This Alberta bear came in the bedroom window. The family's dilemma was how to get it out

Black bears in northern Alberta are common, but one recent encounter took an unexpected turn.

An uncommonly close encounter at an acreage near Fort McMurray, Alta.

Sean Reddy had a black bear climb through a bedroom window on Oct. 4, around 8 p.m., at his home outside Fort McMurray, Alta., (Submitted by Sean Reddy)

It's common in northern Alberta to see black bears on the roam. It's decidedly less common to see one in your home.

At least that's been the hope of the Reddy family, which had an unexpectedly close encounter recently at their acreage near Fort McMurray, Alta.

At first, the bear had gotten into the open garage while Sean Reddy was at home with two of his four children, he told CBC Edmonton's Radio Active.

Reddy went outside with one son to watch the bear saunter off around the house and — presumably — back into the woods.

"Then [my younger son], he came out the front door and kind of was like, 'What are you guys doing? There's all sorts of scratching in the house,'" Reddy said.

"I was like, 'OK, what do you mean?' My oldest boy ran into the house and he came out and he's like, 'The bear's in the hallway!' OK. That changes things." 

The black bear popped off a window screen to gain access into the home. (Submitted by Sean Reddy)

Turns out, a bear had tossed aside a screen covering a window and crawled into a bedroom, Reddy said.

The black bear took a tour of the home, wandering into another bedroom. Armed with bear spray and joined by a neighbour, the family managed to close the door to the room, hoping the barricaded animal would climb back out a window. 

However, the window in that bedroom was shut. 

"We decided to try and barricade off the hallway, open the door and let the bear hopefully wander back out the way he came in," said Reddy. 

"I could hear him snorting in there and my son had half a bowl of cereal probably left on his computer desk and we heard the bowl smash and hit the ground. I was thinking, 'What's he doing? Destroying the room?'"

The family managed to direct the bear back to the correct bedroom by piling furniture in the hallway. 

During the adventure, Reddy said he did not feel threatened by the bear, which he figures weighed about 600 pounds. 

"It seemed pretty docile. This time of year, they [bears] are pretty comatose. They are fat, lazy, and tired." 

After leaving the house, the animal did not immediately leave the neighbourhood. Reddy said it visited other properties, including venturing into the open garage of his mother's property just down the road.

Bear hotspot 

Alberta Fish and Wildlife later set a trap for the bear on Reddy's property in case it returned. The agency said it will assess the situation to determine next steps once the bear is captured. It's possible the bear could be killed or relocated to address safety concerns. 

The Fort McMurray area is a hotspot for bears, according to Alberta Fish and Wildlife. 

Ina Lucila, spokesperson for Alberta Fish and Wildlife, said while a bear entering a house is not unheard of, it's certainly rare. 

Alberta Fish and Wildlife have set a bear trap outside Sean Reddy's home. (Submitted by Sean Reddy)

Bears may wander into human-populated areas this time of year to eat as much as possible to pack on the calories to survive winter, she said. 

"It is of utmost importance that residents continue to properly secure any possible attractants."

Once a bear becomes habituated, it can become a public safety risk, she said. 

Regardless of whether the bear decides to revisit the acreage or not, Reddy said his family will make sure to keep their windows closed.  

"I never worried about it before, but now this has happened," he said. 


Liam Harrap


Liam Harrap is a journalist at CBC Edmonton. He likes to find excuses to leave the big city and chase rural stories. Send story tips to him at liam.harrap@cbc.ca.

With files from Rod Kurtz