Utah Hunter Injured After Being Attacked By Mountain Lion

Melinda Sineriz

A Utah bow-hunter sustained minor injuries to his chest and leg after being attacked by a mountain lion, according to ABC News. The man and his father say they were stalked by the mountain lion before and after the attack.

According to Phil Douglas, a spokesman for the Division of Wildlife Resources, the attack happened Saturday near Kamas, which is east of Salt Lake City. The mountain lion is now being tracked so it can be euthanized due to its direct attack on humans.

Lt. Andrew Wright from the Summit County Sheriff's office said the wounded hunter refused medical treatment because he wanted to keep hunting.

There are unconfirmed reports that one of the men shot at the mountain lion and may have hit the animal, according to the Deseret News.

Douglas told the Deseret News that if those details are accurate, the men acted correctly. "Make yourself look large, fight back, and cover your head and neck," Douglas said.

According to Douglas, mountain lions sometimes roam into residential areas."It is not unprecedented to have a mountain lion come down to a residential neighborhood," he said. "It's not common, but it is not rare either."

According to the website Wild Aware Utah, mountain lions, which are also known as cougars, are typically found near deer, since deer are their main food source. They also eat elk, birds, and other small mammals.

The mountain lion hunting quotas were increased this year, according to the Daily Herald. The increase is causing some controversy since it was announced last month. Conservationists are concerned with disrupting the social hierarchy among big cats, while ranchers are concerned about the impact mountain lions have had on their livestock.

The Division of Wildlife Resources estimates there are about 2,000 adult mountain lions in Utah as well as 2,000 kittens and 1-year-olds. Conservationists feel the increased attacks on ranches may be due to the loss of older cats. The older cats typically teach younger cats how to hunt. Without the influence of older cats, younger males may be more likely to attack humans.

"It's like turning over your house to teenagers," said Kirk Robinson of the Western Wildlife Conservancy. "It disrupts the social organization. It also means a lot more younger cougars who don't know how to hunt. They are the ones who cause most of the trouble."