Sunday, December 24, 2017

IA: 17-Year-Old Shoots Mountain Lion in Self Defense

Jake Altena was hunting deer in Iowa, on private property near the Little Sioux River.  Jake is 17 years old. He started hunting when he was 12. On Saturday, 9 December, he heard a noise. He carefully and quietly investigated the origin of the sound. From
Armed with a Savage bolt-action 20 gauge shotgun, Altena found an uprooted tree that appeared to have enough clearance for a person or creature to be able to move underneath the branches.

“I was about 15 feet away and a mountain lion poked his head out and it was looking at me dead in the eyes,” he said.

“I immediately pulled my gun on him; I was pretty scared at the moment. When I had him in my sights, he kind of made a quick jump at me and I instantly pulled the trigger.”
The shot hit the creature in the shoulder and fatally wounded it.
Shot at close range in the front of the chest, it is clear the big cat was coming at Jake.  The projectile appears to have traveled lengthwise in the body without exiting.  A 20 gauge slug has plenty of power for most big game in North America.

Only shotguns were legal for hunting deer in Iowa until 2017, when rifles shooting straight walled pistol cartridges were added to the the list of legal firearms available to deer hunters. Jake's 20 gauge is camouflaged and has a telescopic sight. It has been designed and manufactured for big game hunting.

After the Department of Natural Resources reviewed the law, they returned the lion to Jake. He intends to have it mounted.  It is one of only five mountain lions that have ever been recorded as shot in Iowa, according to the Department.

There is no law in Iowa that prohibits the shooting of mountain lions. In the United States, conceived in liberty, everything that is not forbidden is allowed. In some countries, the philosophic basis of government is that anything not allowed, is forbidden.

 It is legal to shoot mountain lions anywhere in the United States, in self defense.

Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. They have increased in the last few decades as the lions have been protected. Mountain lion populations are increasing. The lions are extending their range into areas frequented by humans.

Only a tiny number of humans have been recorded as being killed by mountain lions. There were 10 fatal attacks recorded between 1890 and 1924, three from 1949 to 1953, and 14 fatal attacks since 1971.

Two mountain lions were killed as they attacked hunters in 2017.  Dylan Ross shot a lion that attacked him in Colorado, on five November, 2017, while he was hunting mule deer. Jake shot his cat on nine December, a little over a month later.  Both of those attacks happened at extremely close range, 16 feet for Dylan, 15 feet for Jake.

The odds of being attacked by a mountain lion are tiny, but improbable things happen. It does not matter if they are rare, if they happen to you. In overall numbers, you are tens of thousands of times more likely to be attacked by a human than a mountain lion. The estimates of mountain lion numbers in the United States are about 30,000. There are about 330 million humans, or about 11,000 humans for each mountain lion. Fortunately, most of those humans are concentrated in large cities. 

Jake and Dylan have fantastic hunting stories to tell the grand kids, and pictures to prove they were real.

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

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

I saw two different mountain lions in my back yard taking things out of my burn barrel. I reported the to the local game rangers. a game ranger came to my house to make a report. I showed him the tracks and he said No those tracks are from a really big dog. I watched the cats make the tracks. about a half hour later I got a call from the ranger station telling me about the fine and jail time for shooting a mountain lion. I told him If the lion did not exist it would not be missed. They had the scent of my children and were frequently in the yard. About a month later the game ranger that told me the tracks were a large dog saw me at the grocery STORE AND TOLD ME A FARMER HAD REPORTED THE SAME TWO I DISCRIBED SO THEY PUT TRAPS OUT , CAUGHT THEM AND MOVED THEM OUT OD THE AREA. that was several years ago, they are back. they travel in a 500 mile circle. My house cat was setting on the arm of my rocker recliner looking out the open window when a mountain lion paw tried to snag him through the open window. I have fairly high windows so that is a big cat. I have to let my dog out several times a day. At night I scan the yard with a flash light and keep a 357 mag handy. any thing in the yard with eyes will be spotted from the flash light reflection.

Anonymous said...

Dean: Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

I just traded a shotgun for a 185 pound compound action cross bow the damn bolts/arrows are 15 dollars a piece. it will easily take a deer.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to Dean and all. thanks for your work Dean.