A woman who lives near Sebeka, Minn., found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time Friday evening when she went outside to call in her dogs and was attacked by a black bear, possibly protecting its cubs.

Catherine Hanson, 59, of Meadow Township, about 12 miles northeast of Sebeka, was still recovering from her injuries Tuesday and didn’t want to talk to any members of the media, said Wadena County Chief Deputy Joe Schoon.

The sheriff’s office received a 911 call about 10:15 p.m. Friday, after the woman had escaped back into the house. She told deputies and the state Department of Natural Resources that she had been on the deck of her home when the bear attacked. She was knocked down and mauled, Schoon said.

She said she had seen bear cubs in the area recently, Schoon said.

Bird feeders in the yard had been tipped over and may have been the bear’s initial target. When the woman came out, the cubs were likely nearby and the bear attacked to protect them, Schoon said.

Hanson was treated for her injuries at an area hospital and was back home recuperating on Tuesday.

By the time authorities arrived on Friday, the bear had disappeared. The DNR set a live trap, but the bear had not yet been caught.

The DNR and sheriff’s office warned residents to be on high alert for bears this spring, especially in rural areas. They will be looking for easily accessible food such as bird seed at feeders and near garbage. Keep any potential food source away from the house. If you encounter a bear, do not walk toward it. Make loud noises and yell at the bear. If a bear becomes a nuisance, call your local DNR office.

Pat Pheifer