What started off as a relaxing fishing trip on the British Columbia Coast soon turned into a fight for survival after one angler was confronted by a hungry mountain lion.
Shawn Hanson of Vancouver Island was just about to cook up a recently-caught salmon near a Ucluelet beach on July 3 when he heard a yelp. The noise came from his young dachshund puppy, Bailey, who was being dragged into the bushes by a mountain lion. The cougar was a small one, but it was more than large enough to overpower the young dachshund pup. Hanson knew he had to react quickly to save his dog.
“I grab Bailey (puppy) with one hand, punch the cougar in the face with the other, and it releases its grip on her neck,” Hanson wrote on Facebook.
He later told CTV that the single blow was enough to leave the cat stunned and he started to hope that the encounter would be over.
“I was expecting it to start swatting at me and come at me, but I think it was pretty stunned to be hit,” Hanson said, but he added that he went back to his truck for his shotgun just in case.
“I run out of the bush holding the dog and handed her off to [a friend]. I run to the truck and grab the 12 guage and a box of shells and head back into the bush after this filthy bastard. I walk up a log and look into the bushes where I’d just had my tussle with it.”
Hanson then claimed that the cat just kept staring at him. He fired off a warning shot, but instead of bolting off into the bushes, the cougar came straight for him.
“I put a round right at its head, and it spun around still moving. I pumped 2 more at the body,” Hanson recalled.
After that, there was nothing more to do except call the conservation officers to report the incident. Authorities confirmed that a number of mountain lions have been prowling near the area for weeks and that residents were encouraged to protect themselves. According to conservation officer Brittany Mueller, it is unlikely that Hanson will face any charges.
“Every person has the right to protect their property and personal safety and in this case the cougar was failing to retreat,” Mueller said.
Hanson said that conservation officers indicated that larger cougars have been sighted in the area, which he did not encounter. Still, Hanson said he is concerned that others may run into a cougar and be caught off-guard.
“These guys are definitely hungry and not afraid of human contact. If they’re willing to come up and snatch my dog that’s only a foot away, they will attempt the same with a small child,” Hanson concluded.
Images in article text from Facebook