Fifty-eight-year-old Rod Noah of Chattaroy, Washington has been buying mountain lion tags for years. He never expected he would be harvesting his first cougar this season, and he certainly did not expect to take two with one shot. According to The Spokesman-Review, Noah was hunting elk with Ben Hendrickson, 36, when the sportsmen inadvertently called in a pair of mountain lions. Noah had never even seen one before in the wild, much less taken a shot at one.

“I didn’t hesitate at the chance,” he told the Review.

After one of the cats disappeared into the foliage, Noah drew his bow and hit the other cougar right behind its front leg. The animal jerked and then broke for cover. It was when Noah and Hendrickson found what they presumed was their target’s carcass that they knew something had not gone according to plan.

“We look at the cat and the wound is right in the middle of his chest,” Noah explained. “I said, ‘That’s not right.’”

The two hunters clearly remembered the shot taking the cat broadside. Noah retraced the blood trail and found something that both surprised and worried him. Only a few feet away was another mountain lion with an arrow wound through its side. As it turns out, Noah’s shot had passed entirely through one cougar and struck the other directly behind it. Both were male and weighed around 100 pounds.

It made for a grand story, but Noah’s next thought was about the fact that he had only one cougar tag. The hunter could technically be cited for bagging one more mountain lion than he was legally allowed to, even though it was under unusual circumstances. Noah and Hendrickson decided to do the right thing and call the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The officer who arrived, Severin Erickson, was equal parts impressed and understanding.

“I thought it was pretty cool what happened and that they called us. I allowed his hunting partner to use his tag on the other cougar so the animal wouldn’t be wasted,” Erickson told the Review.

Although no citation was given, Erickson still had to issue Noah a warning. Since he believed that the shot was an honest mistake and because the hunters were so prompt in reporting the incident, no further penalties were warranted.

It is unusual to see two male mountain lions together. Cougars are solitary creatures and typically only come together for mating, which can occur year-round. Otherwise, individual mountain lions will stick to their own territories. The territories of females may overlap, and in many instances these animals are found to be related to one another. Males, on the other hand, rarely interact with members of their own sex and jealously guard their territories against other males. Mountain lions without a territory, also known as transients, can wander long distances and often stray across human settlements. When a mountain lion dies, its territory is taken by a transient or a young cougar leaving home.

You can read OutdoorHub’s interview with Noah here.

Image courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police

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12 thoughts on “Washington Hunter Bags Two Cougars with One Arrow

  1. follow up request. I am writing an article on hunting ethics. I write for many hunting and shooting magazines. I would like to know why Erickson was obliged to issue a warning and I would like to know what reasoning Erickson used to determine that Noah made a mistake. As a general rule, ethical behavior is often influenced by expectations as a possible consequence of that behavior. A hunter in this situation who thinks that the officer will be unreasonable and or punitive will have no incentive to act ethically. This is a key point in hunting ethics. I would appreciate someone contacting me. michaelsabbeth@ymail.com

    1. I feel that the officer had every right to issue a warning to the honest hunter. The hunter decided to take a shot without knowing what was behind his target. Isn’t that basic knowledge in ethical hunting? I do, however, applaud the officer for his leniency. If it were I that had an adrenaline induced lapse of clear judgement, I would appreciate a bit of mercy.

  2. That was a leveled headed judgement call by the officer. It is nice to know that there are still a few law officers that are human themselves. In Arizona the motto for G&F is “there is no excuse for ignorance” whether you be an honest citizen and turn yourself in or get caught you would be filletedd and fried with huge fines, revoking of licsense and possible jail time.

  3. If you are traveling through a state that requires a tag light, and you are stopped, the officer must issue a warning citation. Why? Because if you decide to stay awhile, and you get stopped again, the warning citation will show when the officer pulls up your information. Your warning citation shows the date and time of issue. i.e. March 1, 2013. Today, you have been stopped again for the same violation. i.e. March 12, 2013. Needless to say, you will be ticketed. Why? Because you had 12 days to repair or install a tag light.
    The officer cited the man for reference to any future questionable events. Would you agree that a report like this, say, next year or the following, would seem suspicious? Your records are checked and what do you know about that! 2 cats with one shot! Just like last year! Only in a different part of the state. Allowing his friend to use his tag on the other cat was not a judgment call, but was illegal. However, everyone went home happy! I have worked with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) for several deer seasons now. We have had all kinds of stories. Some ridiculously funny and others just ridiculous. One I have heard more than once is; ” No Sir! I wasn’t shooting from the road.” “Hum. Then why are these empty casings laying on your wipers?”

    1. Depending on the state, the Game Enforcement Officers are given leeway on some situations. As a Hunter Education instructor, I am well known by all the Officers in this part of Wyoming, and have seen most of them in the field. We have discussed unusual situations like this one, and the officers will look at the scene, and determine if what was said matched with the statements. There are cases where a mistake requires certain types of punishment. But it is my experience that most Game Officers know who the “usual suspects” are, and those that are doing their best to obey the rules and regulations.

      I have had 2 “2 for 1” Pronghorn Antelope in Rifle season. In the first case, I missed seeing one laying down behind the one I was shooting at. If the officer had chosen, I would have been guilty of “taking without a license” since I only had one license. Since I reported it, and asked the Officer what to do, I was able to get it to someone who wanted the meat and had a license.

      The second was the most unusual for me in that my wife, son, and I had all been looking at the antelope I shot. None of us saw the other antelope, and when we dressed it, we found that the wounds were in exactly the same position on each animal, even to going through the heart on each. I did not know it but the officer was watching when we took it, but again we were given a “verbal” warning to look more carefully next time. Then he said that he had also had the same thing happen.

      My usual interaction with the Officers is to stop, hand them my licenses and disabled hunting permit (they already know I have it), along with those for anyone with me. Then we talk about where the game is hiding, how spooked they are, and how each other’s family is. I would not want to hurt the relationship I have with these hard working Officers, and appreciate the friendship we have.

  4. hmmm two arrows fired.. two cougars killed.. both shots were good side shots.. one cougar killed head on.. only one cougar in view at any time.. yes an honest mistake

  5. The game wardens here in AZ are some of the best.
    Contrary to what the other person said the Azgfd operates with dignity and flexibility. Every time I have been checked for a tag or stopped while fishing the officers have been as friendly and courtious as possible. They sometimes must issue a warning or fine or penalty, but it is a matter of procedure not a personal assault on someone’s rights. This officer acted as required and also took in to consideration the evedence he found and the story of the hunter. He must issue a warning out of procedure no other reason. Anyone who bad mouths the officer should re read their local fish and game regulations very closely.

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