SUDBURY -- A northern Ontario family got a surprise recently when a bear cub found its way through the front door and into their home in the middle of the night.

Joni Dufresne and her boyfriend, Phillip, live with their six children in Kenabeek, Ont., an unorganized township about 25 minutes west of Temiskaming Shores.

Earlier this month, the family was woken up at 2:30 a.m. by some noises in the kitchen.

"I mean with five teenagers in the house, it's pretty noisy in our kitchen in the morning, but then when I grab my phone and I looked at the time…I was like 'I don't think one of the kids are up or if they are they're in big trouble,'" said Dufresne.

Phillip went to the kitchen to tell the early riser to go back to bed, but it wasn't one of their kids.

"Surprise! It was a bear cub and he was just eating away in our garbage," Dufresne said.

Phillip returned to their bedroom and told Joni the startling news.

A mother bear and two cubs had been seen around their property since Sept. 21 after getting into their garbage, so Phillip and Joni were scared the whole family of bears was inside the house. Prior to this night, Joni took a video of one of the curious cubs sniffing around on their deck after she had done some baking.

Mama bear and her two cubs in northern backyard

Fight or flight

The couple climbed out the bedroom window onto their deck to open the patio door so the bear would have an easy way out. At that time, Phillip spotted the mama bear and one of her cubs outside, so he knew there was just one cub inside.

They figure the cub must have gotten in through the front door, as it isn't always closed or latched properly. Luckily, the doors to the kids' bedrooms were all shut.

Dufresne said the cub made quite the mess going through several rooms in the house and leaving some paw prints on the walls. It even left an unpleasant pile in the middle of her kitchen.

Bear cub left behind a big mess

"I'm pretty sure he'd been in the house at least a good two hours. Because he went downstairs. He went in our laundry room, he emptied the garbage there. He went into the bathroom, got into the garbage there," said Dufresne. "He went in the closet to pull our coats down. And we had water softener salt bags in our entrance. Well, he took one of those outside, tore it all up outside."

The parents told the kids to stay in their rooms while they got the bear out, but had a hard time doing so.

"They set the fire alarm… and the noise didn't even faze it. It kept eating away," said Dufresne.

Being a hunter, Phillip took out his bird gun and fire a warning shot from the deck, which finally got the cub's attention, along with banging a chair on the floor. The cub ran out the patio door and joined its family waiting by the treeline.

"When the whole ordeal was over, it took us about an hour to do, but an hour to get him out of the house," said Dufresne.

After the adrenaline rush, the kids helped their parents clean up the mess and then they all went about their regular routine for the day, but with a really interesting story to tell. 

With files from Jay Baxter, CTV News Sudbury