A Yellowknife couple woke up to the sound of a gunshot Friday morning and found a black bear lying in their front yard.

Wildlife officers shot the animal on Taylor Road after the bear was reported wandering around the neighbourhood.

Stephanie Vandeputte and her husband moved to Yellowknife from Belgium last year. They were woken at 5 a.m. Friday by the gunshot. 

From her window, Vandeputte saw a bear lying about a metre from her porch. An officer from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) had shot the animal, and then left.

"We weren't quite sure who shot the bear and why they were leaving," she said. "Then when she came back she had to shoot the bear again. They put the body on the back of the truck and left."

Stephanie Vandeputte

Stephanie Vandeputte and her husband woke up to the sound of a gunshot Friday morning and found a black bear lying in their front yard. (CBC)

Neighbours say the bear had been in people's yards, even coming up onto decks. 

"We heard thumping and rustling and 'snurfulling' at around two in the morning," said neighbour Erin Suliak.

"I just thought it was an intruder, or a drunk guy trying to get into our place or into our workshop."

But when Suliak looked out, the bear was looking back at her through the window. She called ENR.

"It was not very welcome, not with a bunch of kids around."

Another neighbour has paw marks on his door.

Still, Vandeputte says ENR should have warned them before firing shots, or officials should have tranquilized the bear instead.

"I hope I never have to experience that again," she said. "I mean it was middle of the night but still people live there. Our propane tank is two metres behind where bear was shot."

ENR says the officer killed the bear because of the public safety risk; a tranquilizer would have taken too long to put the bear out.