Since I have black bear walking regularly through my yard at my home atop the Blue Ridge, stories like today’s do make me reflect upon our current complacency about sharing our neighborhoods with potentially lethal large predators.
Mrs. Munson’s case was different from most of ours. She was living in a remote wilderness location. In California and the Eastern US, though, bears or mountain lions commonly reside in the midst of residential suburbs.
We rely on our belief that a long tradition of hunting (now very much in desuetude as far as our large predator neighbors are concerned) suffices to assure their fear of man as the better-armed and more dangerous predator.
Our reliance on that established status has worked well enough in the Eastern US so far, but, of course, the bear have only returned to most places very recently. The mountain lion, here in the East, is mostly just a rumor.
An autopsy showed a 74-year-old Ouray County (Colorado) woman whose body was found being eaten by a bear (Black bear – Ursus americanus) 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.