People are effectively training bears to get into trouble, and Colorado wildlife officials are sick of it
The bear was immense by Colorado standards, 394 pounds of muscle and fur, and it lay sprawled across the necropsy table as the prime suspect in a murder.
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.
“I got the call, and I knew immediately it had to be her,” said District Wildlife Manager Kelly Crane, who had personally spoken to Munson multiple times about the danger of feeding bears and wrote her a letter warning her it was illegal.
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. Wildlife officers concluded she had been attacked by one of the bears she fed and was dragged outside the protective fencing. Two aggressive bears were killed on the property in the days after Munson’s body was found.
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