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  • DON'T Feed The Bears!

    Bear attacks and kills elderly woman. Been feeding the bears for 10 years.

    Well, now that this story has made Drudge, and that they’re positive that she was killed by the bear (never a doubt in my mind) I figured it was worthy of a thread here.

    This woman was a friend of my grandmother, who also lives in Ouray – about 35 miles south of my location. It’s one of my favorite places, but the beauty, wilderness, and ruggedness come with some dangers and some responsibilities.

    One responsibility is: DON’T FEED THE BEARS!!! Not only is this dangerous to you, but it gives bears the idea that any human habitation might be a good place to find food. While this woman felt she was doing the right thing her actions cost more than her life – as mentioned in the article two bears were killed after this incident. The article doesn’t mention that two additional bears were trapped and euthanized on the property in the past. As tragic as this is I suppose there's a lesson to be learned here and that's part of the reason why I'm posting it.

    Here's the latest story.

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news...01/detail.html

    Autopsy: Woman Attacked, Killed By Bear

    OURAY, Colo. -- An autopsy showed a 74-year-old Ouray County woman whose body was found being eaten by a bear was attacked and killed by that same bear after she attempted to help a smaller bear that had been hurt in a fight.

    The son-in-law of Donna Munson told 7NEWS that Munson was trying to help a smaller bear that had gotten into a fight with an older bear on Aug 7. The smaller bear suffered broken teeth in the brawl, Munson told her family.

    Munson told her brother by telephone that she was putting out hard-boiled eggs and milk for the younger bear to eat, said the victim's son-in-law, Bruce Milne.

    Munson told her brother Thursday night that the older bear was back and said, "I'm going to chase it off with a broom."

    According to the county coroner, Munson was grabbed by the bear and it slashed her head and neck with such penetrating force that Munson would have bled out in 90 seconds.

    Sheriff's investigators said that the bear "clubbed" her through the wire fence that she had built around her porch, rendering her unconscious. It then grabbed her, pulled her underneath the fence to the back yard and then slashed her to death, the sheriff's office said.

    Later that day, a witness found a large bear feeding on Munson's body as it lay outside her home.

    When deputies arrived to investigate the report of a mauling on Friday, they were approached by a 250-pound bear, which was actively sniffing the body. A deputy with the Ouray Sheriff's Office fired six rounds and killed the bear. A necropsy on that bear showed that it neither attacked nor fed on Munson.

    On Saturday about 3 a.m., a second bear was acting aggressively towards investigators who were still at the house. A DOW investigator shot and killed that bear -- a 400-pound male bear.

    A necropsy on that second bear revealed human tissue as well as remnants of a shirt that Munson was wearing, according to the Ouray Sherrif's Office.

    Colorado Division of Wildlife
    The home of Donna Munson. The DOW says she used a fence to protect herself as she fed bears.


    Officials said the DOW had known for years that Munson routinely fed bears and would not stop, even after repeated requests from the DOW.

    The remote nature of her home made observing possible wildlife violations impossible, the DOW said. Last year, the DOW sent a written notice to Munson and renters at her home warning of the dangers of feeding bears.

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

    Munson had constructed a metal fence that covered her porch so that she could feed bears through the fence, wildlife officials said.

    There have been only two fatal bear attacks in Colorado in the past 100 years. The first was in Grand County in 1971, when a man was killed. The second incident was Aug. 10, 1993, in Fremont County when a 24-year-old man was killed.

    The family said Munson moved from southern California with her former husband, Jack, and they built the three-story log house outside of Ouray in 1978.

    The coroner said her official cause of death was multiple trauma due to a bear attack. The manner of death was ruled to be accidental.
    There’s a personal ironic twist to this. Neither my grandmother nor me were home or even in the area this weekend. We were attending another family party – this one in the southern reaches of South Park near Eleven Mile Reservoir. Well, while on an excursion to spot wild burros with my wife and daughters, what did we come across while driving back to camp? That’s right. A bear. I’ve never been this close to one in the wild. At most, it was about 20 yards away. Naturally, we got some great pictures.




    Winter is Coming!

  • #2
    That is so sad. I know she thought she was 'helping' the bears, but she really should have listened to DOW. It upsets the balance of nature.

    Sorry for your grandmother's loss.


    Beautiful pictures. I like bears...from a safe distance.
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    • #3
      That's terrible news and gives me the goose bumps when I read:

      Later that day, a witness found a large bear feeding on Munson's body as it lay outside her home.
      Don't feed the Bears is right!

      Not only did it cost the life of a human being, it cost the lives of two wild and incredible animals.

      Sad story..

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      • #4
        Those are some great pics of the bear you saw. They are powerful and beautiful creatures(as ar emost creatures out there). That woman ignored repeated warnings. Some things you just should not mess with and nature is one of them. And when you do, Nature takes the time to remind you why you shouldn't.
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        • #5
          This really is a sad story.

          I remember as a kid watching people feed the big black bears near Gatlinburg, TN. They would block the road at times and come right up to the car windows.

          There were signs warning people but the practice continued.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Peanut View Post
            That is so sad. I know she thought she was 'helping' the bears, but she really should have listened to DOW. It upsets the balance of nature.

            Sorry for your grandmother's loss.

            Beautiful pictures. I like bears...from a safe distance.
            It was a little weird, but my grandmother didn't seem to be that upset by it. She knew exactly who it was even before they released the victim's name. We were already in South Park when we received news from a late-arriving family member that heard it on the news Saturday morning before they left. My dad and I climbed a nearby ridge so that he could get a better net connection on his iPhone and get more details.

            Pretty much everyone in town knew that it was going to happen eventually. My grandma said that the bears were always around her (Munson's) house, and that anyone who gave her a ride home always felt a little uneasy about their presence. Munson would reassure everyone that they were harmless and there was nothing to worry about. Recently she was hobbled and was using a walker - so anyone giving her a ride would have to get out of the car, get the walker out, and then make sure she got in the house safely before they left. Crazy. My grandma also said that Munson was recently suffering through some moments of dementia.

            I just don't get it. At what point does someone consider a wild bear not dangerous? And, it just wasn't one bear. There were as many as 9 bears that frequented her property/house. 4 of them are now dead, but I'm sure those others will be looking for a replacement hand-out source now that Munson is gone. Sadly, it's likely that the ramifications of this lady's irresponsible actions are far from over.

            I have a cousin that also lives in Ouray. She's had bears sniffing in their bedroom window in the middle of the night. I told her that she needs to do more than just bring in the bird feeders at night. She needs to bang pans, set off fireworks, etc. and make it an unpleasant experience for the bear. I don't think she really listened to me before; now I'm hoping she will.
            Last edited by Mount-n-Groan; 08-11-2009, 10:22 AM.
            Winter is Coming!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ebsoria View Post
              Those are some great pics of the bear you saw. They are powerful and beautiful creatures(as ar emost creatures out there). That woman ignored repeated warnings. Some things you just should not mess with and nature is one of them. And when you do, Nature takes the time to remind you why you shouldn't.
              Thanks, ebs. "Mrs. Groan" is the more accomplished photographer in the family and she took the pictures. It was funny because we were all exhausted and everyone in the vehicle was asleep (or nearly so). I rounded a corner, only doing about 10mph, and I see what looked like a large mangy dog in a cloud of dust hurrying off the road to get out of our way. That's when I said, "BEAR!!!". No one was very sleepy after that. I was especially excited that my two girls, at such a young age, had the chance to see a bear in the wild. That's something they're not likely to forget.
              Winter is Coming!

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              • #8
                That's why you don't feed wild animals like that.

                I don't remember where it was but somewhere I went people fed deer. Deer are another wild animal that you do NOT want to feed and do NOT want to get friendly with. No matter how much Disney films make them all "innocent".
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Charlie Brown View Post
                  That's why you don't feed wild animals like that.

                  I don't remember where it was but somewhere I went people fed deer. Deer are another wild animal that you do NOT want to feed and do NOT want to get friendly with. No matter how much Disney films make them all "innocent".
                  And the funny thing about that is that "Bambi" was a boy, yet we call girls "Bambi" because it's not manly... well, except JD from Scrubs... he's called "Bambi".
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                  • #10
                    A little update here...

                    I don't know if any of you caught it, but Animal Planet featured this tragic story on their "Fatal Attraction" series tonight. They did a good job with it. I know several of the people that they interviewed... not the least of which was my own Grandmother!!! They talked with her quite a bit. Kind of weird seeing her on national tv like that.

                    Anyway, catch it if you can. We watched it with our girls (both huge animal lovers) and used it as a teaching tool about wild animals and the dangers of feeding them.

                    Also, my wife entered the top most photo in the county fair this year and won 1st place in the amateur/wildlife category. Plus, she took home the People's Choice Award for it too. :clap:

                    And remember... DON'T FEED THE WILDLIFE!!! (trolls included).

                    Winter is Coming!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mount-n-Groan View Post
                      A little update here...

                      I don't know if any of you caught it, but Animal Planet featured this tragic story on their "Fatal Attraction" series tonight. They did a good job with it. I know several of the people that they interviewed... not the least of which was my own Grandmother!!! They talked with her quite a bit. Kind of weird seeing her on national tv like that.

                      Anyway, catch it if you can. We watched it with our girls (both huge animal lovers) and used it as a teaching tool about wild animals and the dangers of feeding them.

                      Also, my wife entered the top most photo in the county fair this year and won 1st place in the amateur/wildlife category. Plus, she took home the People's Choice Award for it too. :clap:

                      And remember... DON'T FEED THE WILDLIFE!!! (trolls included).

                      That's cool about your Grandmother. I'll try to catch the show.

                      Congrats to Mrs. M-n-G!
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Peanut View Post
                        That's cool about your Grandmother. I'll try to catch the show.

                        Congrats to Mrs. M-n-G!
                        Thanks, MD!

                        I feel a little bad about gloating over semi-related aspects of this tragedy. Someone did lose their life, after all, even if it was her own fault. Depending on what kind of person you are there's another tragedy here. While most media reports and this program talk about the TWO bears that were killed, the word around town (it's a very small town) is that there were actually NINETEEN bears that were killed in and around this area as a direct result of this. Of course, nobody has gone on record to officially proclaim it (I don't blame them), but that's just what I've heard from some fairly reliable sources.

                        RIP Donna Munson. And if someone ever thinks they're "helping" the wildlife by feeding them then please, remember Donna Munson and tell them this story.

                        Winter is Coming!

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                        • #13
                          Wow... totally don't remember seeing this thread last year, but thanks for sharing!!! I've spent most of my life either visiting or living near mountains, and it was drilled into my head early on about feeding the wildlife.

                          It never ceases to amaze me at the idiots I see in Yellowstone all the time feeding the bison like they're just domestic cows.

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                          • #14
                            Speaking of Bear attacks.

                            Any of you ever seen "Grizzly Man" about David Treadwell, the guy who believed he could live amongst Grizzly Bears? In the end they ate him and his girlfriend..
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                            • #15
                              Yeah Charlie, I've heard a little bit of his story. He apparently had a history of not being the best decision maker.
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