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MILWAUKEE — A woman whacked a young bear over the head with a gun, rescuing her husband from an attack outside their Wisconsin cabin Wednesday, the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office said.

Gerre Ninnemann, the husband, originally saw the bear running after his dog, the sheriff’s report says. He went outside to call the dog in, and while the dog made it home unscathed, Ninnemann didn’t. The bear tackled him in a chase, biting and clawing at his back.

Ninnemann momentarily got away and ran to a corner of the cabin in Silver Cliff, but the bear was faster and mauled him again.

Ninnemann’s wife, Marie, took a gun from the basement but didn’t know how to load the shells. She took the weapon outside and hit the bear on the head, giving her husband his chance to escape. Pointing the gun at the bear, the couple backtracked into their cabin.

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The bear continued to circle the home and look in the windows.

Marie Ninnemann called the Sheriff’s Department about 1:30 p.m. After the deputy arrived, the bear walked to the front passenger side of the squad car, and the responding deputy shot and killed it.

Gerre Ninnemann had bite marks from his belt line up to the back of his head, among other injuries, and was taken to the hospital, the report says.

The animal is being checked for rabies in Madison, and wildlife officials are performing a necropsy, an examination of a dead animal, to determine what may have led the bear to attack, Department of Natural Resources area wildlife supervisor John Huff said.

The bear was only a year old, Huff said, and it was probably on its own for the first time this year.

Bear attacks are so rare that they are difficult to track. There have been only a few attacks in Wisconsin in recent decades, Huff said.

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