HomeOutdoorsViralWATCH: Photographer Unleashes Bear Spray on Black Bear Getting Too Close for Comfort

WATCH: Photographer Unleashes Bear Spray on Black Bear Getting Too Close for Comfort

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Jens Büttner/picture alliance via Getty Images)

In this viral video posted on YouTube, a wildland firefighter and nature photographer named Curtis Matishwyn was forced to use bear spray on a black bear getting a little too close for comfort.

The entire video is over three minutes long, but the posted clip captures the last minute of the encounter. Matishwyn backs away from the bear in this heart-pounding footage. In the clip below, the bear walks through the grass, following him as it has been the past two minutes. It then runs over and leaps onto a nearby pine tree and starts to climb it, but then stops. The bear continues its menacing walk toward Matishwyn.

The fear is palpable in the photographer’s voice, but he remains calm.

“Hey, bear!” Matishwyn screams as the bear gets closer, trying to scare it off. “Hey!” However, the bear continues its advance. Matishwyn is left with no choice but to unleash a can of bear spray on the animal. Right as the cloud shoots toward the bear, it turns off in the other direction, clearly spooked and stunned by the spray.

“Watch the video to learn what to do when you encounter a bear,” the video’s description reads.

Plenty of people commented on the viral video, discussing what they’d do if they had been in the same situation.

“Think I’d prefer the bear spray in my left hand, the right hand will be too busy cocking the .44,” one user quipped.

“.44 Magnum Bear Spray,” another wrote. “Very effective.”

Bear Spray First Developed at University of Montana

One person said that they’d make sure the bear wasn’t the only one around the area. “Video ends when he backs into the bear’s mate…” they joked.

While SABRE Red, the company who posted the video and makes bear spray, commended Matishwyn for his quick efforts, at least one person in the comments didn’t agree. “Dont back away.. stand your ground,” they said. “He can sense your fear..”

Ultimately, Matishwyn did stand his ground by firing the bear spray. He can thank that can of spray for saving his life.

However, bear spray obviously hasn’t always been a thing. Before the mid-1980s, it was completely unavailable to hunters and outdoorsmen.

Capsaicin bear spray was developed in the mid-1980s under investigator Carrie Hunt, a University of Montana graduate student. Hunt had identified commercial pepper sprays as an effective deterrent for bears in previous research.

Hunt and Bill Pounds developed a spray formula with a range of over 30 feet with a 7-second spray time.

Pounds played an important role in developing the ingredients and the dispersal system. The product produced by the company he founded, Counter Assault, became the first EPA-registered aerosol bear spray available.

As for SABRE, they are “the #1 personal safety brand trusted by law enforcement and consumers worldwide.” According to their website, their mission is to “educate and empower consumers to feel safer in their everyday lives.”