As bears wake up from hibernation, they’re hungry — and thirsty.
On April 13, Sharon Rosel was alerted by her hunting dog to a noise outside. It was almost 3 a.m., and a black bear was outside her Earls Cove home.
Then it was inside her vehicle. The bear broke through one of the Suzuki’s windows with a noise that sounded “like a gunshot,” Rosel told Coast Reporter. It was after the six cases of pop she’d purchased for Sharon's Grill-It!, her food truck.
Rosel has lived in bear country for a long time and practices bear aware techniques. She makes sure not to leave food inside her vehicle, especially after a bear once broke in for a goldfish cracker stuck in the folds of her grandchild’s car seat. But she thought the pop could be OK for one night before she brought it down to her business.
“He was in pretty good shape, but he was hungry and that was my mistake. I never thought it could smell pop through a can,” Rosel said.
The bear drank 69 of the 72 cans of pop, leaving behind three diet pops. Rosel said it seemed to prefer the Orange Crush flavour, which the bear dripped all over the white leather seats. The drinks saturated the vehicle — under the gear shift, throughout the carpets — leaving a sticky residue. The receipt for the pop is unusable, Rosel said, because it too was drenched.
Rosel tried to deter the bear from the safety of her home, and could hear it slurping.
The bear also damaged the soft top and pulled off the window cranks. Rosel said the vehicle is fully insured, and her husband took it to Powell River for repairs.
But the bear came back the next night.
“I don’t want to do anything that compromises the bears. I know they’ll move on if they don’t find a food source,” Rosel said. Her dog scared it off during the bear's second visit.
The black bear’s antics were caught on security camera, photos from which Rosel shared to Facebook so others could learn from her mistake.
“Do not underestimate their sense of smell,” Rosel advises others. “We have to be bear aware. We have to live with them, and bears have memories.”