Necropsy inconclusive on whether bear killed Ouray woman |

Necropsy inconclusive on whether bear killed Ouray woman

OURAY, Colorado – Wildlife officials are investigating whether bears that fed on the body of a 74-year-old Ouray County woman outside her home killed her or found her body after she died.

A necropsy on a 250-pound bear that aggressively approached sheriff’s deputies investigating Donna Munson’s death Friday didn’t prove whether the bear killed Munson, wildlife officials said Saturday. A necropsy on a 300-pound bear killed at the home was pending.

A visitor found Munson’s body Friday. The Colorado Division of Wildlife had been investigating the home’s residents for more than 10 years on suspicion they were intentionally feeding bears. No one else was living at the home as of Saturday, Division of Wildlife spokesman Tyler Baskfield said.

Division representatives said Munson was known to feed dog food to bears, despite wildlife officers’ repeated calls and letters not to do so.

“It got to the point where she never opened her door for us, allowed us on her property or answered her phone,” Baskfield said. “Our officers went above and beyond, in terms of gaining her cooperation.”

Wildlife officials said Munson had built a metal fence covering her porch, allegedly so she could feed bears through the fence. In early July, a man who described himself as a caretaker asked officers to place bear traps on the property out of concern for his safety, the division said.

Munson was never ticketed, partly because hilly terrain and heavy foliage around her home made it difficult to find evidence of her putting out food, Baskfield said.

Wildlife officers tell mountain dwellers that bears that find food near homes, campgrounds, vehicles often return. They tag and relocate bears that aren’t considered a danger, but those animals might be euthanized if they get into trouble again.

Some communities require bear-proof trash containers.

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