Does Bear Spray Work Like Bug Spray?

Mark Wilcox
2 min readMay 31, 2022
A bear cub standing up on hind legs in a field of white flowers

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife posted a tweet saying that “Bear spray doesn’t work like bug spray. We would like not to say this again.”

I grew up in Waco, Texas and went to college in Enid, Oklahoma.

Enid is in the northwest part of the state. It is very flat and the tallest structure is the world’s largest grain elevator.

Enid is also home to the Air Force base where they teach pilots how to fly airplanes and they were always invited to the college parties.

So I spent my entire life thinking that Oklahoma was flat plains and the last place that you would find a bear.

But there are actual mountains in Oklahoma. In eastern Oklahoma, you will find the Ouachita Mountains which is the only east-west mountain range in the US.

It’s also home to the fastest growing population of bears in the US.

While there are bears there and I have spent a lot of time hiking around Beaver’s Bend state park, I haven’t seen a bear yet.

It is also the complete opposite of the Oklahoma I grew up living in. There are hills, mountains, and plenty of trees.

This means that if you do find yourself hiking in remote parts of the park, or in the Ouachita national forest that you need to take bear precautions.

The bears are black bears so not quite as fearsome as grizzly bears but will still get your attention if you were to encounter one face to face.

I’m still more scared of people with dogs though. Dogs don’t have a fear of humans while bears do. If given the chance to run away, a bear will run away from you.

There’s also a large deer population and about 600 people a year are killed by hitting a deer with their car.

But if you are planning a camping trip in bear territory you should learn how to prepare properly.

That’s why I created my course.

I’m Mark Wilcox and I once backpacked 100 miles in 90 days. After 25 years in IT, I wanted more adventure in my life. I want to inspire you to add more adventure too.

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Mark Wilcox

I once backpacked 100 miles in 90 days. After 25 years in IT, I wanted more adventure in my life. I want to inspire you to add more adventure too.