Wildlife

Report: Bear injured woman’s backside while she was using an outhouse near Haines

A bear injured a woman’s backside while she was using an outhouse last week on a backcountry trip in the Haines area, local public radio station KHNS reported.

Shannon Stevens was staying in a yurt on Chilkat Lake for the weekend with her brother, Erik, and his girlfriend, the radio station reported. After the three made sausages for dinner over an open fire Saturday evening, Shannon Stevens went to use the outhouse, according to KHNS.

“Normally, when we are out there in the summer or the fall I’m used to shouting ‘Hey, bear!’ the whole way. It was the dead of winter, so I didn’t think to do that this time,” Stevens told KHNS. “I got in there and sat down on the toilet seat, and something just immediately bit me in the butt. I jumped up and screamed.”

[Related: A woman was bit while using an outhouse near Haines. It turned out to be a bear.]

Erik Stevens rushed to the outhouse to investigate, the radio station reported. He lifted the toilet seat’s lid.

“Right at the level of the toilet seat, maybe an inch or two below, is a gigantic bear face looking right back up at me,” he told KHNS.

[Listen here to Shannon and Erik Stevens describing the incident to KHNS]

The two ran back to the yurt and cleaned Shannon Stevens’ wound, which she described to the radio station as a “single puncture.” She said she ultimately wasn’t sure if her injury was a bite or a claw mark.

The three spent the night at the yurt and found tracks the next morning near the outhouse, KHNS reported.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Biologist Carl Koch investigated the incident, and after looking at photos of tracks and taking into account other reports of bear activity in the area, he said he believes the culprit was a black bear, according to KHNS.

Bears are less active in winter, but they do not go into a full state of hibernation and it’s still a good idea to use caution and carry bear spray year-round, biologists say.

Earlier this month, also in the Haines area, a man was mauled by a brown bear when he and his two friends accidentally encountered a den while on a backcountry ski trip.

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