Minnesota woman recovering after being attacked by bear while sitting on her deck

SEBEKA, Minn. - A 59-year-old Sebeka woman is recovering after being attacked by a bear on the deck of her home northeast of Sebeka in Wadena County.

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An American Black Bear. (COURTESY PHOTO)
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SEBEKA, Minn. – A 59-year-old Sebeka woman is recovering after being attacked by a bear on the deck of her home northeast of Sebeka in Wadena County.

The bear was likely after bird feeders near the home.

The Wadena County Sheriff’s Office received a report of the attack at 10:16 p.m. on Friday night. Catherine Hanson was knocked down in the attack, the sheriff’s office reported, and received numerous injuries but was able to call 911 after the bear stopped the attack.

Hanson was transported to an area hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

“Bird feeders are generally what attract bears,” said Lt. Larry Francis, with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division. “Take out your bird feeders, especially in the spring.”


DNR officials who responded to the scene determined the bear was likely a sow with cubs, which is likely the cause of the attack.

“In this circumstance, the feeders attracted the bear and it was probably looking for more food,” Francis said. “There were also some dogs involved.”

While bear attacks are “extremely atypical,” they are very protective when it comes to their cubs, he added.

Once a bear enters a yard and finds food, the bear will return, Francis said.

A bear trap from the Park Rapids Area Wildlife Office was brought in and set up but attempts to locate the bear were unsuccessful as of Tuesday morning.

Anyone living near bear habitat is reminded to be aware of bears and check their property for food sources that could attract bears.

"With a warm spring so far, we're already getting calls about bears out rummaging for food," said Eric Nelson, wildlife animal damage program supervisor for the Minnesota DNR. "However, leaving food out in yards that can be eaten by bears sets the stage for potential property damage and presents dangers to bears."

As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up and they are looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce. Bears may be tempted by dog food, livestock feed, birdseed, compost or garbage.


The DNR offers some tips for avoiding bear conflicts:

Around the yard:

-Do not leave food from barbeques and picnics outdoors, especially overnight. Coolers are not bear-proof.

-Replace hummingbird feeders with hanging flower baskets, which are also attractive to hummingbirds.

-Eliminate birdfeeders or hang them 10 feet up and 4 feet out from the nearest trees.

-Use a rope and pulley system to refill birdfeeders, and clean up seeds that spill onto the ground. Where bears are a nuisance, birdfeeders should be taken down.

-Store pet food inside and feed pets inside. If pets must be fed outdoors, feed them only as much as they will eat.

-Clean and store barbeque grills after each use. Store them in a secure shed or garage away from windows and doors.


-Pick fruit from trees as soon as it's ripe, and collect fallen fruit immediately.

-Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly. Do not add food scraps.

-Harvest garden produce as it matures. Locate gardens away from forests and shrubs that bears may use for cover.

-Use native plants in landscaping whenever possible. Clover and dandelions will attract bears.

-Elevate bee hives on bear-proof platforms or erect properly designed electric fences.

-Do not put out feed for wildlife (like corn, oats, pellets or molasses blocks).


-Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters. Rubber or plastic garbage cans are not bear-proof.

-Keep garbage inside a secure building until the morning of pickup.

-Store recyclable containers, such as pop cans, inside.

-Store especially smelly garbage, such as meat or fish scraps, in a freezer until it can be taken to a refuse site.

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