Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Teen with NRA Rifle Stops Lion killing his Cats

Courtesy photo from rapidcityjournal

A story that should be getting more attention is one out of the Black Hills of South Dakota. It doesn't get much more interesting than a depredating lion, a 14 year old hunter protecting the family livelihood, and a rifle won at an NRA raffle. The story has already been written by Tom Griffith. The article is well done. I do not want to steal the author's thunder. Here is an excerpt to the rapidcityjournal.com:
After a long, sad day, Streff’s youngest child, 14-year-old Dalton, who fancies himself a hunter, told his mother he was going to go sit in the backyard and await the return of the beast that had killed their young goat. The 5-foot-10, 130-pound, brown-haired teenager, who had previously completed a hunter’s safety course, brought with him his 30.06-caliber Remington rifle he won last year in an NRA raffle.
Lacking a proper blind in which to shelter himself from approaching critters, Dalton opted instead for a Little Tikes playhouse conveniently located in the backyard. There on a chair he sat, scanning the surrounding woodlands for the killer cat.
I grew up on reading the Jim Corbett stories of man eating cats. The famous hunter had those adventures in the India of the British Raj.  This young man's adventure has much in common with those stories. A big cat that is a danger to the community. A goat is taken, and the drama begins.

A major difference is the American farmers and villagers have guns and know how to use them. Big cats that become a danger to livestock and humans do not last very long.

Young Dalton is to be congradulated for showing grace under pressure, as did 12 year old Alyssa Caldwell in  who killed a mountain lion in self defense in New Mexico, on October 14th, 2014, almost exactly three years ago.

This week another lion was killed in Oregon as it was frequenting a mobile home park. Lions that become habituated to humans are likely to become dangerous.

Mountain lion attacks are rare. That is what makes them newsworthy. Humans are the dominant predator and are a more common danger.

A story about a young man, coming of age, who uses his newly acquired skills and weaponry (from the NRA, no less!) to end the predations of a big cat, is a story that strikes all of the right primal nerve endings.  We have Disneyfied the image of large predators. We have protected them so much they are again becoming a problem.  Most of the South Dakota lion problems are young lions that are attempting to find a range of their own.

There were good reasons our ancestors did not tolerate big predators around their farms, schools, and villages.

We are re-learning those lessons.

Congratulations to Dalton Streff.

Good job, young man. We are proud of you.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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