Bear attacks mushroom picker

Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ANCHORAGE - A Seward man who helped fend off a grizzly that attacked his companion says he holds no hard feelings for the animal.

"We just got too close," said Roger Long said. "We were in the bears' home, so to speak. We were too quiet and we walked right into them."

Long, 76, and Jenne Danzl, 54, were picking mushrooms near Skilak Lake on the Kenai Peninsula when a sow bear attacked. The grizzly was with protecting two cubs, Alaska State Troopers said.

Long and Danzl headed out Friday to pick morel mushrooms at the lake, troopers said. They walked about 20 minutes amid new growth in a burned section of forest about 50 yards from the lake shore, Long said.

They were about 20 yards apart when Danzl saw fresh bear scat. Moments later, Long heard Danzl scream. He looked up and saw the sow, with two 2-year-old cubs nearby, pounce down on Danzl.

Long grabbed a stick and yelled at the bears. The bears ran off and Long ran to Danzl.

They hugged, then left. At their camp, they realized Danzl had been bitten on the left side of her rib cage and had a gash on her rear and other small punctures.

She was treated at Central Peninsula Hospital and released about five hours later, Long said. By Monday, the injuries looked to be healing well, he said.

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