iN VIDEO: Kootenay family witnesses scene out of National Geographic as bear catches, eats deer in front of them | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Kootenay family witnesses scene out of National Geographic as bear catches, eats deer in front of them

This black bear dragging its fresh kill.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Christine DuBois
October 02, 2021 - 2:43 PM

The young daughter of Windermere resident Christine DuBois was yearning to see a bear this year, and it finally happened but not in the way she expected.

“Her brother saw a bunch this year, she was quite upset,” DuBois said.

Then on Friday, Oct. 1, she experienced a “once in a lifetime viewing."

“We were really excited to finally see the bear in person – I said (to my daughter) ‘I think you got a little bit more than you bargained for,’” DuBois said.

DuBois was walking her son and daughter to elementary school that morning. She was on foot, her daughter was cycling, and her son was on a scooter. When they first spotted the deer and bear, both animals were running along in a residential neighbourhood. 

Black bears are able to kill adult deer and other hoofed wildlife but most commonly are only able to kill deer, elk and moose when the prey are very young, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

“We just thought the deer and bear were running together … then boom he has him on the ground,” she said about the deer. “A house was blocking it so we didn’t see the full takedown, but when we turned the corner, the bear had deer on the ground, was biting it, and the deer was kicking its legs.”

The attack happened less than 100 meters from their home.

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“When we went by, the bear looked up and looked at us, it wasn’t really worried about us, just started eating the deer.”

DuBois took her kids the rest of the way to school, informed the faculty, and contacted the local Conservation Officer.

“When I came back the same way, the deer was no longer moving and the bear was eating it. So I ran home, got my husband, and then we drove up – and we were in the safety of a vehicle then, so we watched (for about 10 minutes).”

She felt lucky she was able to observe such raw, predatorily nature from a safe place. The couple kept their distance and followed the bear as it dragged the carcass around Windermere.

READ MORE: Whistler woman's buffet for bears results in $60,000 fine

They kept an eye out for neighbours in the area, like a mother they saw walking with a baby and a toddler.

“We came between her and bear with our vehicle and said, ‘you might want to turn around and go that way’ … Wouldn’t want to get in between a bear and its meat.”

She saw the bear drag the dead deer up a flight of outdoor stairs and she joked the homeowner might come home and mistake their property for a murder scene due to the blood.

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They followed the bear to a part of Windermere known as Hidden Bay, but decided to turn around after it wandered through backyards and over retaining walls. DuBois said it was travelling in a good direction towards the forest.

Windermere is a sleepy town this time of year, she said, as many of the houses are vacation properties. She’s well aware that bears live in the area, but was surprised to see a deer being attacked in the neighbourhood.

She was happy to see the bear still acting skittish towards humans.

During the evening of that same day, the DuBois family had another bear visit their front yard to snack on their grass. It had a brown coat of fur and was smaller, so they knew it was not the same bear.

“It’s the day of the bears,” she said.

Staying mindful of the bears nearby, DuBois’ children know to make lots of noise in Windermere. Her daughter claps her hands waiting for the bus, “and my boy sings Rick Ashley at the top of his lungs on his walk home from school – 'never gonna give you up,'” she said.

CONTENT ADVISORY


To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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