If you’re an avid camper, hiker, or wildlife lover like me, I’m sure you may have asked yourself this question before. If a bear wanders into your encampment, what are your options for protection? Will a taser or stun gun work in an emergency in the middle of the woods?
If you’re a law enforcement officer, or one of the thousands of ordinary citizens in the US that own a taser, you may be wondering if this is a suitable weapon against such a deadly, wild creature. But will it work on such a large, strong creature?
Will a taser work on a bear? No. Although tasers do show some effect on bears (such as causing pain, stress, and agitation), they do not produce the same effects on bears as they do on humans.
If you are outdoors and encounter wildlife often, a much better option to protect yourself against a wild bear is a wildlife deterrent horn or Bear Be Gone. Both of these products can be found here, in addition to several other bear deterrents available for purchase. You can also create and use objects at home if you’re in a pinch, the specifics of which are detailed below, under “What other options do I have?”
What Is A Taser?
A taser is an electrical device used by both everyday civilians and law enforcement officers that supplies an electric shock to a human’s body, causing the body’s muscles to become rigid and temporarily paralyzed. This weapon can be shot from up to 35 feet away and transmits up to 50,000 volts in a single shock. Ultimately, the victim of the tasing ends up with a shocked nervous system, the function of which is slowly regained in the long minutes after being shot by the barbed weapon.
It’s not a pretty thing to see, and some victims have even died from the effects of tasing, although this is rare and tasers are not specifically designed to be lethal.
Although a taser looks like a gun (and is also referred to as a “stun gun”), it is not considered a legitimate firearm and is thus not regulated the same way firearms are. Tasers can be purchased by any civilian and are a good protection tool if you are comfortable handling one.
In fact, stun guns such as the Night Watchman can even be purchased online, in a variety of types and colors. Because they can be potentially lethal (although these situations are typically rare), it is vital that owners of tasers exercise extreme caution when handling such a weapon.
What Does A Taser Do To Bears?
From my research, tasers and stun guns won’t actually do much to a wild, angry bear. First of all, a taser uses barbs to penetrate the skin and deliver a series of electric shock, right? Well, a bear has skin much tougher than that of an average human, making it much less likely that the barbs will even penetrate into the bear to deliver the shocks.
In addition, bears are covered with thick, coarse hair that would only further serve to protect them against the electrical barbs of a taser or stun gun. However, let’s say that you got very, very lucky and were somehow able to penetrate the bear’s tough skin with the barbs of your taser. Even if you managed to do this, the bear would not become paralyzed like a human would — their muscles are much denser and overall stronger than a humans, making the effects of the taser much less powerful on the bear.
Tasing the bear would only serve to further agitate it, making it more aggressive and more dangerous. In some situations, however, the bear may become frightened from the shock and will run away, although the chances of this outcome are very slim and should not be risked.
Currently, research is being done to produce new tasers that work specifically on large wildlife such as moose, deer, and bears.
These tasers would be used for personal protection only and would not be used in hunting for either food or sport. In the meantime, professionals are working to use normal tasers to teach bears to avoid people, making forests and areas with large wildlife safer for hunters, campers, and hikers.
What Other Options Do I Have?
Well, if a taser doesn’t work, what does? Many campers and hikers have asked themselves this very same question, and legitimate research gives us a few options to protect ourselves.
Many wildlife and nature websites suggest various items including Bear Be Gone, Critter Gitter, dog alarms, and even household objects such as a Super Soaker or large beach ball. Some websites even suggest that creating homemade noisemakers can scare and deter bears. These noisemakers can easily be made by putting stones in cans and taping them shut, or by shaking utensils inside large pots and pans.
If you can’t make a noisemaker, you can attempt to throw objects at the bear, but this should only be done as an absolute last resort. In addition, be sure to aim for the rear of the bear, and not the face, as this will only serve to agitate the bear, rather than scare it.
So, will a taser work on a bear? Using a taser against a bear probably isn’t the greatest of ideas. In a best-case scenario, the bear would become shocked
In the worst-case scenario, the bear will only become agitated at your attack, and will promptly maul you to death in an even more horrific fashion than it would have before being shocked by your taser or stun gun. In my opinion, it’s not worth the risk. Overall, the best and safest choices when encountering a wild bear in the wilderness are either professional bear deterrents, or by using homemade tactics to attempt escape from the animal such as those discussed above.
If you ever encounter a wild bear, exercise caution, and choose safety over risk every time.