I must say I’d have shot that lion a lot sooner.
E. Donnall Thomas Jr. boasts of eating the mountain lions he hunts and speaks well of the experience. I find that surprising. I’ve eaten the meat of several carnivores at annual game dinners at the Yale Club of NYC, including African lion which I’d say tasted fishy mattress. None struck me as palatable at all. But he has tried moutain lion, and I have not.
Interestingly, he took Dave Quammen, a Yale classmate of mine whose made a prominent career as a Nature write, hunting. I read a terrific story by Quammen in the Yale Lit Freshman Year. He could write even back then.
[N]on-hunters—who make up around 80% of the general population—consistently show more favorable attitudes toward hunting when we eat what we shoot. One reason why lion hunting has proven such fertile ground for anti-hunting activists is the perception that cougars are hunted exclusively for their value as trophies. Unfortunately, there is some truth to this charge, and there shouldn’t be. In fact, as those who can overcome deep-seated but basically groundless cultural biases against eating cats are usually quick to discover, mountain lion meat is excellent.
When I prepared the backstraps from the first lion I shot and served them to family and friends, I did so out of a sense of obligation. I was raised to shoot what you eat and eat what you shoot. Since I wasn’t sure how deeply committed to that principle our dinner guests that night would be, I didn’t say much about the meat at the heart of the parmigiana until someone came right out and asked. By then it was too late for second thoughts, for everyone at the table had already declared it delicious.
Lion meat is lean, light, fine-grained and delicate, and can be prepared in any manner suitable for pork or veal. It has proven to be a consistent hit at our table, even when served to initially skeptical guests who knew full well what they were eating. It really is that good. Most states have specific meat salvage regulations on the books for big game, and a number of them, including my home states of Montana and Alaska, have expanded them to include non-traditional meat sources such as bear. There is no reason in the world not to extend these principles to include mountain lion. Doing so could well keep other states from following California’s unfortunate, biologically unjustified precedent.
Years ago, the nationally prominent writer David Quammen wrote a piece about mountain lions in the changing West for a wildlife publication to which we both occasionally contributed. The text included some mildly disparaging remarks about lion hunting which set me off even though they were neither totally unreasonable nor particularly vitriolic. I wrote a letter to the editor questioning the writer’s knowledge base and qualifications to write about the subject.
To his great credit, David contacted me, acknowledged that I had a point, and asked if I would take him mountain lion hunting. I replied that I would be delighted to do so and told him that if killing a cat would make him uncomfortable, I would be glad to provide a “catch-and-release” hunting experience, since I did a lot of that anyway. He bravely told me that if the goal was to inform him about lion hunting, that killing any cat we might tree should at least be an option.
He drove up from Bozeman one winter weekend, and we went hunting. The weather was brutal, but we covered a lot of ground by vehicle, skis, and foot. Even though we never cut a track, we learned that we had a remarkable amount in common. The high point of the experience for him was a mountain lion dinner prepared from a cat a friend had shot while hunting with me earlier in the month. We have remained good friends ever since, and he acknowledges that the experience changed his once skeptical attitude toward hunting.
So, if you are going to shoot a cougar, pack the meat off the mountain and eat it. You will enjoy the dining experience and be helping to secure the future of hunting with every bite.
Personally, I have a low opinion of the intelligence of people who go out in wilderness areas inhabited by large predators unarmed. His inane dialogue, “Dude!” had me rooting for the lion very soon.
If I were in his position, I’d have gotten fed up with that lion’s chutzpah early on and picked up a nice large rock or a stout stick and gone on the offensive. I suspect that lion would have run as soon as she saw a human bend over and pick up a rock. She certainly would have run if the human advanced on her with visible belligerent intent.
The nudists and vegetarians at the Mountain Lion Foundation, naturally, have rushed to defend that insolent lion’s behavior, and, of course, they think the millennial did exactly the right things. (groan!)
Black Bear, Black Bear (Cinnamon Phase), Grizzly Bears, Human Predation, Mountain Lion, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Wyoming
Hiker found dead on Mount Hood was likely killed by cougar. (ABC News 9/12):
The hiker who went missing on Mount Hood in late August and was found dead at the bottom of a ravine Monday was likely killed by a cougar, authorities said — a shocking twist in the missing persons case.
The body of Diana Bober, 55, was found Monday at the bottom of a 200-foot embankment on the famous Oregon mountain’s Hunchback Trail, the Clackamas County Sheriffâ€™s Office said Tuesday.
Bober was last seen on Aug. 29 when she went for a hike on the trail. Her backpack was found by two hikers on the following day and her car was left in a parking lot at the base of the mountain.
Ginseng hunter killed by black bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bear still at large. (wbir 9/12):
The body of 30-year-old William Lee Hill Jr. of Louisville, Tennessee, was found Tuesday afternoon two miles north of Cades Cove off Rich Mountain Road, according to a news release from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Park officials began searching for Hill when they were notified on Sunday that Hill was missing. He and a close friend had gone to the park on Friday to look for ginseng and were separated during the day, and Hill had not been heard from since. …
An adult male bear remained in the area where Hill’s body was found and showed aggressive behaviors for multiple hours as rangers recovered Hill’s body throughout Tuesday evening, the release said. Evidence of wildlife scavenging of Hill’s remains was visible.
Wildlife biologists reportedly came to the area, trapped the bear and recovered human DNA from it, the release explained. At that point, park officials said they decided to humanely euthanize the bear out of concern for public safety — but on Friday it was revealed the bear had not, in fact, been euthanized yet and was fitted with a GPS tracker.
Wyoming grizzlies kill hunting guide, maul client. (Jackson Hole Daily 9/16)
The grizzly bears suspected of fatally mauling outfitter Mark Uptain were trapped and killed early Sunday near the elk carcass that caused conflict on Terrace Mountain.
â€œWe killed two grizzly bears up there a little bit ago, and we have every reason to believe they are the offending bears,â€ Wyoming Game and Fish Department Jackson Regional Supervisor Brad Hovinga said around 10:45 a.m. Sunday. â€œThey fit the description.â€ …
[W]ildlife managers are not releasing all the details about what they believe occurred when Uptain and his bow-hunting client, Corey Chubon, were aggressively attacked by the pair of bruins Friday afternoon.
Hovinga surmised that the bears involved were a sow and its grown cub.
â€œThe behavior exhibited by these bears is abnormal behavior for a family group,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s not typically how we would see family groups behave.â€
Chubon, who was airlifted out of the Teton Wildness with leg, chest and arm injuries, reported to investigators that of the two grizzlies involved, only one was the aggressor. The Florida resident, who flew back home Saturday, told authorities that he was unable to fire a shot from a handgun he retrieved during the attack, but he threw the firearm to Uptain before departing the scene.
Late Saturday, Hovinga declined to discuss evidence collected at the scene, but he did say that bear-deterrent pepper spray was among the things the guide and client possessed. He said he â€œdidnâ€™t knowâ€ if the handgun was with Uptainâ€™s remains. The gun was not recovered immediately around where the attack took place, at the site of an elk Chubon had struck with an arrow Thursday. The guide and client did not locate and start to retrieve the elk until early the next afternoon.
The elk carcass was â€œundisturbedâ€ when it was located by Uptain and Chubon, which suggests that the bear was not necessarily food guarding â€” a common behavior that often leads to conflicts with humans, especially hunters.
New Mexico hunting guide kills attacking bear with Glock, deceased bear remains attached to his leg. (All Outdoor 9/14):
When a New Mexico hunting guide reportedly found himself the target of a bear, he dropped his phone and reached for his pistol. It would turn out to be one of the best decisions he ever made. An earlier decision, though, threatened to cost him his life.
Heâ€™d been working out his dogs in preparation for the upcoming hunting season when theyâ€™d struck a bearâ€™s trail. The only way to put an end to that was to catch up with his dogs, so he pursued, with family members following. As he approached the fight, he grabbed his not-fully-loaded pistol as he left his UTV.
As an afterthought, he took the GLOCK 20 10mm pistol from his vehicle and shoved it in his waistband behind his cowboy belt. It was loaded with 175 grain Hornady Critical Duty FlexLock loads. The magazine only had 10-12 rounds in it. A few months earlier, he had heard the theory of â€œspring setâ€ and decided not to keep the magazine fully loaded.
He approached the melee, expecting the bear to run at the sight of him. And when he spotted the bruin, he grabbed his phone to take some video of its unusual cinnamon coloration. But the bear had other ideas.
Bridgerâ€™s first thought was to get video. It would be an incredible image. Big cinnamon bears arenâ€™t common. The bear would run at any moment, once he saw or smelled the man. Bridger grabbed his phone.
That bear never read the rulebook. It didnâ€™t run. The bear saw Bridger, turned toward him, and flattened its ears back along its head. Its eyes had locked on Bridger. Heâ€™d watched hundreds of bears in similar situations and he knew heâ€™d been targeted. He dropped the phone and snatched the GLOCK from his belt.
A lot happened very fast, but for Bridger, everything slowed down as he went into tachypsychia. Itâ€™s a common occurrence in high stress life-or-death situations. The mind speeds up and events appear to be happening in slow motion. In reality, the person is acting faster than they ever have before.
The bear was coming for him. Bridger elected not to aim for the head. He didnâ€™t want to hit one of his dogs. He triggered two or three shots aimed at the bearâ€™s body. The bear started to spin, snapping at the wounds, about six feet away.
Bridger decided to retreat. He turned and hopped to the next boulder, then the next. He was mid air to the third when he saw dogs moving past him.
In his fast mind-state, he realized this was bad. As he landed and turned, the big GLOCK in his hand, and saw the bear coming at him like an over-sized NFL linebacker with claws and big, pointy teeth.
Before he could fire again, the bear hit him. They went over the edge of the shelf together, tumbling down a steep, rocky slope in mortal combat.
Although he has no memory of shooting as they fell, empty shells were later found along the path of their descent.
Bear and man stopped downslope, wedged into brush and boulders. Bridger could feel the bear and frantically attempted to disentangle. The bear reared erect, jaws ready to strike. Bridger shot him again, in the front of his chest before falling/sliding further down the slope. The bear pursued him. He screamed at Janelle to stay away.
Bridger tried to kick the bear away from him as it tried to get at his upper body. He couldnâ€™t shoot for fear of hitting his own legs.
The bear dodged a kick, and grabbed Bridgerâ€™s right inner thigh in its jaws, lifting him like a dog lifting a rabbit. Bridger shoved the muzzle of the GLOCK against the bears neck, trying to shatter its spine and shut the bear down. He fired.
The bear released his lower thigh, then grabbed his calf, just below the knee. The shot missed the spine. Man and bear are still moving fast, but in Bridgerâ€™s hyper-aware state, time slowed. He saw an opportunity for a headshot and pressed the trigger on the GLOCK.
Later, Bridger found bear hair between the guide rod and the slide of the G20 pistol. The hair prevented the slide from returning into battery. Bridger knew he should still have ammunition left in the magazine, so he racked the slide and saw a live round eject in slow motion.
Fractions of a second later, another opportunity for a head shot presented itself. The bear ripped at his leg. As the bear tried to tear off his calf muscle, Bridger saw his chance and pressed the trigger.
Man and bear went down together, rolling and sliding a bit further down the slope.
Although the bear was dead, its teeth were still hopelessly tangled in Bridgerâ€™s calf muscle. When rescue personnel arrived â€” quickly, thanks to his familyâ€™s close proximity at the time of the attack â€” they struggled and failed to free the meat from the fangs. Only after cutting the bearâ€™s head off with a pocket knife could they transport Bridger and his now-gray leg muscle.
NORTH BEND, Wash. â€” One man is dead and another has been injured in a cougar attack in Washington, authorities said Saturday.
The two men were on a morning mountain bike ride in the foothills near North Bend when the attack occurred, King County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott said.
The cougar ran into the woods, he said. The Seattle Times reported state officials tracked, shot and killed the cougar just before 3 p.m.
North Bend is about 30 miles east of Seattle. The injured victim, who is in his 40s, was airlifted to a hospital. He was initially listed in serious condition but has since been upgraded to satisfactory.
A search and rescue team has been dispatched to recover the body of the deceased man.
KIRO-TV reported that the injured man called 911 shortly before 11 a.m. and shouted, “Can you hear me? Help!” and then the call hung up.
Authorities found the cougar standing over the body of the dead biker, the station reported.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the two victims were biking together or separately.
That’s the Left Coast for you.
Coastal cities and suburbs densely inhabited by granola-crunching moonbats on bicycles exist just a short distance from genuine wilderness. The crunchies love the scenery and think nothing of going off into an out-of-doors shared with large predators unarmed, unprepared, and unaware.
In 1900, nobody would have considered going off into mountain lion country unable to defend himself. Today, the overwhelming majority of Left Coast-ers would not dream of carrying a gun, and a sizable percentage will protest the shooting of a man-eating mountain lion.
Mississippi Rebel reports that a New Mexico mountain lion tried stalking a young girl from Odessa, Texas. Unfortunately for the lion, the little girl was deer hunting and carrying a .30-06.
A twelve-year-old girl killed a mountain lion that was threatening to attack her on a hunting trip in New Mexico.
Alyssa Caldwell was hunting elk with her father in October when he left her alone to gather some gear. Almost immediately, she noticed that something was wrong.
â€œI already had a feeling that something was watching me or something, but I didnâ€™t see the cat until it was close,â€ she said.
Just feet away, a mountain lion crouched ready to attack. Although she had never shot anything bigger than a white tailed deer, Caldwell knew exactly what to do. She raised her brand new .30-06 and fired, killing the animal instantly.
â€œI just raised up my gun and shot it point blank long ways through the body because it was facing me when I shot,â€ she told CBS News. â€œThe cat instantly flopped over right there, of course I kept my gun on it just in case it got up or something like that.â€
Her father came running back, thinking she had downed an elk. When he realized what had happened, he fell to his knees and â€œgot emotional,â€ Alyssa says.
â€œI definitely could have died,â€ she added. â€œIt was probably like seconds away from pouncing on me.â€