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Sunday, April 4, 2010

I am not lion...

Back in December I read an article in the local paper.  "Iowa Deer Hunter Kills Mountain Lion".  A man had gone hunting, and while awaiting his game, he sees movement in a tree above him.  To his surprise, he sees a wild mountain lion perched in the tree above him.

The man sat there for 40 minutes and using his cell phone, contacted the DNR and the land owner to find out if it was legal for him to shoot this cat.  I do give him credit for making sure the kill was legal before cocking his gun.  Once he was told it was legal, he pointed his gun at the cat perched quietly in the tree, pulled the trigger, and watched the body, once graceful and strong fall haphazardly to the ground.  The mountain lion was a young immature male.  The hunter plans to stuff the entire carcass to prove to everyone that he killed a mountain lion.

This is the first confirmed sighting of a mountain lion within Iowa in over 5 years, so Iowa is not overrun with these massive predators.  This lion was not sitting on that branch trying to decide during that 40 minute hiatus  whether to attack and kill this hunter who was innocently and conveniently sitting below him.  If he had wanted to do so, he would have done so.

People complain about the problem of deer overpopulation in Iowa.  There are traffic accidents as their paths inconveniently cross our roads, and they are ruining trees, shrubs, and gardens as they are desperate for food in the cold winter months.  Yet we have all but obliterated the natural predators of the deer within our state.   In Iowa in 1817, there was a bounty placed on the heads of wolves and coyotes as they were considered vermin.  The result was the diminishing of both populations. While the coyote has made a comeback, the populations of wolves, mountain lions, and black bears are very low in Iowa, almost non-existent.

The fact that a hunter shot this beautiful creature JUST BECAUSE HE COULD, is a poor reflection of our humanity.  Has this man never heard of a camera?  Here is a wonderful article in Iowa Fish and Game, a hunting and fishing magazine written for, by, and about Iowa hunters, advising that hunters bring a camera to capture the moment of meeting a mountain lion rather than removing the creature from their already suffering population.  The article ends with, "The return of cougars, bears and wolves to Iowa isn't likely to hurt our outstanding deer hunting. It will, however, add the thrill of possibly sighting an Iowa native that has been long gone but has now returned. The chance of seeing one adds zest to any trip afield."

 "Mountain lions have no protection in Iowa and while the Iowa DNR does not encourage people killing a lion they come across, it is not against the law."  Even the Department of Natural Resources does no encourage the slaughter of these amazing beasts.  Unfortunately, a law to prevent their killing unless in a state of defense needs to be put into the books before events like this are outlawed.

Mountain lions rarely attack humans.  As a matter of fact, from 1991 through 2003, there were a total of 73 mountain lion attacks on humans, with 10 of them resulting in fatalities.  This amounts to an average of 5.6 mountain lion attacks per year, with an average of only .8 of the attacks resulting in death per year.  That is less than one death per year in two entire countries.  These statistics are for BOTH the entire USA and Canada.   

In the state of Texas alone, from 1991 to 2003 there were a total of  563 hunting accidents, with 69 of them resulting in fatalities. This amounts to an average of 43.3 hunting accidents per year, with  an average of 5.3 accidents resulting in death per year in a SINGLE STATE.

As I walk through the woods, I am more fearful of meeting a twitchy hunter than I am of meeting a mountain lion.

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Anonymous said...

i made a cdomment that wont be posted because it was for the cat not the bastard

Anonymous said...

what a piece of pure shit! too bad the cat didnt get him first

Anonymous said...

We agree with you 100%. We go snowbiling and 4-wheeling in the woods and we are more afraid of the trigger happy hunters than we are of the animals. We hear coyotes every night all around us.I heard a saying "A nation should be judged by the way it treats it's animals".Some should be really ashamed!!. I wonder if that so called "Trophy" will help get him into heaven? I'm guessing NOT!!!

lynn-snyder said...

I had no idea this happened until reading this story. It's disgraceful. "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Gandhi