Concealed atop a small hilltop on the edges of Mono Lake, a northern California hunter called in more than just the coyotes he was targeting late last week.

The unnamed hunter was lying face down while mimicking the sound of a rabbit in distress – a common tactic used by coyote hunters – when he heard something approaching him from behind.  California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan went on to say that suddenly the hunter peered over his shoulder and found a mountain lion stalking him.

Acting purely out of instinct, the hunter quickly covered his head with his arms as the cougar pounced on the man swiftly, before jumping away from him.  The hunter immediately grabbed his gun and fired two shots, subsequently killing the cougar before it could attack again.

“It appears the mountain lion was responding to the rabbit call and the encounter resulted in the hunter possibly being mistaken for prey by the cougar,” Hughan said.

On his way to a local hospital, the man alerted fish and wildlife to the events that had transpired, prompting an investigation by wildlife officials.  After careful consideration, officers were able to corroborate the story and no charges were laid in the cougar killing.

The state of California is home to roughly 6,000 mountain lions, and despite their strong and well-distributed population, the hunting of mountain lions in California has been prohibited since 1990.



H/T: LA Times