Man kills mountain lion after attack at Mono Lake

Press release

Eastern Sierra Mono County Mt. Lion Encounter

On Feb 24 2017 at approximately 1500 hours a hunter who had been hunting near the north shore of Mono Lake for coyotes had a mountain lion encounter.

The hunter was wearing camouflage clothing lying on his stomach on top of a small knoll blowing on a distressed rabbit call when he heard a noise behind him. As the hunter looked over his shoulder he saw a mountain lion had jumped in the air and was coming toward his head.

While lying on the ground the hunter threw up his arms in order to protect his head. The lion landed on the hunter’s head, sprung free and ran towards the north. The hunter, being in fear for his life fired two shots striking the lion. He returned to his vehicle and notified DFW Officers.

The hunter sustained a minor injury to the back left side of his head that did not break skin. The hunter sought medical treatment from Mammoth Lakes Hospital and initiated the rabies shot series.

Evidence from the scene was collected and sent to DFW’s Wildlife Investigations Lab in Sacramento. The lion will be necropsied and tested for zoological diseases including rabies.

An analysis of the tracks found at the scene of the incident left a very clear picture of the event and how it unfolded. It appeared the lion was responding to the distressed rabbit call and the encounter resulted in the hunter possibly being mistaken for prey by the lion.

Given the circumstances, the lion likely mistook the hunter for an injured rabbit and given the suddenness of the attack the hunter responded in fear for his life. The Department will not be filing any charges for the take of the mountain lion.

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63 Responses to Man kills mountain lion after attack at Mono Lake

  1. Derel Swanson May 22, 2018 at 8:48 am #

    The mountain lion pounced, got confused, and ran AWAY. The mountain lion should NOT have been shot. Any person who owns a gun, and would shoot an animal that is running away, is not mentally stable enough to be in possession of a gun, imo, whether that person was “attacked” 10 seconds ago, or not. I’ve been a lifelong hunter here in the swamps of Louisiana since I was 8 years old. What’s going on here is clearly a bunch of people with no real experience, commenting on something they know very little about.

  2. Low Inyo March 28, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

    Dona…..I agree with you,but it ain’t going to happen….two reasons….first,it would put the hunted animal on too much of an even keel with the hunter without his “calling devices” to lure the pray to him….and second,could you only imagine the NRA crying and whining if anyone even suggested such a thing?,and trying to take everyone’s guns and rights away…’s no longer the American way hunting now the way it used to be….now it’s lure the animal to you,or sit on a tailgate of a truck with a 6 pack of Bud in a deer migration area, or waiting outside enclosed gates and fences for the elk to move out of a viewing area….then start shooting the rifle,followed by shooting the cameras and selfies for a facebook post.

  3. Dona March 27, 2017 at 9:42 pm #

    BAN CALLING DEVICES! Coyote calling devices are not fair sport and hunters cannot be surprised when a predator responds to a false call.

  4. Low Inyo March 10, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

    GT….Where does it say he was white ?

    • Pedro March 12, 2017 at 6:10 pm #


      Maybe it was an albino lion.

  5. GT March 10, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    If it had been a Great Brown Hunter , Or a Great Red Hunter, Or a Great Black Hunter i guess everything would be just DANDY huh ?

  6. BobK March 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    $100 bet is still on.

  7. Low Inyo March 6, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    BobK……What in the hell are you talking about,MLB forums ?…..think you might have me mixed up with one of those protesters,getting “paid” $1,500.00 a day by the Democrats to clog the city streets with signs and chants….or maybe one of those involved in the conspiracies and bugging trump’s hotels and resorts….I’m not anti-hunter…..when it’s actual hunting…and speaking of hunting,maybe YOUR the one that should be getting a life,if your spending your days and time looking into who I am,what I might be saying on other web-sites,or remembering and going back to an incident I,along with many others,don’t believe to this day involving the “bear attack” in the Alabama Hills….as far as evidence to show no mountain lion attack at Mono Lake,show me one time ever a cougar attack on a man’s head without breaking the skin…..maybe you should go back to your trump existence and his saving the world….

  8. BobK March 5, 2017 at 9:25 pm #

    Lo Inyo: I’ll take that bet $100 if you can produce any evidence at all to show that this man, a Lee Vining local, did this as a stunt or in any illegal way whatsoever. Law enforcement has already cleared him and the only people that are making claims to the contrary are the usual anti hunting LIBERALS like yourself that condemn any one that does not believe as they do and have no use in the truth in the 1st place. The truth doesn’t matter to you, remember when you reported on the Bear in the Alabama Hills….Pure fiction. Without a computer to hide behind, you would cease to exist. You couldn’t even keep your hate of people unlike you off of a MLB forum. Get a life.

  9. Eric G March 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

    Mountain Lions/Coyotes don’t kill deer for sport, they kill because thats part of their food supply. The predator population can only grow a large as it’s food supply will allow. If the food supply is low, the lions won’t be able to eat and the lion population will shrink. I’m sure there will be plenty of deer around this fall for the hunters.

  10. BobK March 3, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    So many Disneyland/ Fantasy land people on this sight anymore. No wonder Mono county went blue. Each Mountain Lion eats multiple deer each week and Coyotes feast on new born fawns. Go ask your local biologist.And all you want to do is blame the hunter instead of dealing with the real problems. Wait til after this years run off and the extent of the deer kill is realized and see what the lions eat before they starve… But some of you will just blame Trump and the nasty Republicans

    • Low Inyo March 4, 2017 at 5:19 pm #

      BobK……kinda like they blamed President Obama for 8 years of everything,huh ?….the “hunter?”….what “hunter”?… mean the guy lying on the ground play-pretending to be a wounded rabbit ?….not a real hunter in my world….besides,the story is fishy….mountain lions don’t pounce and miss with their teeth and/or claws on someones or somethings head from 5 feet without breaking the skin….if he was indeed REALLY attacked….no attack here….lying on the ground playing rabbit…..seeing a mountain lion nearby….shooting and killing it….and,again,play-pretending,making up a story saying he was attacked,fearing some kind of penalty for killing the lion… much ya wanta bet he had a photo-op and/or selfie taken with the dead lion before he “rushed” himself to the emergency room ?

  11. Daniel Boonedoggle March 3, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    Why are all these rugged mountain folk so terrified of the animals that live around them?

    They actually sound more like city folk, lying awake worrying about coyotes, and lions, and bears, oh my.

    Very simple rule for life in the woods: don’t mess with the animals and they won’t mess with you.

  12. Matthew Duncan March 3, 2017 at 2:48 am #

    Hope the brave coyote hunter survives his ‘injury’ that did not even break the skin.

  13. DESCO March 2, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    So, a guy wearing camo that makes him invisable, laying on his stomach and blowing into something that mimics a dying rabbit is surprised when a big cat jumps on his head. Not his feet, not his ass but his head where the sound is coming from. As soon as the cat realizes it’s mistake it runs away. I used to be a hunter. I rarely got something on the first shot. But always on the second.

  14. D. March 2, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

    See I believe the reason why they don’t identify the man is because although he didn’t so anything illegal there’s still some people that believes he shouldn’t have killed the lion even after being attacked and bit in the head by it. If thats not enough then people probably would harass him and who knows maybe his family… everyone is entitle of their own opinion but there will be people that cross that line …… and like any good lawyer would know…harassment is a crime. 😉

    • Allen Berrey March 3, 2017 at 8:39 am #

      Perhaps; but if the DF&W was so concerned that this person would be harassed, maybe it shouldn’t have issued the press release in the first place.

      And if harassed, the hunter can call the local constabulary for protection and/or seek a restraining order.


  15. Eric G March 2, 2017 at 7:13 pm #

    Sounds like he should have just drove on over to Bridgeport. Could have shot a few coyotes from his truck.

  16. Allen Berrey March 2, 2017 at 8:20 am #

    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife spent public money investigating this incident, including the cost of a necropsy on the deceased lion.

    So, why does the press release not identify the individual who caused the public to incur this expense?

    If it were a couple of lost hikers rescued on the public dime, we would know all about them.

    But a “hunter” who causes an investigation into his questionable conduct gets to remain anonymous.



    • sugarmags March 2, 2017 at 11:50 am #

      certainly their report should be available to the public, yes?

    • Barry March 6, 2017 at 8:29 am #

      Nothing he did was questionable. Why should his name be released, so a bunch if ignorant, hateful, anti-freedom, lowlifes can threaten this man and his family?

      I wish the man a speedy and healthy recovery.

  17. Mono Person March 2, 2017 at 7:45 am #

    All this talk about coyotes…I live in Bridgeport, we are currently overrun by coyotes. They sometimes need to slim down the population, so why not let people go out and hunt them? Or do you want the coyotes to eat your precious seagull eggs?

    Whether you like it or not, sometimes man has to intervene to maintain the proper amount of predictors and prey.

    • Mono county person March 2, 2017 at 10:36 am #

      Very true but these people don’t live in the area to understand. …. they’re clueless…

      • Mono Person March 2, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

        And it is very hard to “argue” with people that have no idea about our area. We are not trying to be ruthless individuals or trying to destroy our environment. There is truth and then there is “fairyland” – we live in truth…

  18. Low Inyo March 1, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    Way I think about it,if you want to be a “hunter”,then hunt the real and old fashion way,not lying down pretending to be a wounded animal….for others,not using dogs to run bear or cougars up trees,then drive your truck to the location…get off your butt,start walking or hopping on a horse,and hunt the way it was intended to be….and for food on the table,not some selfie-photo-op to show your friends…this guy here,can’t blame him for shooting the cougar,but all could have been avoided if he weren’t playing wounded rabbit….Mr.hunter,if you feel the need to shoot coyotes, why not put on your boots and take a walk looking for them in the future.

    • Barry March 6, 2017 at 8:25 am #

      Might I suggest that since you’ve never been out in the wilderness and haven’t got the first clue about hunting, you would be better off not making such an ill-informed, ignorant statement.

      • Low Inyo March 6, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

        Barry……I used to be a hunter…..bagged a deer outside of Bridgeport X-12 zone,,place called Volcanic Butte…which included a lot of hiking getting to and bringing the buck back… a buck in Oregon,a place called Peppermint Creek….another long walk included in that hunt,to and from….I’ve spent plenty of time in the wilderness….yep,believe it or not,even Liberals like to camp,fish and hunt…not all grouped and classified into the ignorant right-wingers view of being seen as anti-hunters and tree-huggers… on the other hand,have I ever lied down in a field with a wounded animal game call waiting on prey….nope….have I ever sat on the tailgate of my truck with a beer,running my dogs to tree-up a bear, then drive up to and shoot it,then take selfies to show my friends and post on facebook…..nope….nowdays,no more hunting for me,in fact a deer’s best friend,more than a time or two getting into an area, shooting off a loud high powered rifle into the air the night before deer season opens,getting those big bucks scampering into the high country,making those “hunters” do a little bit of walking the next morning instead of their driving dirt roads up to,seeing,shooting,selfie-facebook time,loading up and coming home with macho-stories to be telling their guy-friends…..those big bucks love me now….

  19. Eric G March 1, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    Why was he hunting coyotes?

    • Barry March 6, 2017 at 8:21 am #

      Because it’s a legal, ethical activity. Maybe he was trying to save all of those bunnies, birds, deer, etc from being ripped apart by coyotes? Maybe he was trying to get rid of the rabid, mangey, diseased varmints? Maybe he needed to sell the pelt to put food on his table.

      I find it so interesting that those who preach acceptance and open mindedness are the first to judge this man for partaking in a legal, ethical activity. Hypocrites.

      • Keli Hendnricks March 27, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

        Preventing predators from eating their natural prey is not doing the world a favor. Nature is pretty adept at managing itself and doesn’t require the help of some camo clad moron that probably didn’t make it past the 8th grade. Its just an attempt to put a noble spin on a cruel and pointless act. Something predator hunters do all the time.

  20. KT March 1, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    Pretty clear the mountain lion attacked the man. If something attacks you what’s your reaction? If attacked my child and I had something to protect myself I would without a doubt . These are wild animals not pets. You don’t know if it would turn around and keep attacking . Let’s see you In a situation like this then you let me know ok!

    • Alice Chan March 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

      KT, you won’t see me in a situation like this because I would never pretend to be a wounded rabbit so that I could lure in some coyotes to shoot.

      • KT March 1, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

        I won’t see you in a situation like this cause either you don’t live in the area or if you do you probably stay home and don’t go hiking anywhere around here. If do your research there are several cases of mountain lions attacks in the US not only motivated by a rabbit call. Mountain lion attacks have happened to kids, runners , hikers, people camping and people that are simply enjoying life and having a good time outdoors. But I’m sure that’s not your case and you will never be in this situation seems like……

        • Alice Chan March 2, 2017 at 7:25 am #

          KT, clearly you didn’t read what I said. It doesn’t matter if I live in the area or not, but as it happens, I lived there for two decades. Never once in that time did I pretend to be a wounded rabbit so I could lure in some coyotes to shoot. So no, even though I lived there, you would not have seen me in that situation. But I’m pretty sure you won’t read this comment either, since you have a preconceived notion about people who don’t kill animals for fun. As for mountain lions attacking people, what do you expect to happen when you invade their territory and pretend to be their prey?

          • Mono Person March 2, 2017 at 8:22 pm #

            Do you know he was hunting for “fun” or to reduce the population of coyotes?

      • Noname March 2, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

        Alice-again I ask you were you but your meat from? Than go some research on what they do to those animals to be able to put that meat into your table at night!!

        • KT March 2, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

          Good question no name!! People like Alice don’t understand it. People that don’t like hunters are hypocrites because most of them do buy their meat in the store and dont think how that got there…..Most hunters kill the animal to eat like venison, elk, wild turkey, ducks etc. Then hunters that kill coyotes are probably controlling population because coyotes in pack attack deer, birds,etc. Now I bet these people have never seen a coyote attack deer or their fawn. … Im done trying to argue with these people …

          • Low Inyo March 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

            KT….Bull….most now-days “hunters” do it to “selfie” themselves with their kill on facebook…not for meat on the table for their families….nothing like it used to be….getting the zone-tag…packing up your truck….getting to the area you have scouted out….go for a hike with rifle in hand,and hunt down the animal…and then,if successful,gutting and getting it back….now,it’s more like the “virtual hunt” video games,make it easy as possible with as little work and hiking as you can…and when home again,it’s six-pack time with their friends and co-workers telling of your “outdoor adventures”..or as “KT” tries to hint at further above,trying to protect women and children from these violent predators ready to pounce and kill anyone in sight …not much sport involved anymore at all….just around-the-table macho-talk….

        • Matthew Duncan March 3, 2017 at 2:54 am #

          Noname, Do some research about the concept of veganism.

          • D. March 3, 2017 at 10:48 am #

            Matthew, being vegan or vegetarian is a choice that alot of people make and should be respected as well you wouldn’t like people being mean to you for your choice .Then yes these people did some research to find out how the meat from the store got there. However others criticize hunters but yet they do eat meat and enjoy it…so they’re being hyprocates… I think that’s no names point.
            Now the guy clearly wasn’t hunting lions I’m not sure why people can’t understand that. And even if youre a vegan let me ask you… what would you do if a mountain lion bit your head? What natural instinct/ reaction would you have ? …..

        • sugarmags March 4, 2017 at 9:16 am #

          noname…are you suggesting that the person who was attacked was going to eat the coyote? I thought most coyote hunters just use the pelt and tail.

  21. KT March 1, 2017 at 8:46 am #

    People are idiots.. oh let’s save the cat!!! Til…one of them attack their child , or their wife, or their teenage son or daughter, or their pets, or their husband, or their mother n kill them. Then …oh then I wanna see them saying Oh let’s save the cat!!!

    • Alice Chan March 1, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

      It’s pretty clear from the report that the mountain lion was running away from the hunter when the hunter shot him. The mountain lion posed no threat to the man at that point.

      • sugarmags March 1, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

        True, but I’m sure his adrenaline was pumping….I don’t think any of us can say how we would have reacted at that moment. It’s pretty clear that the mountain lion didn’t want any part of attacking a man, that he appeared smaller while hunched down, making a dying rabbit sound. But, the fight or flight response invoked by the attack can hardly be criticized.

        I have to have faith that the man wasn’t attempting to lure the mountain lion in and that the proof of the attack is as stated by wildlife officials.

        And while many of us have disdain for hunting coyotes, it is a legal action that some enjoy.

      • Noname March 2, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

        Alice- I want to see an animal attach your head that weights 3 times, or more, than your do. I want to see your reaction!!! Will you “hug” it and call it cute!!!!

        • sugarmags March 4, 2017 at 9:14 am #

          I want to see Alice with a head 3 times her body weight too…well, not really, but that would look funny.

        • Keli Hendnricks March 27, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

          Mountain lions do not weigh 3 times more than a man. Most are around 110 pounds – 150 ism pretty big lion.

  22. Elmer Fudd March 1, 2017 at 7:44 am #

    Which of God’s fearsome creations was Great White Hunter hunting anyway?

    Bunny rabbits?

    • Elmer Fudd March 1, 2017 at 9:45 am #

      Sorry, story says the GWH was after coyotes; my bad.

      Still, what kind of a person gets off on killing coyotes for pleasure?

    • T-Bone March 1, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

      Wabbits. Bunny wabbits.

  23. Alice Chan March 1, 2017 at 7:43 am #

    Guy hunts coyotes by pretending to be a distressed rabbit. Mountain lion is naturally drawn to the sound of a distressed rabbit.

    If this hunter hadn’t been trying to lure in *his* prey, he would not have become prey for the mountain lion, who was just doing what they naturally do. I’m not sure what “natural” use the hunter had for the coyotes he was planning to kill. This whole situation makes me sick.

    • Noname March 2, 2017 at 6:29 pm #

      Alice- I ask you, we’re do you buy your meat from? The meat you feed your family every night?

  24. Tom March 1, 2017 at 6:51 am #

    Well, Mr. Great White Hunter now knows the rabbit call works.

    • Mono Person March 1, 2017 at 7:43 am #

      That is true…

  25. BobK February 28, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

    Need to kill a lot more than just 1

  26. Mono Person February 28, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

    Unless you have come face to face with a mountain lion, I don’t think you can judge. I have. 5 feet between myself and the cat, and he was ready to pounce. I didn’t have anything to defend myself and the snow was deep. Thank goodness I have Rhodesian Ridgebacks and they chased the cat away.

    Unless you are in our position – don’t ASSume…

  27. Rex Strong February 28, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

    I call bulls*** trying to justify killing the lion

    • Patricia February 28, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

      Bull* hit cause it wasn’t you being attacked by a lion! What would you do Mr know it all Rex strong???? Pee in your pants n let the lion go I’m sure!!! Or maybe die to safe the lion! Good for you!!

    • Steven Most March 1, 2017 at 9:29 pm #

      The lion was running away having realized the hunter was not an injured rabbit. I see no cause for killing a retreating lion. Shame on this idiot for killing coyotes. More wildlife and fewer hunters would serve the land better.
      I once encountered a lion when I was a 15 year old 90 lb kid running in the hills by my house in Carmel, CA. The lion ran away.

      • Noname March 2, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

        Well Steven, the lion wasn’t attaching you when you were 15. The story changes a little when you are fighting for your life! When you “watch” a mountain lion vs “fight” a mountain, your thought process will be different I’m sure!

        • Matthew Duncan March 3, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

          Where is it stated that the hunter was fighting for his life?

  28. Low Inyo February 28, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    WOW !!!!…I had a Mountain Lion hanging around my Swauger Creek Campground north of Bridgeport back in March 2000 when I was relocating to Lone Pine,two early mornings in a row… of those mornings around 4 A.M. when my dog insisted in going to the bathroom…that morning heard the growl…..a sound I’ll never forget…thought he was coming to snatch my dog !!….glad this hunter avoided attack….can be a dangerous animal,if no fear of humans…


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