MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Department of Natural Resources said a northern Minnesota woman was injured in a bear attack Monday evening.
According to the DNR, the 72-year-old McGregor woman was bitten and clawed by a 190-pound black bear before the animal and its three yearlings left the woman’s property. The woman’s injuries were serious, but non-life threatening.
The DNR said the incident began when the woman let her dog outside after checking to make sure the bears, which had earlier been seen on the property, weren’t around. But when the golden retriever was on the deck, three yearlings unexpectedly ran from under the deck and the dog gave chase.
When the woman reached the bottom of the deck stairs, the sow bear ran toward the dog, but changed directions and ran toward the woman, who was yelling for the dog to return.
The bear struck the woman’s left arm and side with its claws and knocked her to the ground. The bear retreated, but then attacked a second time and bite the woman’s right arm and leg, leaving puncture wounds. The bear then ran in the direction of the yearlings.
The woman called 911 at around 7 p.m.
The female bear was later discovered 200 yards from the property by a conservation officer. The DNR said the bear was killed when it ran toward the conservation officer.
DNR bear expert Dave Garshelis says these attacks are extremely rare and that the bear was likely frightened and confused.
The DNR said authorities may kill a bear if it is considered a threat to public safety.
The deceased bear is now at the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul for necropsy.
The yearlings, who were not harmed, would have naturally become independent of their mother by early June, so they were left in the area, the DNR said.
This is the fifth documented bear attack on a person — involving injuries — since 1987.
The DNR encourages homeowners to strive to not attract bears to their property, suggesting to remove sources of food outside, feeding pets indoors, storing trash in bear-proof containers and keeping BBQ grills clean.
Maj. Phil Meier of the DNR said black bears are timid, and if you make noise and make yourself look as large as possible, they’ll usually run away. But as wild animals, Meier said they deserve respect.
“Don’t approach them. Leave them be,” he said. “Make sure they know of your presence and enjoy your time outdoors.”