Gun Restrictions Prompt use of Boar Spear to Stop Mountain Lion Attack

Image of Mountain Lion from Facebook

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On 8 September, 2013, a problem mountain lion attacked Rick Coutts wife, Sandy Flores. The animal's purpose was to kill and eat her. The big cat had shown increasing interest in Sandy Flores over the previous months. The last time, it had snarled and slashed at Sandy. She managed to repel it with a machete.

Rick considered getting a rifle. The couple lives in a remote location on the West coast of Vancouver Island, in Canada. Canadian regulations and testing requirements were stringent and prolonged. He believed he would never obtain the permit in time. The danger was ever present and acute. For someone in a remote area, finding a class, scheduling to be in it, then doing the test and waiting for a permit could take months.

Rick settled for a Cold Steel Boar Spear, purchased over the counter. He kept it close by, leaning against the cabin wall.

Cold Steel Boar Spear
Cold Steel Boar Spear

Cold Steel Boar Spear

I have a Cold Steel boar spear. It is a serious weapon. The spearhead is over 18 inches long. The shaft is six feet. The overall length is 89 inches, or 7 feet, 5 inches.

The coverage of the story in the United States was pitiful. There were a few brief accounts on some Internet sites. The international coverage, especially in the UK, was excellent.  The most informative article was an in depth interview done by Brinkman Forest Ltd. in Canada. Rick Coutts is one of their best workers. From brinkmanforest.ca.news:

“The man wasn’t going to let the cougar have the woman without a fight.” This isn’t from an Ernest Hemingway short story and it isn’t a passage from Clan of the Cave Bear. It’s from a September 2013 Canadian Press news story, reporting on a remarkable incident involving a Brinkman tree planter and his wife. The planter in question is Rick Coutts, who lives with his wife Sandy on remote Flores Island in Clayoquot Sound. Rick has worked with Brinkman every season for more than 30 years, one of the longest-tenured field workers with the company, and one of our most impressive highballers. On September 8th a cougar attacked and mauled Sandy while she was working in their garden, and Rick fought the animal off with a spear. Sandy was severely hurt, but with the help of the Coast Guard they got her to surgery in Victoria a matter of hours later and she is now on her way to a full recovery. The cougar was later found in the woods nearby, dead from its wounds.

On September 8th, Sandy had stepped outside the cabin to work in the garden at 6 p.m. Before she left, she hooked a can of bear spray on her belt. From globeandmail.com:

Reading the tracks later, Rick said, the cougar came out of the trees, followed Sandy down the path, then lay in wait.

“I was coming back … and I just happened to look down,” Sandy said. “I think me looking down saved my life because he would have got me in the face and I would have fallen on my back and he would have ripped my neck open. … He did a flying leap and all I saw before his teeth got into my skull was his face for a second. … And when he took a bite it sounded like he was crunching my skull because the noise was so intense. … It really felt like all my bones were breaking.”

Knocked to the ground, Sandy was in shock, unable to scream. She could not find the bear spray.

Sandy says she probably lived because she did not allow the lion to turn her over to get at her throat. She almost gave up, but the thought of Rick, by himself, at the mercy of the lion, made her fight. She started screaming.

Rick was not far away, near the cabin, working with a chain saw. For some reason, he shut off the saw. Then he heard his wife screaming. He instantly understood what was happening. Yelling Sandy's name as loudly as he could, he sprinted to the cabin, grabbed the boar spear, and ran to her aid. The lion did not run away, but stopped biting at Sandy's head. It crouched over Rick's badly mauled wife and snarled at him.

Rick circled for an opening. He thrust the boar spear just behind the lion's shoulder, in to the hilt. Boar spears are delivered razor sharp. I know. I have one. The lion wriggled intensely. Rick pulled out the spear, and the lion ran off.

Rick helped Sandy to the cabin, and busied himself with first aid. Sandy's injuries were extensive. Several fingers on her right hand were crushed by the lions teeth as she attempted to fight it off. The left bicep was nearly torn off her arm. Her scalp was attached by only a couple of inches of flesh.

For 250 years we have known that for severe injuries, there is little pain during the first hour. In Sandy's case, that allowed her to advise Rick on getting ready for the trip to the hospital. With Canadian Coast Guard help, they made it to the hospital in record time. A Coast Guard boat took them from the beach to the hospital in Tofino. Sandy was medevaced by helicopter to Victoria. There, a specialist in treating animal attack lacerations, a surgeon, was standing by.

After spending three weeks in Victoria, and several more trips there for skin grafts and to fight infection, Sandy and Rick's life have returned to a semblance of normalcy. Sandy may never regain full use of her arm and hand.

Responding officers found the lion dead, about 60 feet from where Sandy was attacked. A necropsy showed the spear had pierced both lungs and the heart. It was a healthy young male, about 90 lbs. Its stomach had the remains of a squirrel in it.

Rick and Sandy do not want their story to become a reason to fear and hate mountain lions. They say this was just one bad lion.

Little attention has been given to the fact that Canada's restrictive firearms laws led to Rick resorting to a spear. Who knows what might have happened if Sandy had a pistol in a holster instead of bear spray hooked in her belt? She might have stuck the barrel of a .38 in the lions mouth instead of her fingers.

Pistols are very tightly restricted in Canada. They are much more difficult for Canadians to purchase and own than rifles or shotguns. It is nearly impossible to obtain a permit to carry a pistol outside the home.

For many decades, there were very few attacks by mountain lions. The animals were avidly hunted. As protections for mountain lions have increased, the number of attacks have soared. From 1890 to 1970, there were 10 fatal attacks, according to wikipedia, or 1 for every eight years. From 1971 to 2018, there were 15 fatal attacks, or 1 for every 3.1 years.

A scholarly study by Stephen Herrero shows that large predator attacks have been accelerating. From nature.com:

The media and scientific literature are increasingly reporting an escalation of large carnivore attacks on humans in North America and Europe.

Spears have been effective weapons for all of human history. The first non-organic weapon was probably a rock or club. Spears were a large step forward. It took modern firearms to render spears obsolete.

When I looked at the Cold Steel site, they list the Boar Spear as out of stock. Amazon lists it as available, but says it may not be shipped internationally. Perhaps Canadian readers can tell us if the Boar Spear is still available for sale in Canadian outlets.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch


About Dean Weingarten: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.

  • 44 thoughts on “Gun Restrictions Prompt use of Boar Spear to Stop Mountain Lion Attack

    1. The statement by the Brinkman Forest Ltd. is telling. Coutts had been working for them for 30 years. I don’t know how long he was living in the bush on Vancouver lsland (and it is very thick bush-I’ve been up to Tofino), but anyone who lives in remote areas of Canada, or anywhere where there are big predators, without firearms, is irresponsible and just plain stupid. Possibly their residence was just seasonal, as tree planting is seasonal work. Even so. . .
      Yes the regulations for possession, transport and use of sidearms are quite restrictive. However a short tactical 12 gauge with slugs and buckshot is probably more effective anyway.
      I don’t get why Coutts and Flores, after working and living in the area for so long had not both at some point obtained their Canadian Federal Possession and Acquisition license at some point. It’s not a big deal at all.
      I live in the foothills of the Rockies in south central Alberta, (and have lived in the East Kootenay mountains of British Columbia and worked in the bush in the Yukon). It is one of the most heavily game populated areas close to human population in North America. So, with the elk, deer, moose, as well as wild horses, and domesticated livestock, there are predators: grizzlies, black bears, cougar and wolves (and in increasing numbers).
      Every rural resident. farmer, rancher, whatever, is basically predator smart, and armed. And most folks have family dogs, which are the best sentinels for predators close by. Grizzlies and cougars, especially, are regular problems here.
      Why didn’t Coutts and Flores at least have a little ‘bear dog’? The cougar would never have gotten so close undetected to Flores if they had one or two.
      While I admire the tenacity and courage of Coutts and Flores, things just don’t add up in this situation. It never needed to happen at all.

    2. I can’t imagine trying to draw a fkn spear on a charging predator. And it’s not just cats, would love to see anyone who supoorts this give it a shot. I’ll stick to my S&W 460V 5″ .

        1. Years ago a heard an interview with an Alaskan native, his group were shooting polar bears with 22 LR.
          When ask about it, his comment,”Sure beats a sharp stick”

      1. Agreed, but this story does point out that a weapon is only effective if you can get it into action. The wife was caught completely by surprise, else the bear spray might have done some good (a well placed bullet is still better). It’s also worth noting that it might have been difficult to use a firearm, as the cat was tangled up with the victim.

        Coutts made one very serious, potentially fatal mistake. He withdrew the spear. A boar spear was usually used to deliver the killing blow to a boar or bear being held by hunting dogs. It was also designed to keep the animal from driving up the spear shaft to attack the hunter, and keep it pinned and under control until the lights went out. That’s what the wings on the socket do. His first strike was good; he should have held the thrust, driving the cat off his wife and to the ground, and perhaps add a quick, hard twist of the shaft to separate severed blood vessels and hasten the bleed out. That cat covered sixty feet when it was already dead. It could have just as easily lunged past the spear and ripped into Coutts.

        1. Well John, you can always offer yourself up as a sacrificial meal to the Queen’s wildlife. Your whole comment was very self serving. Just my opinion. The point of the article that Dean has written was to bring attention to the fact that one cannot properly defend one’s self unarmed. Meaning without a firearm, in the wilderness. Surely you must be another tacticool instructor.

          1. Are you just trolling, or are you truly too stupid to understand plain English? The main point of the article was that a man’s wife suffered permanent, life changing injuries because of government interference with the natural right of self defense combined with bureaucratic malfeasance.

            Coutts should have already had a rifle, but didn’t because of stupid, dangerous laws. Assuming they were contacted, wildlife officials should have dealt with the animal immediately. They didn’t. At the very least, the man should have been able to obtain a gun and a permit to deal with the problem cat BEFORE it could attack his wife again. Once that happened, it didn’t matter what weapon was used to peel the cat off of her; the damage was done. I am not familiar with the Canadian system, but I hope the victim was able to recover damages from the government.

            As for my remarks on the boar spear, I just happen to know how to use one. My comment was for the benefit of those who may be trapped in a similar bureaucratic quagmire. I would never argue that it’s a better choice than a gun. Guns are a hell of a lot easier to use effectively.

    3. We had a situation in Olympia, Washignton, about ten years back where a fairly large cougar was stalking school kids as they walked to their bus stops in a very rural area north of town, and as they waited for those yellowprison busses to collect them. Same in the afternoons. State Dept of Fish and WIldlife were contacted, they laughed and said THERE ARE NO COUGAR ANYWHERE NEAR THERE. Would not even send ana gent out to check the spoor that had been located.
      Parents taught their kids to never be alone outside, walk in groups, and parents took turns escorting to the bus stops. Of course, some were armed, as the law “allows”. A few more sightings later, they contacted DFW again.. same fob-off response. They finally woke up.. AFTER an older gentleman who had been in the area some fifty years was out in his orchard fairly early, and noticed the big cat drapied over a low horizontal branch of one of his apple trees. Quietly retreating into the house, he returned whith his rifle, a .270Win if memory serves. One round put the kitty out of everyone’s misery. He left it lay, and called DFW. They came out a few hours later to “inspect” the dead cat….. then ARRESTED HIM for taking game without the required tag, and out of season!!!! The local press lit up with that one, many feeling justice was about to be served upon the wretch who KILLED that “beautiful creature” (Olympia DOES contain the Marble Zoo where all the state hooh hahs get together each year and tell us how we should live….) Others were praising the hero, blasting DFW for being such classic jerks and arresting the guy after telling the folks there ARE no cougars in the area….

      The courtroom was pretty well packed, but the show was VERY brief. The judge heard DFW officials explain their position, the judge heard the brief story of stalking the kids, the “non-existence” of the cat, banged his gavel, uttered the words CASE DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Then he laced into the DFW dweebs, raking them over the coals for their handling of the entire situation from beginning to tend. Don’t know what, if anthing, ever happened in way of consequences to the DFW Eeedjits who bungled from start to finish. Score one for the Good Guys and a loss for the Nanies who were too busy fussing with their hair and hankies to bother jumping into one of OUR expensive trucks to go have a look at the Cougar Which Did Not Exist…….. Oh, and the Hero’s hunting rifle was returned.

      1. That is way it should be but one step further and ordered the arrest of DFW agents who arrested the hero for false imprisonment. Time these punks start going to jail. Thanks for sharing.

        1. Right.We who shared the habitat with the hungry kitty that never existed thought that the DFW Dweebs who refused to at least come out and have a squiz at the scat and other signs should have been demoted, or preferably fired, for incompetence or laziness. Further, the sick prosecutor that let this go to trial needed to be handed off to the nearest soupline for some attitude adjustment and concurrent reality check. Then the ossifurs who came out to collect the non-existent critter (wondered which one ended up with the pelt?) and decided to arrest the hero who did THEIR work FOR them needed to be fired for incmpetence and dereliction of duty.

          Had I seen that cat in MY apple tree, knowing his recent history, and relieved him of his burden, I never would have called anyone. I have a good skinning knife, know or could quickly learn how to tan such a pelt, and ended up having a cougar skin gracing my livingroom or office that “has been in the family for many years, why do you ask?”

          All this is how things end up when people complacently accept the principle of government-as-god. Its back to the root cause of our War for Independence from the Brits….. spoken by someone who had been there, forty years after Jesse Adair’s little hot headed company opened fire on Captain John Parker’s men as they stood firm on Lexington’s Commons back in seventy five…… responding to the questin “why were you men out that morning?” he said “they had a mind to tell us how we should live, and we had a mind that they wouldn’t”.

    4. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you eat animals die that you might live. Even vegans kill animals by depriving them of habitat and food.
      People are predators not from attributes like fangs, but from tools a plow is as deadly as a rifle it destroys habitat. There is enough room we can keep habitat and wildlife at reduced numbers if it is done wisely.
      If you want wilderness without people I would suggest yourself.

      1. Cute fairy tale. Less attacks are being reported by the press. That is not evidence and we all know the corrupt new age biologist hide the truth all the time. About 6 months ago the corrupt CA Fish and Game declare that woman died of exposure and then a mt lion ate her. I called the Coroner office and ask how that was determine? Nothing was determine by them. It was all BS and outright fraud by the Ca Fish and game! She was killed by the POS lion. So don’t post lies on this page we are wise to the corruption of the Fish and Game department hiding the facts.

        1. If the corrupt media are failing to report recent cougar attacks, you must have some other source of information that keeps track of them. Could you give us your source or a link? Otherwise, how can you make such a statement?

      1. E, every piece of land we live on is an encroachment of nature. Cities still have wildlife in them. Some even have bears, coyotes and other dangerous animals entering or living in them, in parks, etc. I will just assume that you can’t be this stupid, but are just an insensitive, cowardly SJW.

      2. WHO encroached upon WHO’S land?

        Maybe YOU should vacate the piece of dirt you now call “home”? Even if it is your Mommie’s basement, something else could occupy it.

        Ever hear this one:

        “increase amd multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it”.

        Who said that, and to whom, and when? And what is the expiration date of that statement?

        1. “increase amd multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it”.
          Who said that, and to whom, and when? And what is the expiration date of that statement?

          Yeah, it was written hundreds of years ago by a guy who existed in a semi-fantasy world when humans spun tales of magical events as fact, trying to impose their worldview on everyone else. That mentality has long since withered and vanished in a more rational world of a more highly evolved humanity, save for those who still insist on wallowing in ignorance and superstition. That answer your question?

          1. No cigar for you…
            it was said quite a long tiime beofore YOU suppose it was, and spoken at a time well before men began killing each other and pillaging the planet with no regard for the future. Seems to me things have pretty well DE-volved since then. Could that possibly be in result of those to whom it was spoken have ignored the words and intent?

            You think today’s world is more “rational” than when that was said first? And precisely WHO is trying to “impose their worldview on everyone else”? The results of the rotten worldviews are proof enough of their corruption. WHY would anyone persist in a worldview with such bad results, anyway? Anyone who holds that some “mentality” has long since withered and vanished”.. well, maybe… but never in a more ratioinal world of a more highly evolved humanity”.. one that behaves as we see these days? Shooting up schoolkids, murdering millions, holding entire natioins hostage to the selfishness and greed of the rulers, who rule by the power of their guns as they take them away from everyone else?

            Nah.. I prefer the “superstititon”.

          2. @Schol Kid, Aren’t you a guy that exists in a semi fantasy world, spinning tales of humanity being more highly evolved, and trying to impose your worldview on everyone else? Seems like you are not much different. So why do you hate the people that wrote the old testament so much?

      3. E, perhaps you should go live peacefully along side the big cats for a year or so, and then report back to us! It would be interesting to see if your opinion changes, or if you feel the need for protection, such as a spear or bear spray, maybe even a hasty retreat to mommie’s basement!

      4. Always some lunatic anti human cultist spreading hate to people. Newsflash sparky girl we only occupy 6.1% of the land. How much do the animals need 100%. Here’s your dunce hat.

      1. That is another fraud plenty of jaguar in South America. Just the typical liars from the eco Nazi’s pushing their anti human agenda. Great book thanks for sharing.

    5. There you go. Proof they want us on the same level as cavemen. Ha, you can fight back now suckers, we own you.

          1. Why because he stood up to soy boy coward that wants to give animals more rights then people. Not too smart are you sparky.

    6. You watch the Canadian government will ban knives, spears and sharp pointy objects like pencils next too. They can’t have their law abiding citizens able to protect themselves.

    7. We have a similar problem in California. Since hunting was restricted, the cats have lost their fear of humans, and as their population expands, young cats in search of their own territory are being pushed into populated areas. While we don’t suffer from quite as much government meddling in our rights as Canadians do, carrying a firearm anywhere off your own property (and sometimes on it) can be problematic, even in wilderness areas. A boar spear is pretty much guaranteed to attract unpleasant attention from local authorities. You would think the authorities would have been eager to deal with a cat that had already shown a willingness to hunt humans before it attacked again. So much for the wonderful beneficence of the nanny state toward its subjects.

      1. The government only requires that you bow your head in acquiesce, pay taxes and obey. As far as “self-defense” goes : Forget about it !!

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