By Kate Raddatz

MENAHGA, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota woman attacked by a bear on her own deck says she doesn’t know how she survived.

“I got knocked down, so it was stomping on my head, and I got scratches back on my neck,” 59-year-old Catherine Hanson said.

The bear surprised Hanson on Friday night. Wildlife experts think it was looking for food near her home in the north-central Minnesota town of Menahga.

“I don’t know how I was lucky enough to survive that,” Hanson said.

As the dogs played out front of Hanson’s rural home last week, she stepped out onto the deck to call them back inside. Suddenly, there was a large dark figure standing on its hind legs in front of her.

“I just remember how big it was,” she said.

A black Bear had wandered onto the deck. Hanson says she doesn’t really remember anything after that, but she has the scars to prove it.

“I must have been punching, because I had bruises on my fingers,” she said. “Then it turned around and left, and then came back and got the top of my head.”

Allan Rife, who lives with Catherine, was inside the house when he heard her screaming.

“It scared the bajeebers out of me,” he said. “She was covered in blood.”

Rife says the attack lasted less than a minute before the bear left, along with two bear cubs, captured on their home surveillance video. Hanson was in shock.

“I couldn’t even tell you what happened,” she said. “I couldn’t tell you how much it hurt. It just happened so fast.”

The DNR believes the animal was likely drawn to the house because of bird feeders on the lawn. Hanson says she’s traumatized from the experience and now keeps a shot gun ready at her door.

“Even the dogs are spooked to go off the deck at night unless I step off the deck,” she said.

Hanson needed close to 40 stitches for the wound on her head. None of her dogs was hurt.

The DNR is reminding people to keep bird feeders and any trash away from their homes.

Kate Raddatz

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