Minnesota bear attack: Grandmother recounts frightening encounter

Bear attacks are rare in Minnesota. The DNR reports only 10 such encounters leading to serious injuries in the state since 1987. One of those attacks occurred over the recent long Memorial Day weekend in cabin country. The victim shared her terrifying encounter with FOX 9’s Paul Blume.

"I screamed twice, and then I said, it's a bear, a bear, like it's a bear. I can't believe it's a bear," the 65-year-old woman recalled during an interview in her Minneapolis home.

The woman is still in a lot of pain from getting clawed by what the family described as a medium-sized, cinnamon color black bear. She asked FOX 9 not to fully identify her publicly, as she does not want added attention because of what happened.

"I was in shock. I was in shock. I was in shock," she repeatedly told Blume from her couch, explaining she was hyperventilating in the moment.

She considers herself very lucky, explaining she has no ill will towards the bear and its aggressive response, figuring her dog, Zeus startled the animal on its turf, in the middle of the night.

"My shirt had blood on it, but nothing gushing," she said. "I did not get bitten. It was just a what? A scratch."

The attack occurred just after midnight on Friday, May 26 near Nisswa on Gull Lake where the family has had a cherished cabin for decades.

The woman said, her young puppy Zeus was restless overnight so she let him outside for a moment. That is when she heard some hissing and went to investigate.

"I thought it was like a raccoon. And so, I ran towards it," she stated. "But there was no Zeus and there was no raccoon. There was a bear coming at me!"

She is not sure if the bear pounced on top of her, but it certainly clawed at her. She suffered deep gashes to her upper body including chest, shoulders and back. She showed off the now torn, zip-up hoodie she had on at the time. She promised to stitch up the holes with bear paw patches, an example of how she is taking her up-close encounter in stride.

"It wasn't a huge bear, but it was older than a cub for sure. It was bigger size," recalled the woman’s teen grandson.

All the commotion had the 14-year-old rushing to her side, as she ended up, curled-up in a ball on the ground as the bear took off.

"It was very surprising," said the 8th grader. "I feel like I was pretty calm, actually, during the whole thing. But like thinking back, it's like still kind of unreal, you know, like attacked by a bear. Like, that doesn't really happen, you know?"

The victim’s family immediately rushed her to the Emergency Room where she was given antibiotics for the cuts and scratches she suffered, fortunately she was not bitten. So, doctors did not believe she needed any rabies treatment. She told FOX 9, she will be off work for at least three weeks because of her painful condition.

She told Blume, she has no intention whatsoever of cancelling an upcoming summer camping trip with her girlfriends to the south shore of Lake Superior, but made clear, she is not bringing Zeus.

And as for that bear that gave her the scare of her life, the woman insists she understand its aggressive response under the circumstances.

"I shocked him. We were both scared. I surprised him. I'm not. No, I didn't think I was going to die. I thought, oh, sh-t, I interrupted a bear," she concluded.