The woman who died after being attacked by a black bear in north Saskatchewan was a wife, mother, teacher and daughter.
Stephanie Blais’ father is struggling to come up with words to describe how he’s feeling.
He called his 44-year-old daughter while she was at the family cabin around 5 p.m. on Aug. 20 with the satellite phone he lent her.
“And the next sentence she said to her son who is nine (years old), ‘Go to the house and get the antenna for the phone so we can get better reception.’ That was the last words that I heard from her. The next noise was what we now know — was the noise of the bear attacking her,” Hubert Esquirol told Global News.
He added that his son-in-law is trained to deal with bears and acted immediately by pepper-spraying it.
After the spray didn’t work he shot the bear once, but it still stood.
He shot it a second time and the bear dropped and eventually died.
Conservation officers and the Saskatchewan Coroner’s Service are investigating the incident.
Buffalo Narrows RCMP said this is the first deadly bear attack since 1983.
Conservation officers told Global News on Aug. 21 this isn’t common behaviour for the animal and the older black bear was between 250 and 350 pounds.
The cabin is on McKie Lake, about 150 km north of Buffalo Narrows, and has been in the family since 1985.
It is in a remote area and the family has to take a small plane to reach the lake.
Esquirol said it was a special place for his daughter, noting she spent her honeymoon at the cabin.
He added while this is extremely tragic, north Saskatchewan is part of him.
“My intention is to go back, continue as if she was with us, because she would not want us to abandon that recreation because of the accident. She would want us to think of her and pursue our dream,” Esqirol said.
He mentioned his daughter lived a very adventurous lifestyle and travelled to every continent other than South America and Antarctica.