What Smells Do Bears Hate? A Guide

what smells do bears hate

Bears are one of the most feared animals in the wild. They are large, strong, and can be very aggressive. But, at the same time, they are attracted to certain smells and they do hate some ones that can be used to deter them if they are comin close. So, what smells do bears hate

Few things that bears are attracted to

  • Food-related smells: Obviously, bears are attracted to food. They can smell food from up to 18 miles away! This is one of the main reasons why you should never leave food out in the open or in your car when you’re camping in bear country. Bears will rummage through your belongings in search of a meal, and they can cause a lot of damage in the process. 
  • Smells associated with humans: Bears are curious creatures, and they’re often drawn to human smells. This includes things like perfumes, lotions, soap, and even urine. If you’re camping in bear country, it’s important to avoid using any scented products, and to properly dispose of any waste. 
  • Smells associated with other animals: Bears are also attracted to the smells of other animals. This includes things like animal urine, feces, and blood. If you’re hiking in bear country, be sure to avoid areas where there might be signs of other wildlife. 

Few things that they hate

  • Citrus fruits: Bears hate the smell of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. You can use this to your advantage by packing some citrus-scented items with you when you camp or hike in bear country.
  • Ammonia: The strong smell of ammonia is also a bear repellent. You can find ammonia at most hardware stores. Just be sure to keep it out of reach of children and pets, as it can be harmful if inhaled. 
  • Pepper spray: Pepper spray is an effective bear deterrent, as bears hate the burning sensation it causes. Bear pepper spray is available for purchase at most outdoor stores. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with how to use it before heading into the wilderness! 

What can be done to repel bears?

  • Another way to deter a bear is by using a commercial bear repellent. These repellents usually contain capsaicin, which is the active ingredient in pepper spray. While this may not be effective in all situations, it is worth trying if you find yourself in close proximity to a bear. 
  • The best way to avoid a bear encounter is to simply make noise. This can be done by singing, clapping your hands, or banging on pots and pans. Bears are typically more afraid of humans than we are of them, and they will usually avoid us if they can hear us coming from a distance. 


There are a number of things that bears are attracted to, but there are also a few things that they absolutely despise. If you’re planning on spending time in bear country, it’s a good idea to pack some items that will help keep them away. Citrus fruits, ammonia, and pepper spray are all effective at deterring bears. Just be sure to use them responsibly!