Do Whistles Scare Bears? [Are Whistles The Best Repelling Option?]

There is little you can do when you come face to face with a bear. The truth is that many people panic and do not know what to do. You can try to play dead, but that will not always work. Often, you will need something more effective to scare off a black or grizzly bear.

Take, for example, the bear spray. One can of bear spray contains enough to keep any type of bear away from you. Since the can is quite big, you will be able to use the spray over and over for a while. But while this is the most popular bear repellent, there is another one you can turn to – the bear-repelling whistle.

Whatever repellent you go with, you will not make a mistake. But make sure that you have one on your next trip to the great outdoors. That way, you can keep all the bears away from the trail.

Let’s see what the best bear repellent is and if the whistles are the best repelling option for you.


grizzly bears

Why are Bears not Afraid of Whistles?

Many people want to use whistles as repelling methods on a hiking trail. If you happen to encounter a bear on the trail, you will need to use something to get the bear away from you. While you can always use the bear spray, the whistle is sometimes more convenient.

The whistle is so small that it will not take any space in your backpack. You can even keep it in a pocket and have it within reach in case you need it. But while the size is convenient, the whistle is not the most effective at repelling the bears.

This is because bears are not that frightened by loud noises. Even if you have a 120-decibel sound coming from your whistle, chances are it will not deter bears completely. But remember that bear-human contact can be dangerous, especially if the bear is not in a friendly mood. So, you will need to take other measures.

While the whistle is not that effective at repelling bears, it can prove helpful in getting you some help in case you have a wild animal close to you. The loud noise will reach the ears of people close by, and they will know you are in danger. So, they will know they need to either get someone to help you or try to help you in any way.

Carrying a whistle can prove helpful in some cases. Since the whistle does not take up any space and is easy to carry around, it will not cause problems taking it with you whenever you go on a trip. Most whistles of this kind are not that expensive, so you should consider getting one whenever possible.

Why do You Need to Carry Bear Spray Along with a Whistle?

Since the whistle is not that effective at keeping bears away from your trail, you should always carry a bear spray. This will always be the case when you are hiking in an area where you expect to come across some bears.

If you do not know if there are bears in the area or not, you can phone the closest lodges or national parks and ask them about this. But a general recommendation is to have the bear spray too.

The bear spray comes in a can that is easy to fit anywhere. Its range is up to 30 feet, so you can use it before the bear reaches you. If you use a few sprays of the can in the direction of the bear, you are bound to drive it away.

The thing with the bear spray, as opposed to the whistle, is the effect it has. The spray can affect the eyes and respiratory system of the bear in a matter of seconds.

The effects of the spray will be strong. Still, it will not be strong enough to hurt the bear or cause long-term harm.

This spray can be more harmful to people. If there is wind or even a breeze, you must be careful how you spray it. The spray can make its way to your eyes or lungs and cause a big problem. You might even need some medical attention if you see that things are not getting better with time.

Whenever you use the bear spray, make sure you are careful with it. You do not want to cause intentional harm to yourself, the people, or the animals around you. Keep that in mind whenever you go on a trip, and remember to take your whistle as well!

How to Scare a Bear Away?

There are several ways to scare a bear away. The obvious is to use a repelling device like a whistle or the bear spray. But you can always scare the bear away in other ways if you do not have the whistle or the spray.

Scaring grizzly bears

Not all scaring methods will work on all bear species. It is easier to try and scare away a grizzly bear because there is no actual scaring that you need to do.

The best thing is to avoid air contact and try to move away from the bear. You can always play dead if you see that the bear is aggressive and coming closer to you.

Do not get scared if grizzly bears come next to you. The human smell is not appealing to them, so they are bound to inspect you for a few seconds and then move on. It will be much harder to scare away a regular black bear should you come in contact with one.

Scaring black bears

With the black bear, you need to start the scaring early. Try making as much noise as possible to get the bear to move away. If it keeps coming in your direction, get a stick and try to scare it off that way.

Get rid of all your food and make sure you do not make any unnecessary steps, hoping to get the bear as far away from you as possible. If you have a can of pepper spray, try to use it. It might not be that effective, but it will buy you some time.

It is always a risk to walk in an area that you are certain will have bears around. It is their natural habitat, so you need to be mindful about not causing them any trouble during your trip. So, be careful and respectful, and you will have no problems during the trip.


Bear-repelling whistles are a smart investment, especially if you like to hike in areas where you might come across bears. You should consider taking a bear spray too.

The bear spray can prove more effective if you have a bear in close approximation to you. The best thing to do is take the whistle and the spray and use them as needed.

Have you ever used a whistle or a bear spray on a trip? What did you find to be more effective, or what do you think would be more effective? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to know what your thoughts are on the topic!

Andrew Mullen

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