A family in Lester Beach made a terrifying discovery early Monday morning when they noticed a black bear roaming their cabin.
Kat Devuono said she jumped out of bed at the sound of breaking glass around 4 a.m. at the cabin in the resort community of Lake Winnipeg, which is about 56 miles northeast of Winnipeg.
Devuono said she, her mother, her sister and their seven children, ages 5 to 17, had been sleeping in a newer section of the cabin, with the only thing separating them from the bear being a screen door secured with a small latch.
They went to work blocking that door, then moved the children into a bedroom that they also blocked, he said.
Devuono said his family watched as the bear headed from room to room, helping himself to bags of Doritos, granola bars and Danish pastries.
His daughter Jubilee said the whole ordeal was “really weird.” And when she and her family finally came out of the bedroom, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“My favorite cake, chocolate cake, we found it on the floor. All eaten,” said the eight-year-old.
“And it was like, ‘Oh my God, how did this happen?'”
Devuono said her sister called 911 immediately after they noticed the intruder. But it was a long time before someone showed up to help them.
First, she was redirected to the RCMP, then to the province’s conservation department. There, Devuono said someone told her sister that no one was on call to answer until morning, so his best bet was to try calling 911 again.
“You never imagine that you’re going to be in that situation with a bear right there and all your kids and your family, you know, just a little barrier between you,” he said.
“But we got to know the real terror when we found out someone was just going to say, ‘You know, no, there’s no one right now. Just tell us how your morning went.’ That was absolutely terrifying.”
When they called 911 again, they were connected to the RCMP, which hit the road from the outpost in Selkirk, some 35 miles away.
“It took them about an hour to get here and they even contacted us on the way to say they didn’t know what they were going to do when they got here,” Devuono said.
“They didn’t feel prepared to take care of a bear, and it seemed like our options were pretty limited as to what was going to happen.”
By this time, the bear had already been inside for about an hour. Devuono said that while his family waited for the police to arrive from so far away, they knew the situation could get worse at any moment, especially with their keys stuck in the same room as the bear, trapping them.
Fortunately, he said, the bear left the cabin about five minutes before police arrived.
Responders set a bear trap
RCMP spokesman Cpl. Julie Courchaine said the Mounties got a call about the bear at the cabin on Ridge Road around 4:30 a.m.
When informed that no one from conservation would be coming, the RCMP called the family to update them and began heading to the cabin, where they arrived around 5:30 a.m., Courchaine said in an email.
Officers searched the property but did not find the bear, Courchaine said.
A provincial spokesman said that while their Turn In Poachers line, a number also shared for wildfires or reporting aggressive, sick or injured wildlife, is monitored, conservation officers are not on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Manitoba.
Call center workers relay messages to the appropriate personnel, but no one would be on duty this late at night, making calling 911 the best course of action for such an urgent situation, the spokesman said in an email. .
Conservation officers were at the cabin at 8 a.m. Monday to set a bear trap in the area and provide information on how to reduce attractants by removing bird feeders, cleaning barbecues after use and firmly securing any food sources. said the spokesman.
Devuono said she was impressed with the job conservation officers did once they arrived hours later, but the incident left her family in shock.
With the bear still out there, and from what conservation officials have told him now view his hut as a food source, Devuono hopes that when he is likely to return to the area, he will find his way to the trap instead of his cabin.
“It’s a completely surreal feeling. It still feels like a bad, crazy dream,” he said.
“I wouldn’t expect a bear in the house. I wouldn’t expect a no answer. And now, having a giant bear trap while we wait for the bear to come back and tell us the bear will come back, yes. No words.”