Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Jake Altena was hunting deer in Iowa, on private property near the Little Sioux River. Jake is 17 years old.
He started hunting when he was 12. On Saturday, 9 December, he heard a noise. He carefully and quietly investigated the origin of the sound.
Armed with a Savage bolt-action 20 gauge shotgun, Altena found an uprooted tree that appeared to have enough clearance for a person or creature to be able to move underneath the branches.
“I was about 15 feet away and a mountain lion poked his head out and it was looking at me dead in the eyes,” he said.
“I immediately pulled my gun on him; I was pretty scared at the moment. When I had him in my sights, he kind of made a quick jump at me and I instantly pulled the trigger.”
The shot hit the creature in the shoulder and fatally wounded it.
Shot at close range in the front of the chest, it is clear the big cat was coming at Jake. The projectile appears to have traveled lengthwise in the body without exiting. A 20 gauge slug has plenty of power for most big game in North America.
Only shotguns were legal for hunting deer in Iowa until 2017, when rifles shooting straight walled pistol cartridges were added to the list of legal firearms available to deer hunters. Jake's 20 gauge is camouflaged and has a telescopic sight. It has been designed and manufactured for big game hunting.
After the Department of Natural Resources reviewed the law, they returned the lion to Jake. He intends to have it mounted. It is one of only five mountain lions that have ever been recorded as shot in Iowa, according to the Department.
There is no law in Iowa that prohibits the shooting of mountain lions. In the United States, conceived in liberty, everything that is not forbidden is allowed. In some countries, the philosophic basis of government is that anything not allowed, is forbidden.
It is legal to shoot mountain lions anywhere in the United States, in self-defense.
Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. They have increased in the last few decades as the lions have been protected. Mountain lion populations are increasing. The lions are extending their range into areas frequented by humans.
Only a tiny number of humans have been recorded as being killed by mountain lions. There were 10 fatal attacks recorded between 1890 and 1924, three from 1949 to 1953, and 14 fatal attacks since 1971.
Two mountain lions were killed as they attacked hunters in 2017. Dylan Ross shot a lion that attacked him in Colorado, on five November 2017, while he was hunting mule deer. Jake shot his cat on nine December, a little over a month later. Both of those attacks happened at an extremely close range, 16 feet for Dylan, 15 feet for Jake.
The odds of being attacked by a mountain lion are tiny, but improbable things happen. It does not matter if they are rare if they happen to you. In overall numbers, you are tens of thousands of times more likely to be attacked by a human than a mountain lion.
The estimates of mountain lion numbers in the United States are about 30,000. There are about 330 million humans or about 11,000 humans for each mountain lion. Fortunately, most of those humans are concentrated in large cities.
Jake and Dylan have fantastic hunting stories to tell the grandkids, and pictures to prove they were real.
2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.