Problem bear dies; I hold the smoking gun
I wish that it hadn't ended up this way: the bear's final agonized writhing in the driveway, the smoking shotgun, my hands shaking from the rush of adrenaline and emotion. Unfortunately, neither of us had much say in the matter. This tragic end had been decided long ago.
I knew this end would come, long before he did. I met him three years ago, when he was just a cub. He was trapped in a Dumpster that his mother led him into to eat.
Our paths crossed several times during the next couple of years. He'd pull down bird feeders and I'd give out 'Living with Bears' brochures to the homeowners. A month later, I'd see the birdfeeders hung again, right against the picture window.
The homeowners would report the bear's aggressive behavior, how it stood and looked in their window, how it wasn't frightened of people, even as they stood just on the other side of the pane and took pictures of it.
Then finally one night, inevitably, the old bruin took it too far. Lured by a chain of unwitting and apathetic homeowners, urged on by a string of bountiful successes, he was at last coaxed over the line.
CBS4 Denver story
The couple says they take part of the blame because of their bird feeders.
“It was partially my fault for having bird feeders. I’m not happy about it, but on the other hand bears that do come into houses are in a situation where they make it a habit.”
OURAY — Days earlier, in August 2009, wildlife officers had been called to a grisly scene at a house outside Ouray, where a frail, 74-year-old woman named Donna Munson lived. As friends would later recount, Munson had a passionate love of animals, regularly leaving grains and dog food out to feed deer, elk, skunks, raccoons and other wildlife. Bears were frequent visitors, too, and Munson loved them perhaps most of all. She tossed food out her windows for them and wrapped her porch in wire fencing to provide some protection while watching them, even as wildlife officers repeatedly warned her to just stop feeding them.
Then came the call.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived and found Munson’s bloodied body lying outside her house. The coroner later determined she had been killed by deep slashes to her head and neck.
But 10 years later, much of human behavior in Colorado remains unchanged. More communities have requirements for bearproof trash cans and Dumpsters, but too often those receptacles go unlocked. More residents in bear country are educated about the need to keep food inside, but too often they leave out bird feeders or other obvious temptations.
In 2019, there have been at least seven incidents in which a bear attacked and injured a person in Colorado, according to news accounts and Parks and Wildlife reports. And, although those incidents have been spread across the state, from the Front Range to the mountain ski towns to the southwest, they share a common thread: Humans, somewhere along the way, did something to invite the attacks.