The grizzly contraption is being used in training seminars across Wyoming
SCI’s new remote-control bear-charge simulator tests the ability of people to discharge can of bear spray during attack. Image by Andre Anita
Do you have what it takes to thwart a grizzly attack? Could you deploy a can of bear spray into the bear’s face before it was too late? You might think you could respond quickly, but it’d be easy to fumble and lose your cool in the few seconds it’d take for a large bear to barrel in for the attack.
Safari Club International recently bought a fake grizzly mounted on a remote-control platform through its Campfire Conservation fund to give people an idea of how swiftly they must react if they need to use bear spray in a bear-charge situation.
Maria Davidson, a spokeswoman for SCI, told Cowboy State Daily that there’s a lot to think about in the few seconds between a grizzly starting its charge and slamming into you. If you don’t already know how to quickly draw a can of bear spray and release the trigger, it’s too late to figure it out.
“You really don’t want to have to try figuring all of that out when a bear is in the mix,” Davidson said.
The grizzly contraption zips across the ground to simulate a charging bear and will be used by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in training seminars across the state.
Davidson said the robo bear has already been used at a couple of events so far.
Although the rolling bear can’t really simulate the sheer terror of charging grizzly, it can give people an idea of how quickly they must react if they ever need to use bear spray in real life, Game and Fish large-carnivore specialist Dan Thompson told Cowboy State Daily.
“It is not meant to frighten people, but it is set up to provide a little bit of pressure to allow people to feel the stress associated with accessing bear spray and effectively deploying it,” he said. “What we usually see is fumbling with the safety.”
Pressurized bear spray cans have plastic safety tabs designed to keep the spray from going off accidentally. It’s vital to know how to release the tab and spray the trigger while under stress, Davidson said.
It’s also important to develop the muscle memory to quickly draw a can of bear spray from its holster, because most bear attacks unfold in seconds, she added. Hip holsters and chest holsters are the most popular means of carrying bear spray.
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