A Lester Beach family made a chilling discovery early Monday morning when they realized a black bear was wandering into their cabin.
Kat Devuono said she jumped out of bed to the sound of breaking glass around 4 a.m. at the cottage in the Lake Winnipeg resort community, about 90 kilometers northeast of Winnipeg.
Devuono said she, her mother, her sister and their seven children aged 5 to 17 all slept in a new section of the cabin – and the only thing separating them from the bear was a screen door closed by a little latch.
They got to work barricading that door, then moving the children to a room they also barricaded, she said.
Devuono said his family then watched the bear move from room to room, helping himself to bags of Doritos, granola bars and Danish pastries.
WATCH | A black bear bursts into the hut at Lester Beach:
Her daughter Jubilee said the whole ordeal was “really weird”. And when she and her family finally emerged from the bedroom, she couldn’t believe what she saw.
“My favorite cake, chocolate cake, which we found on the floor. Ate it all,” the eight-year-old said.
“And it was just like, ‘Oh, my God, how did that happen?'”
Devuono said his sister called 911 immediately after noticing the intruder. But it took a long time before someone showed up to help them.
She was first referred to the RCMP and then to the provincial conservation service. There, Devuono said someone told her sister there was no one on duty to answer until morning – so their best bet was to try 911 again.
“You never imagine you’re going to be in this situation with a bear right there and all your kids and family, you know, just with a little barrier between you,” she said.
“But we experienced the real terror when we found out someone was just going to say, ‘You know, no, there’s no one there right now. Let us know how it went tomorrow morning. It was absolutely terrifying.”
When they called 911 again, they were connected to the RCMP, who drove in from Selkirk Detachment, approximately 55 kilometers away.
“It took them about an hour to get here and they even contacted us on the way to let us know they didn’t know what they were going to do when they got there,” Devuono said.
“They didn’t feel ready to deal with a bear, and it looked like our options were pretty limited as to what was going to happen.”
By then the bear had already been inside for about an hour. Devuono said his family were waiting for the police to come from so far away, they knew the situation could get worse at any time – especially with their keys stuck in the same room as the bear, leaving them trapped.
Fortunately, she said, the bear left the cabin about five minutes before the police arrived.
Responders set up a bear trap
RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Julie Courchaine said the gendarmerie received a call about the bear in the Ridge Road cabin around 4.30am.
When they were told no one from conservation would be going, RCMP called the family for an update and started heading for the cabin, where they arrived around 5:30 a.m., Courchaine said in a statement. e-mail.
Officers searched the property but did not find the bear, Courchaine said.
A provincial spokesperson said while his Turn In Poachers line – a number also shared for wildfires or to report aggressive, sick or injured wildlife – is monitored, conservation officers are not on duty 24 hours a day. 24/7 throughout Manitoba.
Call center workers relay messages to appropriate personnel, but there would have been no one on duty so late at night, making 911 the best course of action for such an urgent situation, the official said. spokesperson in an email.
Conservation officers were at the cabin at 8 a.m. Monday to set up a bear trap in the area and provide information on attractant reduction by removing bird feeders, cleaning barbecue grills after use and securing tightly all food sources, the spokesperson said.
Devuono said she was impressed with the work of conservation officers when they arrived hours later – but the incident shook her family.
With the bear still there – and from what conservation officers have told him, now seeing his cabin as a source of food – Devuono hopes that when he is likely brought back to the area, he will find himself in the trap instead of his cottage.
“It’s a completely surreal feeling. It still feels like a crazy bad dream,” she said.
“You wouldn’t expect a bear in the house. You wouldn’t expect a no answer. And now to have a giant bear trap while we wait for the bear to return and be told that the bear will return – yes. No. words.”