Grizzly defense: Former Marine's invention could aid escape from bears

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A frightening encounter with a grizzly bear inspired former U.S. Marine and current stuntman Billy Lucas to come up with an invention he believes could save the lives of fellow outdoorsmen.

Those unlucky enough to encounter the ferocious beasts in the wild have long been advised not to turn their backs or try to run, advice that is easier given than followed. Lucas, who had a brush with one of the mighty bruins while fishing in Montana, designed a backpack attachment he calls the "Back Attack Pack," which sprays a torrent of repellent behind its wearer, according to Outdoor Hub

"You may have a can of  bear spray, but if you are attacked and knocked to the ground, you might be unable to use it."

- Billy Lucas, inventor of Back Attack Pack

"One thing I learned in my many years as a stunt man, and even serving as a Marine, is that a human being's instant reaction to any sort of danger, like an explosion, is to turn their body away and expose their backs," he said. "When I researched bear attacks, I was surprised to learn that is what most victim do, as well."

The Back Attack Pack is a bag that attaches to most backpacks and is equipped with a canister of bear deterrent. The wearer can pull on a shoulder strap that exposes a ripcord that triggers the release of a fog of heavy-duty pepper spray.

Lucas added that the average reaction time during a close bear encounter is less than two seconds-- if one can even respond at all--and grimly noted that his product could even be an effective last resort for someone pinned to the ground in a bear attack.

"I often compare it to a backup parachute," he said. "You may have a can of  bear spray, but if you are attacked and knocked to the ground, you might be unable to use it. With this device you can pull the ripcord and and least have a fighting chance." 

Butte, Montana-based UDAP Industries manufactures the product and General Manager Tim Lynch told KTVQ that the backpack should be used as a last line of defense for outdoor enthusiasts who find themselves in a life-threatening situation.

"It allows a person to spray bear spray behind them," said Lynch. "If you were to get attacked from behind, you could actually pull a rip cord, kind of like a reserve on a parachute, (and) it will deploy the spray behind you."

Lucas said this coming spring and summer will be the first full season that the Back Attack Pack will be available and that he hopes it will save lives.

"It was never about making money," he said. "Hopefully it will save someone's life."