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Cabin owner fed bruins for years despite state's pleas
Denver Post ^ | 08/09/2009 | Jennifer Brown

Posted on 08/10/2009 3:16:47 AM PDT by Daffynition

In the evenings, Donna Munson liked to sit in front of her picture window and watch the bears amble toward her Ouray County log cabin for dinner.

The 74-year-old woman — who stocked her backyard with dog food, fruit and yogurt — was found dead outside her home Friday, being eaten by a bear.

It was still unknown Saturday whether a bear killed Munson or whether one or more animals consumed part of her body after her death. But people who knew her said she was an eccentric wildlife lover who had been feeding bears, elk, skunks and raccoons for years.

Munson, who rented half of her home in southwestern Colorado to several people over the years, told one of them that "when the time came, she wanted to go out with the bears."

"She was a very sweet lady," said Tammy York of Paonia, who rented part of Munson's house several years ago. "She just loved nature. She probably shouldn't have been alone out there in her state."

Colorado Division of Wildlife agents had asked Munson so many times over the past decade to stop feeding bears that she quit taking their phone calls or accepting their certified letters and tried to ban them from her property.

Neighbors complained about a growing number of bears in the hills, ransacking trash cans and even trying to break into houses this summer. Still, Munson kept feeding the bears.

Two of the bruins were shot and killed by Ouray County sheriff's deputies Friday while they investigated Munson's death. Deputies said the animals were threatening and had no fear of people.

Two other bears were captured and euthanized in July after a caretaker at Munson's cabin complained they were too aggressive. Division of Wildlife authorities caught them both the first day they set traps.

"We tried to do everything possible to gain her cooperation," said Tyler Baskfield, DOW spokesman. "Obviously, this is a situation that everybody feels bad about, but it illustrates what can happen."

Bears fed by humans lose their instinct to fear people and "they expect that food source to continue," he said.

"Not only are you putting yourself at risk, you're putting anyone else who may come in contact with that animal at risk because they are expecting a handout," Baskfield said.

The night before her death, Munson planned to feed an injured baby bear hard-boiled eggs and yogurt, another former tenant said. And she had planned to swat a large bear that was bothering the baby bear with a broom.

"She didn't have a chance in hell," said Connie Barnes, who lived with Munson for five years and never went outside after dark without a spotlight, her husband and his BB gun.

Munson lived in the cabin, which bordered federal land, with her husband, "Ridgway Jack," until his death about 14 years ago, Barnes said. Jack Munson adopted a baby elk and made their home into an animal sanctuary, even letting a fawn sleep in his bed, Barnes said.

Donna Munson continued caring for animals after her husband's death, leaving a tub of cat food on her picnic table for critters and tossing food in the backyard and out her windows for bears. The elderly woman, who used a walker, bought giant bags of Ol' Roy dog food for the bears and had pallets of grain delivered for elk and deer, Barnes said.

"She had skunks that came in her house," Barnes said. "It sounds ridiculous to people, but you had to know her. She was a very loving woman, so much into animals."

Two women who cleaned Munson's home found her being eaten by a bear Friday, Barnes said.

A necropsy performed on a 250-pound male bear was inconclusive. A necropsy on the other bear killed Friday is ongoing. The Montrose County coroner is performing an autopsy on Munson.

Folks in Ouray and Ridgway, two towns near Munson's house, were upset about the bear deaths and the public safety risk caused by Munson.

"These bears are now not going to be fed and they are going to go to other houses looking for food," said Kate Singer, owner of Kate's Place, a cafe in downtown Ridgway. "More bears are going to be killed because of what this woman did. It's a bad situation, and people are not happy about it."

Munson had enclosed her porch with wire fencing for protection. York, her former tenant, said Munson had the fence installed when York and her two children, ages 1 and 4 at the time, moved in with her.

The bears would come within 6 feet of the porch and peer in the windows.

"We were in the zoo," she recalled, saying she moved out after about a year because the animals — especially the skunks — "got to be too much." While she lived there, a bear busted York's car window and left bite marks in her seat trying to get some leftover french fries.

Munson would be devastated by the bears' deaths, York said.

"That's the worst part," she said. "That would be horrible for her if she knew what her death had meant to the bears."


TOPICS: Local News; Outdoors; Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: bears; colorado; denver; ouraycounty; tasteslikechicken
But they are soooooooooooooooooooooo cute!


1 posted on 08/10/2009 3:16:48 AM PDT by Daffynition
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To: Daffynition
She probably shouldn't have been alone out there in her state."

Why? She was happy doing what she was doing and living where she was. I wouldn't choose it, but she obviously did. I bet she would have been terribly upset, lonely, and bereft if she had been forced to live in a "home" somewhere "for her own good."

We all have to die sometime. She was happy up until her death.

RIP

2 posted on 08/10/2009 3:21:38 AM PDT by Jemian (PAM of JT ~~ A community organizer cannot complain when communities organize.)
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To: Jemian

I don’t disagree with your sentiments about her Jemian, however she has created a problem b/c now these bears that she has loved have become dependent on humans, not fearful of them. So her neighbors are going to have to deal with dangerous critters coming close for handouts. That’s the rub. ;)


3 posted on 08/10/2009 3:32:19 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Jemian

Problem is, most of those bears now will need to be killed. You cant have dangerous wild animals running around with no fear of humans, and in the same instance, associating humans with food. She was a typical, stupid liberal.


4 posted on 08/10/2009 3:36:47 AM PDT by scoobysnak71 (Just a National Security Threat, trying to get a nut.)
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To: Daffynition
"She didn't have a chance in hell," said Connie Barnes, who lived with Munson for five years and never went outside after dark without a spotlight, her husband and his BB gun.

LOL! Bears have a word for people like this. "Lunch." Husband and his BB gun? I get it. The plan was to knee cap the old man with the BB gun and leave him as bear bait, while you run like hell. BB guns... attracting bears to your property with dog food...Who are these people!?
5 posted on 08/10/2009 3:37:00 AM PDT by PowderMonkey (Will work for ammo. Proud member of the well dressed mob.)
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To: Daffynition

Oh, she fed the bears alright.


6 posted on 08/10/2009 3:37:35 AM PDT by KingLudd
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To: PowderMonkey
Bats will work too ... Louisville Sluggers .....BAWAHAHAHA!


7 posted on 08/10/2009 3:39:51 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: KingLudd

8 posted on 08/10/2009 3:41:51 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Jemian

Well one thing is for sure, she really got into feeding the bears.


9 posted on 08/10/2009 4:02:00 AM PDT by stockpirate (Barack Obama, the last black U.S. President!)
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To: Daffynition

When I was a kid in the 50’s growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Mighgan, a hard drinking, 5 foot 6”, 300 pound pulp wood cutter decided to fight a bear of about the same size that was standing in his yard. He got the first overhand right into the bear’s nose, the bear stood on his hind legs, and , according to Sox’s wife, beat him with his paws like he was prize fighter. The bear never did try to bite old Sox, just beat him senseless and left him lying on the ground with one arm broken, a shoulder dislocated and a few teeth missing (although they might have been gone before the fight as I remember what most of those folks up there looked like back then).


10 posted on 08/10/2009 4:07:25 AM PDT by Big_Harry ( Thank God I am an "Infidel"!)
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To: PowderMonkey
I get it. The plan was to knee cap the old man with the BB gun and leave him as bear bait, while you run like hell.

She'll put her eye out...

11 posted on 08/10/2009 4:23:24 AM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: Daffynition

Bruins! We need BRUINS!!!

12 posted on 08/10/2009 4:27:15 AM PDT by bondjamesbond (Because, deep in my heart, I do believe, that we shall overcome some day.)
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To: Daffynition; scoobysnak71; stockpirate

You all three make excellent points. I am all in favor of her having lived her life among the animals WITHOUT training the animals to get food from humans.


13 posted on 08/10/2009 4:27:59 AM PDT by Jemian (PAM of JT ~~ A community organizer cannot complain when communities organize.)
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To: Daffynition

"get em Clyde"

14 posted on 08/10/2009 4:33:10 AM PDT by Doogle (USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: Jemian

I understand. I can confess that I am guilty too. I have, for years, fed the song birds ... and when I move, I wonder how they will adapt when I have spoiled them. Only diff is that they won’t attack and eat anyone .... or at least, I don’t think so! LOL


15 posted on 08/10/2009 4:39:58 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Big_Harry
I like your story a lot!

Here's another family [I can't find the link now] of the Anderson family who have a grizz named Brutus .... this is not photoshopped. I can only surmise how this will end.


16 posted on 08/10/2009 4:45:46 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Big_Harry
The link: Meet Brutus, the 800lb grizzly bear who likes to eat his meals at the dinner table
17 posted on 08/10/2009 4:50:51 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Doogle
Regretfully, she didn't have a orange guard-cat!


18 posted on 08/10/2009 4:52:36 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: bondjamesbond

19 posted on 08/10/2009 4:54:25 AM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Daffynition
The night before her death, Munson planned to feed an injured baby bear hard-boiled eggs and yogurt, another former tenant said. And she had planned to swat a large bear that was bothering the baby bear with a broom.

I'd hate to inform Munson (guess I can't since she became a bear Happy Meal), but bears will eat anything, including other baby bears, deer, elk, whatever. Bears are Nature's cutest hunter killer.

20 posted on 08/10/2009 4:58:05 AM PDT by 6SJ7 (atlasShruggedInd: ON)
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To: Daffynition
I understand. I can confess that I am guilty too. I have, for years, fed the song birds ... and when I move, I wonder how they will adapt when I have spoiled them. Only diff is that they won’t attack and eat anyone .... or at least, I don’t think so! LOL

It's folks like you...

21 posted on 08/10/2009 5:01:39 AM PDT by bondjamesbond (Because, deep in my heart, I do believe, that we shall overcome some day.)
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To: Daffynition
Here in Texas we have people who treat bulls that way. They're very lovabull (HA! I kill me!) until the first time they get ready to mate.

Dogs and cats are pets. Horses and cattle are domesticated wild animals, but because of their power, can still kill in a second. Everything else is a wild animal. As much as I enjoyed the Crocodile Hunter, he fed the cockeyed theory that you can hang around these wild animals that can kill you in a second with no danger. Others on this thread have pointed out, correctly, that this does no favor to the animals, who cease to fear humans and end up having to be destroyed.

22 posted on 08/10/2009 5:03:07 AM PDT by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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Like said above, this woman is a typical liberal. Total selfishness. Her motto is “It’s all about me”.

Seeing herself as godlike, granting largesse to natures’ dumb creatures, ignoring the fact that she is condemning the animals to death, but feeling “oh so good about” herself in the process.


23 posted on 08/10/2009 5:12:42 AM PDT by Sparko (I'll never be your pizza burnin')
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To: Richard Kimball
I love those cute bambi moms. I feed from them all year long.

Usually the steaks, chops and ground meat from three bambi moms last until next years hunting season.

I've tried eating bear meat but it's too strong and stringy.

Oh, this thread is about feeding critters, not feeding from critters ... sorry.

24 posted on 08/10/2009 5:14:37 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages - In Honor of Standing Wolf)
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To: Daffynition
....."She was such a sweet Lady".....


25 posted on 08/10/2009 5:18:02 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . fasl el-khitab)
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To: USS Alaska
I've tried eating bear meat but it's too strong and stringy.
I ate Bear meat once.
As a teen my gf's dad took us to a Hunt Club dinner (he didn't hunt or own a gun, go figure).

Anyway it was a bit 'gammie'(sp?), but covered in A-1 it was eatable :-)

26 posted on 08/10/2009 5:41:22 AM PDT by Condor51 (The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits)
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To: Daffynition

Grizzly bears are tough customers. When they do attack, you had better have enough gun to stop them or they just get mad. I can’t believe there are people this stupid!


27 posted on 08/10/2009 6:41:28 AM PDT by Big_Harry ( Thank God I am an "Infidel"!)
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To: Daffynition

28 posted on 08/10/2009 1:05:09 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: Daffynition

So she provided one last meal for them.


29 posted on 08/10/2009 1:06:12 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: JoeProBono

30 posted on 08/10/2009 5:07:22 PM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Richard Kimball; bert; Big_Harry

31 posted on 08/10/2009 5:10:20 PM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Daffynition
she was an eccentric wildlife lover who had been feeding bears

I stopped reading right there. I feel bad for her family, but the woman was clearly insane, dumb, mentally slow or a combination of the three.

32 posted on 08/10/2009 5:21:09 PM PDT by stuck_in_new_orleans
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To: Daffynition
Photobucket

I think this is Bart the bear who appeared in numerous films.

33 posted on 08/10/2009 5:22:31 PM PDT by mware (F-R-E-E, that spells free. Free Republic.com baby.)
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To: stuck_in_new_orleans

34 posted on 08/10/2009 5:29:11 PM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: mware
Yes. Doug Seus, Alive and Well ......for the time being.
35 posted on 08/10/2009 5:36:12 PM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Daffynition
Can I has cheezburger?


36 posted on 08/10/2009 6:13:14 PM PDT by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: Richard Kimball

ROTFLMAO.


37 posted on 08/10/2009 6:18:39 PM PDT by verity
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To: Richard Kimball
A short story......


38 posted on 08/10/2009 6:21:23 PM PDT by Daffynition ("...... we are about to be czarred and fettered." ~ alterum ictum faciam.)
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To: Daffynition

I started carrying a .375 on my elk hunts in bear country. We all made a pact that we would drop the bugger if attacked and move away from it with only a satisfied smile to remind us of the encounter in later years.


39 posted on 08/10/2009 7:58:06 PM PDT by Big_Harry ( Thank God I am an "Infidel"!)
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