open my eyes briefly to soap my hands, rinse, and then try to flood my eyes. Between 15 and 30 minutes later I was able to sit down at my computer. But I had to squeeze eyes shut repeatedly for over an hour.

It took me a couple days to get the smell off my hands and doorknobs. My eyes had cleared by next morning. The drawer still smells. Next time I'll be wearing goggles.

But no one knows about this. Understand? It's just between you and me.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oops

Your secret is safe with us...got any pictures?


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Are you sure there wasn't a bear out there that snuck up on you and gave you a blast of his from his counter assault human spray?
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Been there, done that.  It is truly nasty stuff :p .  Small wonder bears don't like it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You did everything right and took all precautions!  Why were you still screwed?  Karma.  Justice always comes around and no punishment is ever undeserving.
























:p


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Chuck D @ Mar. 29 2013, 12:06 pm)
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Oops

Your secret is safe with us...got any pictures?

Um...no. I attempted to destroy all evidence.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Okay, so it stings the eyes

but, how does it taste ?


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Very good!  Made me laugh ... in a nervous sort of way.  

So, had it not been leaking, would it have done this back spray.  I am just trying to figure out if this simply is a fluke or a design flaw with the trigger mechanism.  Good info to know when I get to griz territory.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Huh.  The only time I've deployed bear spray on a bear, I only shot the first 5 seconds from a 7-second can.  I can't say I've ever fully drained one.  Now you've got me curious (not curious enough yet to try it, but curious).

Half of me wants to say "pics or it didn't happen."  But the other half of me knows I wouldn't be taking pictures either. :p


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yikes!  You didn't answer the most important question.  Did it force you to break off your attack?

Is the smell still stuck in your nose?
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This might be worth shooting a message to Counter Assault about, just to hear their response.  Might prove helpful (or maybe not, but you never know unless you ask).

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Travis.  I can sympathize.
I was downwind when I "tested" mine.
Not sure what was worse, my eyes, or the burning in my throat when I caught my breath.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 2:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow. Thanks for taking one for all of us. And, for writing up an honest report.

A couple of questions.
1. What color was the spray? I've heard it's either red or orange.
2. Did the burst that got you come from the nozzle mechanism or, maybe, from the drop tube? Maybe from a seam on the top?
3. How do you think the spray squirted backwards towards your face?
4. Did you have a hat on?
5. Can you still taste it on your mustache?
6. How fast was the wind blowing?
7. Was it cold out?
8. Was it hot out?
9. Did you already have a new can on hand?
10. Is it the same brand as the one you discharged?
11. In addition to goggles, will you be wearing gloves next time? If so, will they be leather or latex?

Okay, that's more than a couple of questions. And none of them are important enough to give a serious answer to. I just wanted to pretend to be a smartass.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 3:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And there wasn't even anyone there to hold your beer.....
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 5:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(desert dweller @ Mar. 29 2013, 12:51 pm)
QUOTE
A couple of questions. . . .

A couple of questions.
1. What color was the spray? I've heard it's either red or orange.
I'd say pink, but it was dark out, except for the yard light from my house, so the color was not very clear.

2. Did the burst that got you come from the nozzle mechanism or, maybe, from the drop tube? Maybe from a seam on the top?
I don't know. I released the "trigger" more slowly than at other times, and there was something about the final closing of the nozzle that caused the back-spray. But after it happened, the canister was tainted with the pepper, and I just wanted to be rid of it. So I never attempted to analyze the mechanism.

3. How do you think the spray squirted backwards towards your face?
I think it was something about the closing mechanism under low pressure. I didn't have any problem when the can was fully pressurized. But I really don't know.

4. Did you have a hat on?
No.

5. Can you still taste it on your mustache?
I don't recall tasting it. But the smell was repugnant.

6. How fast was the wind blowing?
About 15-20 mph, I'd guess.

7. Was it cold out?
Maybe slightly below freezing or so.

8. Was it hot out?
No. But the can had been in my warm house. So it was fairly warm.

9. Did you already have a new can on hand?
No. I just did not want the can leaking inside my house.

10. Is it the same brand as the one you discharged?
I'll get Counter Assault again, but I have not replaced the bear spray yet. I don't blame the company. I think the problem was in the rather lazy way I closed the nozzle at low pressure.  

11. In addition to goggles, will you be wearing gloves next time? If so, will they be leather or latex?
When testing, I'd probably just put on a cheap pair of cotton/polyester gloves. In a real-life situation, I'm probably not going to be wearing either goggles or gloves.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 5:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Mar. 29 2013, 12:32 pm)
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This might be worth shooting a message to Counter Assault about, just to hear their response.  Might prove helpful (or maybe not, but you never know unless you ask).

That's probably a good idea. I'll look into it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 5:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm really sorry to hear this happened, really glad to hear you're alright, and really glad to hear the stuff works. I'm chuckling because I could easily see doing the same to myself...

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 5:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Mar. 29 2013, 12:30 pm)
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Yikes!  You didn't answer the most important question.  Did it force you to break off your attack?

Is the smell still stuck in your nose?

It was debilitating. Put it that way.

The smell is stuck in the drawer, so I get a reminder every time I open the drawer. Fortunately, I was not inhaling when this happened.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 5:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A couple of years ago I asked the security guy at the Jackson Airport how many bear spray canisters they "acquire" during the summer since they are not allowed on planes either cdarry-on or luggage. He said they get about twenty a day during the main tourist season. I asked him what theydo with them all and he said they hand them out to whoever asks, their friends and boy scouts. He told me they still have a few hundred left over at the end of the season.
So....having time on my hands a few days later I went to the GRand Teton National Park Visitors Center and suggested that they send somebody over to the airport every now and then and pick up the prefectly good, new, canisters so people could be "protected" without having to buy a new cansiter. He looked at me like I was from outer space with such a logical suggestion.
 Too bad that so many perfectly good canisters are going to waste.
 That's it, Just wanted to share.
Rics


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(RumiDude @ Mar. 29 2013, 12:24 pm)
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Very good!  Made me laugh ... in a nervous sort of way.  

So, had it not been leaking, would it have done this back spray.  I am just trying to figure out if this simply is a fluke or a design flaw with the trigger mechanism.  Good info to know when I get to griz territory.

Rumi

I think it had to do with the nozzle closing at low pressure, but I honestly don't know. I probably shot a half dozen short bursts. Each time was fine until the last, when there was very little pressure left in the can.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 5:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Rics @ Mar. 29 2013, 5:14 pm)
QUOTE
A couple of years ago I asked the security guy at the Jackson Airport how many bear spray canisters they "acquire" during the summer since they are not allowed on planes either cdarry-on or luggage. He said they get about twenty a day during the main tourist season. I asked him what theydo with them all and he said they hand them out to whoever asks, their friends and boy scouts. He told me they still have a few hundred left over at the end of the season.
So....having time on my hands a few days later I went to the GRand Teton National Park Visitors Center and suggested that they send somebody over to the airport every now and then and pick up the prefectly good, new, canisters so people could be "protected" without having to buy a new cansiter. He looked at me like I was from outer space with such a logical suggestion.
 Too bad that so many perfectly good canisters are going to waste.
 That's it, Just wanted to share.
Rics

I often wondered if they don't do that because of liability issues.  Imagine someone picks up a can of bear spray from the rangers free of charge and for some reason it doesn't work when you really need it.  Oh the law suits!

On the other hand, the rangers are perfectly willing to accept your unused cans when you leave.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 5:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If/when I fly into Jackson to go to Grand Teton, I'll keep that in mind.  Ask the airport security guys on the way out the door...



ETA:  Y'know, it'd probably work just as well in any of the little airports in Alaska I've flown into.  Makes me feel like kind of a sucker for buying it each time.  Seems an obvious alternative, thinking about it now...


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 5:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Travis,
Your account sounds almost exactly like what happened to me in boot camp many years ago when I went through the gas chamber.  Well, except you didn't mention anything about trailing snot down to your knees and an inability to breath no matter how hard you tried.  Oh the joys of CS gas!


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 6:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Many years ago (Long before the invention of the Taser) a fellow officer and I had to use pepper spray on an assaultive male during an arrest.  We still had to wrestle around with him, but it worked and we hauled him off to jail.  

While there, the other officer had to use the restroom and as soon as he came out, he had a shocked look on his face and started making weird little painful sounds.  Apparently he had some of the spray residue left on his hands and it transferred onto Mr. Happy while he was peeing.  He rushed back into the restroom and I heard a LOT of sink water, splashing sounds for a very long time!  Everyone, including other prisoners in the initial processing area were nearly rolling on the floor!


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 6:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yikes! Glad it turned out OK.

I've never directly sprayed myself (luckily), but did have a can leak a little in the basement one time.  Awful stuff. Even the next morning I couldn't walk into the room without tasting it.

On the airport thing, yes, most of the small airports here have tons of it around, GoBlu. They used to let us fly with it here, handchecked, up til about 3 years ago. Now it's not at all; total pita. I usually bring 3-5 cans for a group of hikers, and at $50 a pop, it gets pricey.

Now I have stashes of bear spray all over the state, but (a) they don't last well over the winter if the storage place isn't heated and (b) they do expire as well.

I believe Denali NP now has a system where you can rent or borrow a can of bear spray from the NPS for your hike there, but I'm not sure. I know they didn't have that for along time due insurance purposes.

cheers

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(Walkinman @ Mar. 29 2013, 4:20 pm)
QUOTE
Now I have stashes of bear spray all over the state, but (a) they don't last well over the winter if the storage place isn't heated and (b) they do expire as well.

Yeah, I definitely see that.  But for one trip at a time (and only one trip) I could probably find a can they'd confiscated within the past week or two.  I could just give it back before boarding my flight home.  :;):  (Although usually I just give it to a hostel owner, outfitter or someone else with lots of in-house visitors that could easily make use of it.)

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(desert dweller @ Mar. 29 2013, 11:51 am)
QUOTE
Wow. Thanks for taking one for all of us. And, for writing up an honest report.

A couple of questions.
1. What color was the spray? I've heard it's either red or orange.
2. Did the burst that got you come from the nozzle mechanism or, maybe, from the drop tube? Maybe from a seam on the top?
3. How do you think the spray squirted backwards towards your face?
4. Did you have a hat on?
5. Can you still taste it on your mustache?
6. How fast was the wind blowing?
7. Was it cold out?
8. Was it hot out?
9. Did you already have a new can on hand?
10. Is it the same brand as the one you discharged?
11. In addition to goggles, will you be wearing gloves next time? If so, will they be leather or latex?

Okay, that's more than a couple of questions. And none of them are important enough to give a serious answer to. I just wanted to pretend to be a smartass.

12.  What happened when you went pee?
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(TravisNWood @ Mar. 29 2013, 1:04 pm)
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...But I had to squeeze eyes shut repeatedly for over an hour. ...

I've heard one of the side affects of bear spray is an urge to hibernate. :D

While I hope that never happens to you or anyone else, my son (who has been pepper sprayed several times in the line of duty, works for the Bureau of Prisons) says to not use any water until you have blotted all you can with paper towels first. Water just spreads it out more and rinses off very little.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2013, 8:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Believe or not... wash your eyes out with milk. My roommate's son and GF got bear sprayed at a party and came charging in the house while my brother was visiting. He suggested milk and it relieved the burning.

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