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.