Q: Hey Dave:
I’m going to Yosemite this weekend where the bears often break into cars and damage them. On my last camping trip a raccoon or something got in and tore everything up to get into some food, so I want to prepare against something worse. I’ve read all the warnings about storage and plan to remove everything from my car, but I’m worried about residual odors or something in my car looking attractive to the bears. I’m wondering if I put some tabasco sauce (or something with capsaicin as an ingredient) in a spray bottle and spray it around my windows and trunk if that will act as a deterent. Should I go to a Mexican grocery store, buy the hottest chiles, chop them up and make my own spray with the chiles and water or something? I prefer natural solutions. I only have two days here, too, as I’m leaving this Friday. Thank you,
A: Hello Cindy:
Normal chile peppers or hot sauce just won’t work. You’ll have to find some 500,000 Scoville Unit pepper spray, usually carried by sporting goods stores. Spraying the car won’t work, as evidenced by the guy who sprayed his tires and bears ate them. The spray would have to be used directly in the bear’s face, a scary thought.