Alberta resident Marjorie Whitehead had a very scary morning when her two dogs confronted a trio of grizzly bears that had wandered onto her property just south of Whitecourt, Canada, on August 17.
Whitehead was out watering her plants when she noticed the bears at the same time her dogs started barking. Whitehead said she was too petrified to move at first but eventually came to her senses and went inside the house and then out onto the upstairs patio where she felt safe.
Whitehead then called her husband, Bruce, who was in Edmonton with their son at the time, asking him what to do. Their conversation can be heard in this video, as Bruce says to get the dogs inside and then finally that Marjorie should “get the gun,” which is exactly what she did.
Whitehead said she fired warning shots to scare the bears away, but that they did not appear scared or even fazed by the noise. Luckily for Whitehead, her son had called their neighbor, Sean Gurnsey, who was able to come over with his two children and help. In an Interview with CBC, Gurnsey said when they drove onto Whitehead’s property, the first thing he was able to do was grab the two dogs and place them safely in the car. Then, Gurnsey drove his vehicle at the bears to try and get them to leave the yard.
Gurnsey said that one of the bears was entirely unfazed by his vehicle, so he got out of the car and fired warning shots himself. Similarly to Whitehead’s warning shots, his did little to startle them but they eventually wandered off the property.
This was not the last Whitehead saw of the bears, however. A few hours later the bears returned, likely looking for more food in the root cellar. Since the cellar was locked, the bears started to dig around the the exterior of the shed, attempting to get inside from underneath. They were unsuccessful in entering the root cellar, but Whitehead told Storyful that when the bears returned, “they did more property damage, including damaging siding on our house.”
Whitehead then went back inside to get her gun and fired more warning shots. “I guess because they couldn’t get into the root cellar they actually went away when I fired off those three shots,” Whitehead told CBC Canada when discussing the incident.
Whitehead said she has not experienced anything like this in 29 years of living in the area, and that the situation was very unnerving.
In an email to CBC Edmonton, Ina Lucila, spokesperson with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, said that officers set traps and caught three grizzly bears after being alerted to Whitehead’s situation. They cannot confirm if the bears are the same ones that were on Whitehead’s property and the officers will assess whether or not the bears pose a public safety risk and need to be put down. Credit: Marjorie Whitehead via Storyful