News release: Woman injured by black bear near Nisswa

May 27, 2023

A woman was treated and released from the hospital after being injured by a black bear near Nisswa early Friday morning.

The woman was staying at a cabin near Gull Lake and let her dog outside shortly after midnight. She went into the yard to check on the dog and the bear swiped at her, striking her in several places. The bear left the immediate area after the incident. The woman’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

Prior to this incident, there had been no reported complaints of bear activity in the area this spring. Minnesota DNR wildlife staff believe the bear likely was startled by the quick appearance of the dog in the middle of the night and then swatted the woman as a way to defend itself. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office assisted DNR in this incident. DNR conservation officers are monitoring the area for bears that may pose a threat to public safety.

Black bears are rarely aggressive and attacks on people are uncommon. Since 1987, this is the tenth bear attack involving serious injuries to a person that the DNR has documented. None has caused human death. Most of the encounters involve either attractants (birdseed, trash, or some other food source) or dogs. Bears that feel comfortable living near people may become more unpredictable when faced with a stressful situation, such as a dog showing up unexpectedly. Each year in North America, there are thousands of interactions between people and black bears without incident. 

People should avoid attracting bears to their property. Important measures at residences include removing sources of food such as bird feeders, feeding pets indoors, storing trash in bear-proof containers and keeping barbeque grills clean. For more tips on what to do in a bear encounter, go to or

Back to top