Previous Post
Next Post

Mary Maley was taking a 150-mile solo kayak trip from Ketchikan, Alaska to Petersburg, Alaska. The bear first appeared near the kayak. Mary stepped out of the forest service cabin door to see what was happening. The bear started to approach her, and she thanked the bear for leaving her kayak alone. The bear kept coming at her. She threatened to pepper-spray it, then pepper-sprayed the bear. It stopped approaching her, but . . .

it went back to the kayak and damaged it (in spite of Mary’s entreaties). You can see the bear shaking its head to rid itself of the effects of the bear spray as it goes back to damaging the kayak.

It is not clear if this should be considered a bear spray failure or a success. The bear stopped coming at her; Mary was not physically harmed. On the other hand, she was in Berg Bay, 22 miles Southeast of Wrangell, AK, about 100 miles into her trip. The spray was not enough to stop the damage to her only form of transportation many miles away from help or civilization. She might have been in serious trouble if not for the sailboat in the background.

It would have been better if she had shot the bear. It’s obviously a problem bear that will either be shot now or cause some serious problems and be shot later.

This may be a wake-up call for Mary [above]. Any woman that’s doing a long distance solo sea kayak trip is no wall flower. Anyway, what’s your advice? Spray? Spray then gun? Gun? Or none.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Shouldve pleaded more. One more “please beeeear” would’ve done the trick. You stopped one short Mary, just one short….

    • If there’s one thing Disney movies have taught me, its that animals are intelligent creatures, full of innocence and understanding. The bear was just lonely, hungry, and wanted a hug. It’s her fault for not speaking Bear when she was pleading with it.

  2. Personally, I’d have shot the bear. I like bear meat.
    I’ll add pepper when it’s on the grill or the plate.

  3. Shows that she is a racist. Expecting that a Black bear in Alaska would speak European colonial languages.

  4. Her reaction was… just so *typical* of that mindset.

    I wonder if she would give a rapist that same performance…

  5. The bear spray worked. The bear backed up and left her alone. She might have been able to save the kayak by advancing on the bear and spraying him until he left the boat alone but that would have been asking for trouble. The only problem with bear spray is that if the bear comes back and you run out of spray, you’re doomed. You should have a gun for backup.

    • Anybody, for any reason, that far from a 911 response (when seconds count the State Police are only hours away) is a damned fool not to be well armed and prepared to defend themselves.

      As for the kayak – duct tape.

      Paul Harvey (remember him?) said it best many years ago. While on an expedition in the Canadian wilderness he asked his guide why he wore a pistol. The reply – “Out here, if trouble occurs, you may find yourself at the mercy of men, or bears, with no mercy.”

    • Exactly. The bear left her alone. Yes, she was a whiny little twerp about her kayak, but hey, she’s young.

      The truth is this: You shoot a bear out of season, and without a tag, you will be filling out a bunch of paperwork. There will be an investigation. If you were thinking of just ambling down the road, you might be detained instead. With bear spray, you get a chance at a “get out of bureaucracy free” card.

      She could have walked up a bit on the bear and doused him again to get him off the kayak, but that’s optional.

  6. She should have been carrying a can of that spray on sealer they advertise on TV.

      • Seriously, I wouldn’t drive across the Sahara Desert without a can of Fix-a-flat (or maybe even an entire spare tire), so why would I kayak the Pacific Ocean without a kayak repair kit?

  7. Any person, man or woman, that goes on a long distance solo trip in the wilds without a gun deserves to be bear shit.

  8. She did good. Spraying the bear again or shooting the bear could have caused rhe bear to attack and shooting a big preditor without backup is never a sure thing. This way everybody goes home. My thought is food smell in the kayak attracted the bears attention

    • Everybody goes home only because there was a sailboat out int he bay. Otherwise she’s got a 22 mile trek through the wilderness to the closest town, and she’s out of bear spray.

    • It’s also possible that it was looking for food, and her reaction made the bear want to dig into the kyak and find the precious cargo that the “mother” was trying to protect. She freaked out more when the bear was near that kyak than near herself. Like any mother animal screaming at a predator that is near her babies. The bear might have been looking for tiny humans in the kyak.

  9. When I used to spend Summers backpacking in Alaska I carried a 375 H&H Magnum rifle. I never met an Alaska resident who didn’t have a high power rifle or a 12 gauge with slugs. None of them carried spray and all thought it would be ineffective in the woods. Changing defensive tools in the middle of an attack is foolish and likely to get you killed.

    • My choice would be a 12 ga with Brenneke slugs. I’ve seen what they do to deer. Most impressive. More impressive than my .338.

      • +1. Years ago I read one of the gun forums where people were asking folks with actual Alaska experience what to carry, and the fact that most native guides carried 12ga pump with slug in bear country stuck with me.

  10. I saw that video yesterday. The consensus was that the bear should have eaten her because she’s so whiny and annoying.

    • I bet your voice would be rather annoying if a bear was destroying your only means of transportation 100 miles from civilization.

      • I’m 100 miles from civilization relying on a kayak to get back? Does not sound like me.

      • My voice would sound very similar to a Mossberg 930 letting out a fusillade of high powered Breneke slugs.

  11. Shoot the bear and 50 cops from 50 different agencies show up and start fining you. Alaska has a cop under every rock. Theres more different variations of cops in AK than in TX for crying out loud.

    • Not quite as bad as AK, but if you whack a bear here in Wyoming, you will have to ‘splain to F&G why you had to shoot it. Expect to spend a half-day in a meeting room answering lots of questions, especially if it was a grizzly.

  12. When I watched this yesterday, I like most couldn’t believe the crap rolling out of her mouth. She clearly believed that a deterrent vs. a comprehensive plan, thought she could communicate with the bear, and that the bear would agree to what she was demanding. Then I realized this is an anti-gunners brain at work. It is clear that she would react the same to a bad guy intent on harming her or others around her. The scary part is on the original video site the first round of comments condemned her as an annoying idiot the second round is now supporting her and calling the condemners “bullies”. It is seriously metaphoric for the gun control debate.

  13. Why are her pants falling off in the picture and why is the video very blurry and seems to do nothing when it plays ?

    • I can’t get the video to play. I got one blurred still of a “black bear” on a kayak. How come that “black” bear has a pronounced hump on his shoulders?

      • I had the same issue with the video at first. If you go to the “Link to Gun Watch” and click on that you can view the video from there. Right along with the annoying audio that goes with it.

  14. Is this girl mentally handicapped ? She actually seems to think that the bear will understand her. And her voice sounds like a wounded animal. I am surprised that the bear did not turn around and attack her after all that screaming and whining. Seems like she should have been heading for a safe place instead of standing out in the open and yelling at the bear. Don’t think I would be distributing that video if it was me making all that irritating noise and acting like an idiot.

    • I think that’s a bullseye. Bears are supposed to be about as smart as dogs (my theory is they are basically giant raccoons) so they are easily smart enough to know how to piss you off if they care to.

  15. Well, as someone who lives in AK and has done multiple expedition length kayak trips here (100+ miles), I would make the following points:
    * your kayak should not be used as your overnight bear-proof food container
    * there are many reasons we prefer field-repairable boats (fiberglass). It requires a field repair kit and skills to use it in AK weather.
    * bears don’t speak English.
    * always have a gun out there, but shooting the bear would have been an absolute LAST resort
    On last point – it’s not clear to me what damage was actually done to the boat. Maybe I’m missing the money shot where the boat breaks in half, but there are often many field repair options. Bet that sailboat had some glass and epoxy on board.
    Anyway, spray could have been put to more use, unless it was her only defense and she was reserving it. Warning gun shot would happen long before shooting the bear itself. But anyway, bears aren’t attracted to glass or rotomolded plastic themselves, my hunch is she had a half-eaten powerbar in her deck bag, or food in the boat. Even so, loud noise and intimidating form (as opposed to whining), or the pepper-spray could have been used to temporarily put space between boat and bear, whereupon she could grab bowline and drag boat to cabin porch (putting cabin at her back), then on porch investigate and try to elminate what was attracting bear, then go inside cabin and bearicade (sorry), if you have to. I know it’s easy to Monday-morning qb, and glad she’s alright, but this could have been handled better.

    • +1. There was food scent in the kayak, if not in the bag the bear pulled out halfway through.

      Or the bear had success in past breaking into kayaks. Bears are highly intelligent and have long-term memory that studies on Yellowstone bears show return to same places with success in past. To the point that there is a mass migration at fall hunting season out of the park to the eastern areas where elk and deer hunters leave gut piles and carcasses.

      Warm late season temps and drought conditions mean bears are going to be feeding voraciously to put on weight, not easily gained earlier in the season.

      Nitwit is lucky she wasnt on the menu.

  16. My answer to the original question of what to do: shoot the kayak, mace your self, and then tell the bear he is committing a hate crime against a female and he will be prosecuted accordingly. This should at least confuse the hell out the bear before he eats you.

  17. Am I the only one that can’t get any movement, or sound out of the video, just the red progress line going across the bottom indicating it’s playing? I knew my mother didn’t raise me right!

  18. Notice the sailboat in the bay. After the bear wondered off, she swam out and got help. Personally, with the nails on blackboard screeching, I’d have left her.

  19. Original link not working for me…(probably as its getting maxed out with hits…)
    Here is a better one:

    Only comment is by the end of the original I was rooting for the bear to leave the kayak alone…
    and instead come eat her just to shut up that special snowflake voice…

  20. Stupid is as stupid does…she got lucky…but is still stupid

    Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…..render unto Grizzlies what is Grizzlie’s!

  21. If the bear is about to strand me miles away from civilization, it is going to get a Brenneke Black Magic slug in the CNS. This is also a good reason to carry a Personal Locator Beacon and a Satellite phone in the back woods.

  22. Situationaly dependent as always, but based on the video.
    Spray in one hand, gun in the other.
    Spray and advance until the bear has left the area or until your out of spray.
    Use the gun only if necessary.
    The bear in this case did not seem at all aggressive, as others have said she probably could have chased him off with more spray. But she should have had a gun loaded, cocked and pointed at his head the entire time.

  23. I grew up in Alaska. We have a name for people like this young lady…..lunch. Any sane individual who goes out into the bush in Alaska is well aware of the potential for bears, since you are in their backyard. You should always have a large caliber firearm expressly for protection from a bear attack.

  24. So, if you are 100 miles from civilization and at risk of being stranded due to the bear wrecking your transportation, would it be okay to shoot the bear? I mean what other options? If I am going to be stranded or shoot the bear, I’ll shoot the bear. I’ll try warning shots first, to try and scare it off as suggested, but if that doesn’t work, that bear is not going to strand me out there.

    Another thing, but that far out, how would anyone ever know that you had shot a bear?

  25. i think its disturbing that so many people on this website do exactly that they fault the anti-gunners for doing: knee jerk reactions. Do you people realize thats the animals home? where exaclty do you expect it to go if everywhere it goes, there are people hiking and shit that will kill it onsite for breaking their…stuff? really? are you really going to argue that your leisure time is more important than a creatures life? does anyone even know what an eco-system is any more?
    YES, i realize its a dangerous powerful animal, BUT YOU ARE IN IT’S DOMAIN. have some fucking respect FUCK. is this the precedent we set for our comfort versus all life? if we go to another planet and a alien bee stings us, do we IMMEDIATELY pull out the bug spray and kill it? i hope having it pointed out like this helps break out of our primal thought patters that no matter what we encounter, that we are the most important thing to ever happen.

  26. Darwinism WHY is she still alive? Does she wine when she crosses the street? It is her fault for leaving food in the Kayak. Why wouldn’t she bring the kayak into the cabin for company would not want it lonely and scared outdoors all night. Large caliber high power rifle. If I had to shoot the bear it becomes an EXTENDED vacation until the meat is gone. Paul Harvey (remember him?) said it best many years ago. While on an expedition in the Canadian wilderness he asked his guide why he wore a pistol. The reply – “Out here, if trouble occurs, you may find yourself at the mercy of men, or bears, with no mercy.”No double standards put DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote. Pass the word.

    • Sez the couch potato that couldn’t kayak 50 yds let alone 150 mi. You do realize that space is rather limited in a kayak, no? Hundreds of people kayak in so called bear country in AK without arms. Technically speaking, when I walk out my door, I’m in bear country; I never have a gun. Moose camp, different story.

  27. I think this piece has some of the stoopidist comments ever especially in regards to her choice to be unarmed.

Comments are closed.