Alaskan News

Alaska girl attacked by bears with outhouse, from under

alaska-girl-attacked-by-bears-with-outhouse-from-under

BY MARK THIESSEN

Associated Press

ANCHOR – An Alaskan woman had the fear of her life while using an upstairs outhouse and was attacked by a bear from below.

"I got out of there and sat on the bathroom and something immediately bit my butt when I sat down," Shannon Stevens told The Associated Press on Thursday. "I jumped up and screamed when it happened."

Stevens, her brother Erik, and his girlfriend had taken snowmobiles out into the wild on February 13 to stay in his yurt, which is about 20 miles northwest of Haines in southeastern Alaska.

Her brother heard the screaming and went to the outhouse, about 150 feet from the yurt. There he found Shannon tending to her wound. They thought at first that she had been bitten by a squirrel or a mink or something small.

Erik had brought his headlamp to see what it was.

"I opened the toilet seat and right there at the level of the toilet seat there is just a bear face looking straight back through the hole and looking straight at me," he said.

“I closed the lid as quickly as possible. I said, "There's a bear down there, we have to get out of here now," he said. "And we ran back to the yurt as fast as we could."

As soon as they were safely inside, they treated Shannon with a first aid kit. They found it wasn't that serious, but they would go to Haines if it got worse.

"It was bleeding, but it wasn't particularly bad," Shannon said.

The next morning they found bear tracks all over the property, but the bear had left the area. "You could see her across the snow and come to the side of the outhouse," she said.

They assume that the bear entered the outhouse through an opening in the bottom of the back door.

"I guess winter probably won't be too bad for a small cave," Shannon said.

Carl Koch, a biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Management, suspects it might be a black bear based on photos of the tracks he saw and the fact that a neighbor who lives about half a mile away , sent him a photo of a black bear on their property two days later.

This homeowner yelled at the bear, but he didn't respond. It didn't approach her either, but trampled around its shop as if it were in a dormant state.

Even though it's winter, Koch said they get calls all year round because bears are outside.

And 2020 was a record year for general bear problems in the Haines area. Reasons for this could be the fact that it was a poor salmon run year combined with a mediocre berry harvest. "It is also possible that a bear does not take in enough fat when it goes into the cave to make it go more or earlier," he said.

Koch suspects that Shannon's wound was caused by the bear, who hit her with one paw instead of being bitten. Either way, the place could be a premiere.

"As far as you sit down in winter, she could be the only person on earth who ever did this, as far as I know," said Koch.

No matter what time of year, Erik says he'll always have bear spray with him when he goes into the backcountry, and Shannon plans to change some behavior too.

"I'll just take a better look in the bathroom before I sit down," she said.

Associated Press
This Feb. 14 photo by Julia Heinz shows a bear seen near Alaska-based Shannon Stevens the day before in an outbuilding northwest of Haines, Alaska. Stevens was using an outbuilding in the backcountry and was attacked from below by a bear.

Associated Press
This Feb. 14 photo by Julia Heinz shows a bear seen near Alaska-based Shannon Stevens the day before in an outbuilding northwest of Haines, Alaska. Stevens was using an outbuilding in the backcountry and was attacked from below by a bear.

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