A B.C. family is grateful to be alive after waking up to find a hungry grizzly bear feasting in their kitchen.

Mark Traverse and Sid

Mark Traverse of Kimberley, B.C., shot and killed a grizzly bear in his kitchen after the family dog's non-stop barking woke his wife up early on Sunday morning. (Niki Traverse)

When Niki Traverse's small Jack Russell terrier Sid wouldn't stop barking at 5 a.m. Sunday, she knew something was wrong.  

"My dog was at our bedroom door going crazy. Losing his mind. I've never heard him bark like that," said Traverse, who lives in the small mountain community with her husband and 13-year-old son. Kimberley is in southeastern B.C.'s Kootenay region. 

So she put on her robe and went to see what was going on.

When she stepped in to the kitchen Traverse saw the outline of a large male grizzly bear.

It had pushed in a screen and climbed through a window which the family had left open because of the warm weather.

"It started eating cat food and dog food. Didn't even touch the garbage," she said.

Kitchen confrontation

She ran back to the bedroom to grab her husband Mark, who got his hunting rifle, which he keeps in the bedroom. Their son was asleep in his room, just steps away.

"I went to the kitchen, turned the light on and where the bear was, he came at me and I took a shot," Mark said. 

"By the time I reloaded the gun, he took a step more towards me, and I took another shot and he hit the floor, and he was still moving, so put another one in him, and that was the end of him."

Conservation officers showed up a few hours later and identified the bear as a 15-year-old grizzly that had been in poor health and malnourished.

They say it's rare for a bear to break into a home, and when one does, it's usually a smaller black bear, not a grizzly.

Grizzly bear shot in Kimberly home

Conservation officers said the slain, 15-year-old grizzly had been in poor health. (Niki Traverse)

Niki said she is grateful for her dog and her husband.

"I just freaking lost it … I was so scared," she said. "I don't eat the meat, but thank God I am married to a hunter."

The family said they've learned their lesson, and will never leave a window open at night again.

"Just glad it went down the way it did and nothing else happened," Mark said.


With files from Tina Lovgreen