Cornell family removes bear from plastic prison
A Saturday evening boating on the lake, became a lot more adventurous for a Cornell family, after spotting something floating on the water. Soon, the family would find themselves in the middle of a viral video, popping a plastic container off a bear’s head.
Brian Hurt, his wife, Tricia, and son, Brady, were fishing on Marsh-Miller Lake, near Bloomer, June 27. Brian says they were slowly heading back to the boat landing around 8:50 p.m., when he heard his family talking and wondering what was on the lake.
He says he saw a plastic jug sitting on the water with splashing around it, so they decided to investigate.
“As we got closer, I’m thinking it looked like a black lab in the water, with something on its head,” said Brian.
Tricia soon realized it was not a black lab they were heading toward, but a bear, and she started to record the incident.
“Poor thing’s got a tub on its head,” said Tricia, in the video.
Brian passed the wheel to Brady as they approached the bear, which he said was about 30 inches long, to see what they could do to help it. Brady positioned the boat so the bear was along the left side of the vessel.
“As we went by it, I was able to grab on, and I was able to give it probably three or four real good, hard jerks,” said Brian. “And I couldn’t get the container off its head.”
Brian says he could tell the bear was struggling and could hear it huffing inside the container.
“I don’t think it could tell which way to go to shore, because it couldn’t see with that container on,” said Brian, adding he could tell the bear was in a lot of trouble.
The Cornell crew made a second pass by the bear, when Brian was able to get a better grip on the container.
“About the third time I pulled, I was finally able to get it off the bear’s head,” said Brian.
The bear made a straight shot toward shore as soon as its head was freed.
“As soon as it got on shore, we started losing sight of it in the weeds, but we heard it crash and collapse on shore,” said Brian.
From there, they left the bear to recover from its stressful situation.
It was only once the family got on shore and began talking to people, that they learned campers had seen the bear running throughout the area with the container stuck on its head for three to four days. Brian says the DNR was working to think of ways to help the bear, but the bear was on the move, so it was difficult to locate.
“We didn’t know this bear had the jug on its head,” said Brian. “We just stumbled across it.”
One person they talked to suggested putting something on social media, where much of the information about the bear had been shared, so people knew the bear was safe.
The feel-good story has made its rounds, with the Hurt family getting media requests from around the world.
“We saved our little bear,” exclaimed Tricia in the video, as the bear, free of its head ware, made its way to shore. “Swim happy!”