Mountain lion killed by startled hunter

A hunter looking for grouse in the Clear Creek drainage at the end of Kings Canyon Road, shot and killed a mountain lion last weekend when the animal jumped out of brush near him, a Nevada Division of Wildlife official confirmed.

NDOW spokesman Chris Healy, said the hunter was out about 3 p.m. Sunday when he heard rustling in thick brush about 10 yards away.

"He was wondering what it was and the mountain lion came bursting out," said Healy.

Healy said the animal did not charge the man, but it also did not run away. He described the cougar's movement as running "sideways" toward the hunter.

"So the hunter in fear for his safety, discharged two rounds from his shotgun and the lion was hit and ran away," said Healy.

The hunter and his two companions followed the lion's trail and found it's body not far from where the incident took place.

A game warden who was called out to the scene determined the shooting was justified, said Healy.

"We're not calling (the lion's behavior) an attack. The lion startled the guy and the guy responded," he said.

Healy said it's not unusual for people to come across mountains lions, or any wild animals, when they are hunting in the hills.

"What this tells you is when you are out in the backcountry, there are mountain lions and there are bears. You've got you be prepared," he said.

Healy said it is not illegal to kill a mountain lion either in self defense or if you have a hunting license.

"It's not unusual for somebody to be out hunting something else and have a mountain lion tag and harvest a mountain lion," he said. "If he'd have had a tag he could have harvested the lion and took it home and it would have been a legal kill. In this case, the guy acted in fear for his safety and was justified in doing what he did."

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