Skip to comments.Tight Lines: The truth about lion attacks (CA)
Posted on 08/14/2009 10:37:15 AM PDT by jazusamo
There have been 14 serious mountain lion attacks in California, three of which ended in death, in the past 23 years.
The three people killed were Barbara Schoener, 40, a wife and mother of two children; Iris Kenna, 56, a high school counselor; and Mark Reynolds, 35, a bicycling enthusiast.
Among the injured were a 5-year-old girl who lost an eye and was partially paralyzed; Anne Hjelle, 30, a former U.S. Marine and physical fitness instructor; and Jim Hamm, 70, a retiree living in Humboldt County.
Its amazing how folks can distort figures. In researching this column, I went to one animal rights Web site and read that in the past 114 years in California, there have been only 14 documented lion attacks in California.
When I dug a little deeper, I noted the names and ages of 14 people, and the dates when they were attacked, just since 1986.
It seems the animal rights Web site didnt count Reynolds death because of some cockamamie theory that the healthy cyclist suddenly had a heart attack while biking and coincidentally was eaten by a mountain lion. The same lion, as verified by DNA tests, attacked Hjelle a few hours later and left her in critical condition at a nearby hospital.
The Web sites theory is that Reynolds might have had a heart attack, and well never know, because the lion ate all the evidence. What a bunch of bull!
Im particularly touched by the plight of the 5-year-old girl as well. Maybe thats because I have a 5-year-old granddaughter, and I relate closely to her.
Ironically, when Schoener was killed and eaten by a female lion, authorities killed the animal as it attacked them and then found a lion cub nearby. A fund was set up at a local bank to care for the cub. At about the same time, a fund was opened to help Schoeners two children. Guess what? The cubs fund raised $20,000, while the motherless childrens fund only received about $6,000.
I love the outdoors, and I love wildlife and donate far more than I can afford to conservation, but is it possible that our priorities are mixed up? It seems as though we never do anything on a normal scale here in California. Maybe its the water.
For 121 years, we treated mountain lions as though they were vermin and tried to exterminate them, just like rats. We protected deer, bears and elk as valuable game animals with regulated hunting that maximized their numbers. Lions could be shot on sight 365 days a year, and the state even paid folks a bounty to kill them. That was stupid, and we drove them to the brink of extinction.
In 1972, we overreacted and voted in an initiative that was a 180-degree course change. Mountain lions are now completely protected, their numbers have exploded, and now theyre attacking people on a regular basis. I wouldnt want one of my family members maimed or killed by a marauding lion.
It seems to me that now its time for California to take a reasonable middle ground and treat mountain lions as a valuable big-game animal that can be managed by professional game biologists using regulated hunting, which will help re-instill a natural fear of man into one of the worlds most efficient predators.
I believe we can have healthy lion populations and still allow limited hunting opportunities. Our children would be safer for it.
Until next week, Tight Lines.
CA mountain lion management Ping!
I have no problem with the hunting of mountain lions as long as they aren’t endangered and there is a big enough population to control the deer. I’d guess more people have been hurt or killed in deer collisions than attacks by mountain lions over the last 30 years.
“its time for California to take a reasonable middle ground...”
The unfortunate truth is that the words “California” and “reasonable” won’t ever be found in the same sentence for a very long time.
That said, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that car/deer collisions are responsible for about 150 deaths per year. Lightning kills about 60, bee stings kill 40, and pet dogs kill 30. You need to find something else to fret about.
LOL! All of which mean nothing to the people attacked by lions or the relatives of those killed.
One man’s kink is another man’s... something or other.
Until next week, Tight Lines.
The AR Eco nuts try the same stuff with bear attacks...she must have had a heart attack first.
Yep, the first thing I thought of was the lady eaten by a bear last week, that was the first thing out of the eco nuts mouths. It wasn’t true then nor with the mountain lion attack.
They attack cars people are in. I stopped to let one cross the road and he attacked my brand new one week old car. Mr. G was going to work and slowed down to let one cross in front of him and before he got up to speed the deer turned around and rammed the backside of the truck.
That’ll learn ya, don’t infringe on their territory and they must consider the road their territory when crossing it. :-)
The author of this article is misinformed. It was in 1991 not ‘72 that the law was passed that made the mountain lion a “specially protected species”. The law was passed by state initiative, so it would take a 4/5s majority in the legislature to overturn the prop. and restore management control to the F&G where it rightly belongs.
Also, the mountain lion in Ca. was never in danger of extinction. The author is correct though, that since becoming “specially protected”, the lions have exploded in population and saturated their habitat. Combining the condition of the lion population and the pressure on their habitat by increased development and the increasing number of people living and taking recreation in lion infested areas, it is a sure recipe for tragedy.
I have personal experience with this matter. About four years ago I had a small herd of goats (10) wiped out by mountain lions in little over a year. One lion I shot myself when it killed the second of my goats, and did so only 40 yards from where myself and a friend were working in front of my barn. The second lion, I called in the state trapper after the 10th goat was killed. Amazingly I still have one goat that survived. She’s the “Stealth Goat”!
Interestingly there are roughly the same number of mountain lions killed each year, now, under depredation permits, as there were in the years when they were a bountied predator. The difference now is that for every lion killed, there has been an attack on a human, domestic animal, or livestock and unlike the couple of years in the ‘70 when there was a season on lions and tags were sold to hunters, now the state receives no revenue and, in fact, has to spend money to follow up on the depredations and sometimes sends out trappers at taxpayer expense.
Absolutely, there should be a legal hunting season on lions in Ca. But, due to the law being passed by initiative, it’s not likely to ever happen until a lot more people get attacked.
One big lesson here is that wildlife management by public vote is a very bad concept and a disaster in practice.
I highly recommend packing a gun if you hike in the woods in Ca. I never go out without one!
You make good points and you’re right about the initiative being passed in 1991, I should have picked that up and pointed it out.
You’re also right about lions not being near extinction. I was born, raised worked and retired from So CA and there were still mountain lions though we didn’t have them coming into the foothill communities for easy meals, they still had a fear of man.
The animal rights and enviro groups played to the emotions of the masses who don’t set foot in the outdoors or live in sparsely populated areas and passed this referendum, like you say it will be difficult to reverse. Probably the easiest way to reverse it is to put it to another vote of the people because the legislature is not going to buck the AR and enviro people in enough numbers to do it but there’ll have to be more bad things happen before even the people will reverse it.
Deer are overly lean u harvested sources of protein. Deer burger ‘em on sight. The rest will soon learn their place on the food chain.
Back when Americans were making the choice of whether to shoot a predator or not, predators were cautious around all humans because they knew man was the pinnacle predator.
When gunpowder speaks, beasts obey.
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