A woman was seriously injured early Friday when she was attacked by a black bear in central Minnesota.
The woman was staying at a cabin near Gull Lake near Nisswa, just northwest of Brainerd, when she let her dog outside shortly after midnight Friday.
After hearing something that sounded like hissing, she went to check on her dog when an adult-sized black bear ran towards her, said Jim Guida, a conservation officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The "bear swiped at her, striking her in several places," according to a release by the DNR. The bear left the immediate area after the attack. The woman was treated for serious injuries at a local hospital and later released. The dog was not injured.
Wildlife staff said they believe the bear likely was startled by the dog and swatted at the woman to defend itself. Pillsbury State Forest is nearby, so the bear could have come from there. DNR conservation officers are continuing to monitor the area for bears that could pose a threat. The Cass County Sheriff's Office assisted the DNR.
There haven't been any other reported complaints of bear activity in the area this spring. According to DNR representatives, black bears are rarely aggressive and attacks on people are uncommon. Since 1987, this is only the 10th bear attack involving serious injuries to a person that the DNR has documented. None of the attacks have resulted in a human death.
People near wooded areas should try to be more aware of their surroundings during the night, Guida said.
"I think whenever you are outside in the late hours after dark understand that bears are typically nocturnal," he said.
Most of the encounters involve either dogs or items that attract bears like birdseed, trash or another food source. People should try to avoid attracting bears to their property by feeding pets indoors, storing trash in bear-proof containers and keeping barbecue grills clean.