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The TSA just listed the strangest prohibited items people tried to bring with them through airport security checkpoints last year-- and one was an item I nearly tried to bring back to Minnesota.

While on-duty manning those security checkpoints at airports across the country, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) catches a lot of prohibited things that travelers either tried to stow in their checked luggage or bring with them on the plane. And, the TSA just published a list of the strangest things they confiscated at airports around the country in 2021.

At the top of the TSA list was a chain saw. The TSA also flagged items like a wine holder that looked like a gun, fireworks, a machete, a long-barrelled pistol and a breakfast burrito filled with meth. (Check the complete list below!)

But there IS one item on the TSA's 2021 Strangest Confiscated Objects list that I almost brought with me on a flight from Montana back to Minnesota: Do you know what it is?

A can of bear spray.

It was #5 on the TSA list for 2021, and before you start rolling your eyes, let me explain how I almost tried to bring it with me back to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. My wife and I took a trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks last fall. We flew into Bozeman, Montana and drove down to Jackson, Wyoming to do some sightseeing and hiking.

That area of the country (which is beautiful, btw!) is home to a LOT of wildlife, including bison, wolves, elk, and, of course, bears. Every place we checked said we needed to carry a can of bear spray with us on our hikes, just in case we ran into an ornery bear.

If you're not familiar, bear spray is a pressurized can of very potent aerosol spray made from oleoresin capsicum (OC), which is the active component of chili peppers. You spray it at a bear as a deterrent, should one happen to come after you. We found an 8-ounce can for just over $50 at a store and, luckily, never had to use it.

The can of bear spray I almost tried to bring back to Minnesota! (CSJ/TSM-Rochester)
The can of bear spray I almost tried to bring back to Minnesota! (CSJ/TSM-Rochester)


But seeing as it was kinda spendy (at least compared to, say, a can of bug spray we might use here in Minnesota), we wondered if we should bring it back home, so we 'd have it when we head back out west (which we plan to do in the future.) We ultimately decided against bringing it with us in my luggage, though, and ended up leaving it with the hotel where we stayed.

However, for a while there, I was thinking I'd just toss it in my checked suitcase (like a bottle of wine you buy while on vacation)... which would have been a BIG mistake! There WERE signs all over the airport in Bozeman telling us bear spray wasn't allowed on any flights-- but we only saw them after we'd checked our luggage for the flight back.

Here's the complete TSA List of Strangest Items Confiscated at Airports in 2021:

10. Bullets hidden in a deodorant stick 
9. Long-barreled antique-looking pistol
8. Breakfast burrito with meth in it
7. A belt buckle hiding a firearm
6. A cleaver
5. A can of bear spray
4. Machete
3. Fireworks
2. A wine bottle holder that looks like a gun
1. A chain saw

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