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Mountain Lion Shot in Self-Defense

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by .455_Hunter, Aug 7, 2008.

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  1. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    This story illustrates why I always CCW or OC when hiking in Colorado (or anywhere else). The comment from the Wildlife Department official is priceless (in bold).

    I think the couple did very well, using all of the prescribed non-lethal "scare tactics" before using deadly force as a final option. I think six feet is a little too close to wait before firing, but as the article states, the man did not want to have to kill the cat.

    I wonder what he was carrying.

    Please comment.

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/17119546/detail.html

    New Castle Man Shoots Cougar After Encounter On Road
    Preliminary Tests Show The Animal Had Pneumonia, Bronchitis and Probably Hadn't Eaten In Several Days

    New Castle, Colo. -- A man walking with his wife on a country road in western Colorado shot and killed a mountain lion he said was advancing on them.

    On Tuesday, a couple was walking on a road about two miles north of New Castle, about 170 miles west of Denver, when a mountain lion emerged from bushes alongside the road. The two told state wildlife officers that they yelled, waved their arms and backed away slowly, trying to scare the mountain lion away without startling it.

    But the couple said the mountain lion was down low and kept moving toward them. The man drew a pistol he was carrying and shot the cat.

    "Our investigation shows the mountain lion was about 6 feet away before the man fired a shot," Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said. "The couple indicated they felt terrible they even had to do this."

    Hampton didn't have the couple's names because all the paperwork on the encounter wasn't finished. He said the division's investigation indicated the two did nothing wrong and they won't be cited in the shooting.

    "We felt this was a situation, where had they not been armed, we would've been dealing with a very different story today," Hampton said.

    The cat in Tuesday's incident was a young male and underweight at 60 pounds. Hampton said preliminary results from a necropsy -- the animal equivalent of an autopsy -- show the mountain lion had pneumonia, bronchitis and probably hadn't eaten in several days.

    The location of the faceoff is about 6,500 feet in altitude and wooded, with pinon pine and juniper trees. Hampton said the area, like much of Colorado, is good mountain lion habitat.

    Hampton said mountain lions are usually elusive and try to avoid people. He said such encounters are rare and that there are fewer than a half dozen attacks by mountain lions nationwide a year.

    The last fatal attack by a mountain lion in Colorado was July 1997, when a 10-year-old Denver-area boy running ahead of his family on a trail in Rocky Mountain National Park was jumped by a female cat.

    Colorado has an estimated 3,000 to 7,000 mountain lions. The Division of Wildlife is conducting studies in western Colorado and in the Boulder area, northwest of Denver, to get a better idea of the population's size and behavior.

    Adult male mountain lions can grow to more than 8 feet long and weigh 150 pounds. Their tail may be one-third of their total length.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  2. WNC Seabee

    WNC Seabee Member

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    That's the only animal on this continent that truly freaks me out. Those things will stalk you! :what::what: There are conflicting reports of their presence here in Western NC, but if I ever see one while I'm out fishing I'm confident I'll wet myself and drop dead on the spot.

    I've solo packed into Grizzly country, fished an alpine lake with a bull moose drinking from it ~30 yards away, had more black bear encounters than I care to count...but lions are just creepy.


    Yeah, I know, the likelyhood of actually seeing one is slim....that makes it even worse.
     
  3. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    There are no mountain lions in WV, per DNR.

    Right.

    Stay safe.
    Bob
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  4. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    If you average the population across the entire country, then your chances of encountering a cat are very low.

    If you average the population across only people who are "out and about" in lion country, then the chances are MUCH, MUCH higher.

    A good analogy would be chances of catching a fish. Across the county today, the chances of a random person catching a fish is pretty low, since that random person is probably at the office, school or shopping mall. However, if you are at a lake, stream or river, equipped with your pole, tackle box and actively drowning worms, then your chances are pretty good of catching a fish.

    In the past twenty years, I have had at least three face to face cat encounters in Colorado. My father even had to discharge his sidearm to scare away a cat that was stalking him at dusk.
     
  5. memphisjim

    memphisjim Member

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    hmm with the speed of that cat i wouldnt let it get within 6 feet of me
     
  6. garlicguy

    garlicguy Member

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    My Son! My Son!

    :what: Ooops!

    But really - I've been stalked twice by lions, both times about an hour west of here and both times they were large females in the fall of the year.

    When we lived in Missouri, the DNR regularly denied the existance of ML's in the State. When we called one evening to report a siting of a mother and cub on our property in Texas County, they readily admitted to being aware of their presense. ?? :banghead:
     
  7. telkontar

    telkontar Member

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    I did like the officer's comment: Be safe -- Carry!

    Colorado cougars are small. At 60 pounds and approaching from the front, I doubt it was hunting in any meaningful manner (regardless of pneumonia, et al.). Cougars scare me because they will jump from behind and above. (Snakes scare me because they may attack from below and may be unseen.) I've only found footprints at the cabin, so we'll see what happens if I really come face-to-face.
     
  8. Treo

    Treo member

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    6 feet ? maybe he wanted to be sure he hit it, clean kill as opposed to wounded cat running loose.

    Give the condition of the cat it sounds like a merciful end to the cat's suffering.
     
  9. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    That's for sure. :(

    Sick predators are usually the most dangerous type- the healthy ones are getting along just fine eating deer, rabbits, turkeys, etc.
     
  10. gtd

    gtd Member

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    "Yeah, I know, the likelyhood of actually seeing one is slim....that makes it even worse."

    If you can't see the lion, it's because the lion can see you! :uhoh:
     
  11. Wang

    Wang Member

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    My brother goes Elk hunting in Colorado. On a trip a bout 2 years ago one of his friends was setting on log watching for Elk. He said he turned to his left and a creeping along the same log he was setting on was a mountain lion. He said it was just a blur in his scope when he shot it. He said it about gave him a heart attack.
     
  12. cleardiddion

    cleardiddion Member

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    ^
    Who wouldn't nearly drop dead from surpise in that sort of situation?
     
  13. snead888

    snead888 Member

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    wow, don't hear about that happening often. hike in CO all the time kinda, never seen a bear or mountain lion. not really that worried about seeing them though.
     
  14. big_bang

    big_bang Member

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    Where in Texas County, garlicguy? My family has thousands of acres outside of Raymondville...
     
  15. brighamr

    brighamr Member

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    "It's coming right for us!...BANG"

    Sorry, can't help but think of that episode :)


    My late grandfather used to tell me of being stalked by MLs in Utah (timpanogas for those who care). This was around 1920, and he was a forest ranger at the time. I've never been stalked, that I know of, but I bet it's an adrenaline pumping experience.
     
  16. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    Sounds familiar. A couple of years ago a co-worker was turkey hunting in Nebraska, and had stopped to rest on a fallen log. Suddenly he found himself face down in the dirt with a puma on top of him. Cat thought better of the attack (unless it was just playing as cats are wont to do) and took off, leaving my coworker shaken and a bit scratched, but otherwise unharmed.

    I've never seen 'em here in Colorado, but I have found pug marks from the creatures.
     
  17. harrygunner

    harrygunner Member

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    Mountain lions are my main concern here in Cali. I've seen two.

    The first was a large, beautiful lion about a hundred yards away from the group of people I was walking with. The cat looked at us while it strolled away.

    The more interesting encounter was when I was hiking alone and one raised itself up within a few yards of the trail I was on. I drew my Glock 29 and did a slow walk with the swiveled waist we learn in training. :eek:

    My legs were pointed down the trail as I swiveled to keep my eye and pistol on the lion. It simply settled back down into the grass. Their color is close to the tan/brown dry grass we have around here in the summer, they're virtually invisible. Its back had to be five feet long.

    I've never told the family about that encounter since they worry about my hiking alone as it is.
     
  18. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    "There are no mountain lions in WV, per DNR."

    Ya, that's what they said about the "Nittany Lion" (ya, it's an actual real critter!) in central PA ... until a few months ago when somebody found one.

    If they are there, you can bet your sweet bippy they are in WVA too, likely in even larger numbers.
     
  19. jeepmor

    jeepmor Member

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    This is why my woods gun is a 10mm and I buy an Oregon tag for ML every year. I don't really want to shoot one because I'll then have to have a rug made or have it mounted. That is not a cheap undertaking and would cut into my toy budget.

    However, given the opportunity and proper season window (closed July/August in OR) I'm not exactly sure I'd pass the opportunity up either. As long as the beast wasn't in the bottom of the Wallowa river canyon where we hunt or someplace similar. That's a long schlog out.

    I read of a similar story in the Oregon Strawberry Mtn range where a woman was followed by an ML during a hike. She located a local and they shot the cat because it had no fear of them and simply refused to run off after the typical scare techniques.
     
  20. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    I wish the story said the kind of gun/caliber he fired with... but considering the cat only weighed 60lbs, probably anything could have done the job.

    This is nothing to get freaked out about. The chances are so slim. I have spent a lot of my life roaming the wild parts of the Rocky Mtns in Cougar, Bear, Moose country and the only animal that has ever given me trouble out there was human.
     
  21. FourTeeFive

    FourTeeFive Member

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    There have been a few attacks in British Columbia. The cats used to be much more common in WA state 100 years ago.

    I personally think they're beautiful and impressive animals, and have no desire to kill one. However, I would certainly defend myself against one if necessary (and possible!). In this particular case, as has been stated, the guy put the poor sick animal out of its misery.
     
  22. FourTeeFive

    FourTeeFive Member

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    They are getting a bit friendly:

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/14847157/detail.html

     
  23. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    SCC reported that the cat the cops killed in Chicago weighed 140 pounds. I think they said 18 shots were fired at the cat, hitting it 16 times, and an A/C compressor twice.
     
  24. Arcticfox

    Arcticfox Member

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    Last month, one of my co-workers was working at a remote cell tower in CA. He was crouching down inspecting an air conditioning unit. He thought he felt something near his back, and when he looked over his shoulder, there was a cougar sniffing him!!!!! :what:

    It promptly ran away, thankfully.
     
  25. slow944

    slow944 Member

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    My brother and I took up Bow hunting in 95, we were on a lease in E. Tx. of about 85 acres. I had just gotten to my ladder stand at about 05:45 opening morning and was just settleing down when a cat screamed not far away. I'm here to tell you that every hair on my body stoodup. Even the ones I was sitting on. I remember thinking that I'm sitting here in the dark with a bow & arrow and I can't see shinola. About 11:30 my brother came to pick me up and asked if I'd heard the cat come by and I responded "Heck Yes". Seems the cat had crossed between us and when we found its tracks the paw prints were the size of a salad plate. Went and got my CHL and have been carrying ever since.
     
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