June 2, 2023 at 1:42 p.m.

Woman injured by black bear near Nisswa



   Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk reports that on May 26th the Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an adult female, age 65, of Minneapolis, MN, that was attacked by a black bear during the previous evening at a cabin in Fairview Township, rural Nisswa, Minnesota, resulting in injury and medical treatment. The investigation indicated that the female had let their dog outside around midnight on May 25th, when she heard the dog having a confrontation with something. She went outside to bring the dog in and encountered a black bear. She was struck by the bear in the chest and arm and knocked to the ground. Family members heard the struggle and were able to scare the bear from the victim and yard. The victim was taken to a Brainerd, MN hospital, receiving treatment for injuries to her shoulder, chest, and back area from the struggle. (see photo shared by permission of the victim)

   The Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offer the following safety information when encountering black bears. 

   • Watch from a safe distance or from inside to assess why it is there (for example, is there a food source like birdseed attracting it?).

   • Wait and see if the bear leaves on its own. If the bear does not leave on its own but approaches (e.g., comes up on the deck or puts its paws on windows or doors), it’s time to try to scare it away: boldly shout, bang pots, slam doors, or throw something.

   • If you have bear spray, remove the safety, and be ready to use it if the bear approaches you.

Sometimes bears exhibit a quick burst of aggression to defend against a perceived threat. The closer you are to the bear when it becomes aware of your presence, the more likely it is to exhibit defensive behavior. This behavior is intended to intimidate and scare away the threat. It may pop its jaws, swat at the ground while blowing or snorting, and it may even bluff charge toward you. The bear is communicating to you that you are too close and it wants you to leave. This is not the time to argue with the bear.

   • Try to appear non-threatening.

   • Speak to the bear in a calm tone and slowly back away. Do not run.

   • If you have bear spray, remove the safety, and point it toward the bear. Starting with a quick spray is OK, as that will not make the bear aggressive.

   • If the bear retreats, leave the area immediately.

   • Bear spray containing capsaicin (hot pepper liquid) is a good option to change the behavior of bold bears. It also gives you peace of mind and can prevent a bear from attacking. It is available at most outdoor stores or online sporting goods retailers.

   More information here: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/livingwith_wildlife/bears/encounters.html#encounters


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