How to Make Homemade Bear Pepper Spray

Written by jeremiah blanchard
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How to Make Homemade Bear Pepper Spray
A bear encounter can be a terrifying event in the backcountry. (bear image by Mat Hayward from

Bears are among the largest mammals in North America, and can have territorial areas spanning over 100 miles. A bear encounter is one of the greatest fears of backpackers and hunters. Though bear attacks are rare -- and though most bears will leave you alone unless spooked -- attacks do occur and fatalities can result. One method for deterring bears is by using pepper spray. A variety of pepper sprays are on the market today, but you can make your own pepper spray at home with natural materials.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 15 to 20 peppers
  • Muddling stick
  • Pot
  • Water
  • Spray bottle or water pistol

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  1. 1

    Cut 15 to 20 hot peppers into slices and place them in a pot. Cayenne or habanero peppers are the best choices for bear spray.

  2. 2

    Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the peppers. Mash the peppers into the water using a muddling stick or other mashing tool.

  3. 3

    Boil the peppers and water for 30 minutes. Pour the solution through a strainer into a secondary container. Ensure that no pepper chunks or seeds remain; these will clog your spray gun.

  4. 4

    Pour the water into a spray bottle or a water pistol. The bottle you use is critical for safety. A water pistol or a spray bottle with a jet setting will shoot a stream of water up to 50 feet, keeping you at a safer distance from a bear.

Tips and warnings

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after making pepper spray or handling peppers. Do not rub your eyes.
  • Never approach a bear in the wild.
  • Do not run when you see a bear. This will cause the bear to chase you down; bears can run twice as fast as humans.

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