A Winnipeg family's cottage near Kenora, Ont., has been broken into four times in recent weeks, but it's not the work of sticky-fingered thieves — it's bears behind the B&Es.

The first two times the cottage was was broken into, the handles on the fridge were broken off.

No one was there at the time, said Gord Blaine, who is often at the cottage Clear Water Bay cottage in the Lake of the Woods with his wife and daughters.

mi-bear

A bear on the deck of Gord Blaine's cabin near Kenora, Ont., this summer. (Gord Blaine)

But on the third occasion, his wife and daughters were there — cleaning up damage from the first two break-ins.

The bear didn't get in, but Blaine said it went up on its hind legs and hissed when they tried to scare it off with noisemakers.

It was a very intimidating moment because they had to open the door, about three metres away from the bear, to set off the noisemakers, noted Blaine, who also used noisemakers himself to scare the bear the fourth time.

The family has had the cabin for 50 years and has never experienced bear problems before, Blaine said Thursday in an interview on CBC's Information Radio program.

Blaine said he believes the problems have come up because the annual bear hunt was stopped in May 2010.

Also, he said Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources has cut a program in which a group of people would keep bear populations under control by trapping or killing them.