Mistissini community members received a scare June 6 when they woke up to find a bear prancing around town like he owned the place.

Police Chief Calvin Blacksmith says the bear was probably trying to escape the smoke from the recent spate of forest fires.

The bear was seen swimming across the bay and into town in the morning.

“Once it got here, Chris Quinn called us to advise that there was a bear in town,” said Blacksmith. “When the police got there they called the fire department for assistance.”

Blacksmith said up to 500 people gathered and cheered for the bear to run away, but instead he went deeper into the community.

“The police officers on the scene were waiting for the game wardens to catch the bear. But the Elders told them that after awhile the bear can become dangerous, so they called me for the authorization to shoot it and I said yes,” said Blacksmith. He estimated the bear to be two years old and weighed 150 pounds.

“They used a dog and a couple of guys to chase it out of the bush and Mathew Gunner of the Public Safety Department shot it.”

There is a happy ending, however. Some of the meat was donated to the elders for a feast four days later and more was given to Uriah Neeposh, a volunteer firefighter who was getting married the following Saturday.