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.

Shawn Hanson and the young cougar that tried to eat his dog.
Shawn Hanson and the young cougar that tried to eat his dog.

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.

A size comparison between the cougar and Hanson's shotgun.
A size comparison between the cougar and Hanson’s shotgun.

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

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  • I just though. I’d put in my two cents on the story of the mountain lion that dude had every rite to save his dog but he’s an asshole for going back over to it with his gun and blasting it wtf he saved the dog walked away then stay away the Damn animal was hungry I’m sure if he Stayed away the lion would have eventually left

  • “McStud” couldn’t handle this emaciated cougar kitten? That thing must have weighed no more than 30 pounds. I agree with the above comment. He saved his dog, but overreacted with the gun afterwards. If I had a nickel for every time someone used that tired old “they’ll come after your kids next!” BS….

  • Robin Parks

    Now that I’m done foaming at the mouth, allow me to throw cold water on this numbnuts’ wet-dream fantasy experience: It wasn’t a “fight for survival”. That plays well to some of the readership, but it wasn’t, and you know it; If you are in known cat country (which you were and you knew it) you keep the damn dog on a leash or contained…that’s called “being smart”; If your mighty punch had the cat dazed, all you needed to do was get the dog and walk away, but, no, you couldn’t do that, could ya? You knew you had that gun, and that killing a cat (even a half starved cub) would do for you what Viagra can’t, and would make a great story told around the campfire, in the dark, with others, enjoying male bonding rituals; Some of your account defies known cat behavior. You wacked a half starved cub and it charged at you, after a “warning shot”? I’m calling you out on that one. Possible, yes. Likely, no, not at all. And as to all of us arming ourselves to protect our kids, did the good Ranger educate you on how many kids have been killed by cougars in all of North America since about 1895 (as opposed to those killed by dogs every year) If not, she should have. “Filthy bastard”, you say? Yes, the term applies here, but not to the cat.

  • Robin Parks

    Ok. Let me try this again so I can get it past the censors:
    This was NOT a “fight for survival”…no way, no how, let’s admit it.
    He knowingly brought his dog into cougar country and (it seems) didn’t have it leashed or protected. COME ON!
    Once he dazed the cat with a mighty blow, all he had to do was get the dog and walk away. He chose not to, because he wanted to kill the cat. He went out his way to get the shotgun so he could do so.
    A dazed, emaciated, mountain lion cub that has just seen & heard a shotgun go off in close proximity does not “charge”. The odds of this happening are virtually nil, and that story needs a closer look by people who can and want to dig out the facts and the truth.
    You fear mountain lions go after kids? Do some research on just how many kids have been killed in all of North America since 1895…then compare that to the number killed by dogs.
    He used the term “filthy bastard”. The term applies, but not so much to he cat.

  • I just love you armchair wizards….You sit on your deadasses in the safety of your house and then get on a machine and tell the man he’s a liar….You POS’s got more guts than you can string on a fence….Do the world a favor…go hug a rabid racoon…….

    • Johanna

      Both myself and Robin have over 20 years combined experience with mountain lions and their natural habitat. I personally hike solo in lion habitat at least once a week, and I don’t carry a gun and I weigh about 120 pounds soaking wet. No problem. The rhetoric about mountain lions being dangerous has gotten way out of control and I need to counter it whenever I can. Statistics don’t lie. Look them up, if you’re able to Google.

  • raz

    i agree with everybody above. if i had done this, i certainly would not tell anyone. his mother should be ashamed. mine would surely have been. bwack. bwack. bwack.

    gelato. raz

  • Mark

    Gentlemen,
    I the comfort of our homes and with calm, subdued analysis, perhaps this does appear to be overkill.
    Indeed, the dog should have been on a leash, or better yet, not in close proximity of wild cats.
    That being said, take a small dog, mix with cougar (any size), throw in adrenaline, blood, and cries from dog, then compress in about 30-90 seconds. We’re judging this man on his actions/ reactions to a volatile situation that occurred within a narrow slice of time. OK-we’re all manly men, and would have simply walked away…perhaps. Before you judge this man, think about the global scenario. Heart rate probably 140 BPM, pupils dilated, mouth dry, whining dog, muscles taut, … Some will say naughty kitty, go home!, some might throw rocks and curse, some will need a quick change of shorts, I personally think the man probably has above average serum testosterone for taking a swing at the cat. He’s still welcome in my camp anytime.

    • Johanna

      I appreciate your thoughtful response and agree the guy was stressed. I have dogs myself and would be out of my mind if something happened to them. However 51% of the population is female and we tend to not have the same testosterone fueled reactions. The guy needed a shotgun to fend off a starving, underweight kitten. Really? Did you look at the size of it in the photo?

    • Robin Parks

      Well, Mark, I think you give him far more credit than he is due, but your take on this DOES start to cut through the BS. There was indeed a lot more adrenalin in play here (probably not testosterone, given his wet-his-pants terror at seeing a half starved cougar kitten) than any “fight for survival” or valiant efforts to save his dog (he already did that well before shooting the cat). What he did do was, after he disengaged from the threat, after both he and his dog were safe, he got this gun and went back to kill the cat. And do you really believe the cat charged after all that? No, I don’t think you do.
      He went back to kill the cat because doing so, even to a half starved kitten, would give him standing at the bars or around the campfire (where, I’m sure the cat will get bigger with the telling of the tale…sorta like the fisherman’s claim “the beast was a long as he boat)….standing that he otherwise doesn’t have.
      If facing this emaciated cat was the most fearsome thing he’ll ever face in life, he will do well. And aren’t we ALL glad, VERY glad, that he’s not a cop where in a fraction of a second he might have to make shoot/don’t shoot decisions….even after he has disengaged from the threat and is safely away from it?
      You intimated in your remarks that “manly man” might not really apply here. You got that right.
      He may be welcome at your campfire, but not mine. If you do let him in, I wouldn’t let anybody tell ghost stories…if he has access to weapons, no telling what he might do….

  • Ann Wiley

    Why would anyone take a puppy out into wild habitat unleashed or at all? This is the cougar’s home and fisherman Shawn set out a dinner plate for the hungry little kitten to catch. What an ass. He should be charged with animal cruelty to his dog, unnecessary slaughter of an immature cougar and extreme stupidity and cowardliness. What a baby.