A small black bear wandered into the backyard of an Owen Sound couple’s home Monday afternoon, resulting in a 911 call.
Danny and Lorrie Jensen were inside their home at 1322 8th Ave. W. just before 12:30 p.m. when their cat started acting strangely at the back door. Danny went to check on the commotion, and spotted the bear about to snack on peanuts his wife had left out for chipmunks.
“My husband told me it was there, but at first I didn’t believe him,” Lorrie Jensen said in an interview. When she looked through the screen door, the bear was just feet away outside.
Once it saw her, she said the skittish cub darted back into the forested Pottawatomi River valley, which the Jensen’s house backs onto.
She called 911 immediately.
The Owen Sound Police Service responded to the call. Bear management technicians from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry also came to the scene to assist.
Officials from both services kept an eye out for the bear in the Jensen’s backyard. An officer was also stationed on the parallel Alpha Street between 8th Avenue West and 11th Street West.
Danny Jensen said the police spotted the bear one more time before it disappeared into the brush again.
According to a Ministry of Natural Resources official on scene, the bear was likely a yearling – a cub about 12-18 months old. June is mating season for black bears, and mother bears will kick yearlings out to make room for more cubs. Yearlings will then wander alone, searching for food.
A camera system rigged to the Jensen’s home captured clear footage of the incident. It shows the bear, about two feet tall, sauntering onto their patio.
“We never feared for our safety,” said Danny Jensen. “What we were worried about was, maybe, the mother showing up. But we feel safe for now.” He added that this is the first time they have seen a bear near their home, although he says neighbours have had a few sightings in the past.
If you see a bear and believe there is a risk to public safety, call 911.