Tricia Hurt was fishing on Marsh-Miller Lake with her family when they spotted a bear with a plastic container on its head

By Gabrielle Chung
June 30, 2020 10:28 PM
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A Wisconsin family had the experience of a lifetime after helping free a young black bear who got its head stuck in a plastic barrel.

Tricia Hurt was out fishing at Marsh-Miller Lake with her husband and son on Sunday when they spotted something in the water.

Though the family initially thought it was a dog swimming in the lake, Hurt realized the hairy creature was something much bigger when it moved closer to their boat.

"I said, 'That ain't no dog. I think that's a bear,' " she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We got closer and I said, 'Yeah, that's a bear that got hungry and got its head stuck in a bucket.' "

Noticing that the bear was struggling to breathe and water was seeping into the vessel on its head, Hurt and her family quickly staged an impromptu rescue mission to help free the animal. The incident was captured on video shared by Hurt on her Facebook.

"We got a bear here. Poor thing's got a tub on its head," she says in the clip, as a bear with what looks to be a plastic cheese ball container on its head paddles around in the water. "Oh, he's scared."

After a few failed attempts to get close to the bear, Hurt's husband was able circle their boat around the wild animal before pulling the bucket off of its head.

The bear then swims away as the family cheers.

Hurt added on her Facebook that the bear "made it to shore after all that."

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"We knew that if we didn't do something, we are pretty sure it would not have made it to shore," Hurt told CNN. "'It was really huffing and puffing,' my husband said."

The family later learned at a resort bar that the bear had actually been trapped in the container for three to four days, according to the outlet.

Hurt said people had previously tried to contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources about the bear, but officers weren't able to locate the animal due to the dense woods in the area.

"We were so excited! We did our good deed for the day," she said. "We will never ever do this again, and it felt good to help the poor bear. You don't like to see animals struggle."