Update: Photos released of woman’s injuries after bear attack near Nisswa

Minneapolis woman attacked by bear in Cass County, MN.
Minneapolis woman attacked by bear in Cass County, MN.(kvly)
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 5:42 PM CDT|Updated: May. 30, 2023 at 11:02 AM CDT
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NISSWA, Minn. (Valley News Live) - We’re getting a closer look at some of the injuries a Minneapolis woman suffered after a bear attack near Nisswa just before the Memorial Day weekend.

It happened just after midnight on May 26 at a cabin near Gull Lake. Authorities say a woman was letting her dog outside when she heard the dog having a confrontation with something. When the woman went to check on her pet, authorities say the bear attacked. The black bear swiped at her multiple times before knocking her to the ground. Family members heard the attack, came outside and were able to scare the bear off, authorities say.

The victim was taken to a Brainerd hospital to be treated for injuries to her shoulder, chest, and back. While the woman sustained serious injuries, they were not life-threatening.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there had been no reported complaints of bear activity in the area this spring prior to this incident. Experts believe the bear was likely startled by the sudden appearance of the dog in the middle of the night, leading it to swipe at the woman as a defensive measure. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance to the DNR in handling the incident, while DNR conservation officers are currently monitoring the area for any bears that may pose a threat to public safety.

The DNR recommends people follow these tips if they encounter a bear.

  • 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.
  • Try not to appear 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.
  • A 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.

More safety tips for bear encounters can be found on the Department of Natural Resources website.