Return to Lion Attacks Introduction and Table of Contents
This page records 10 years of cougar attacks from researcher Paul Beier's last study date of December, 1990, beginning in January, 1991, and continuing trough December 2000 . An attack is defined primarily as an incident in which a wild cougar bit, clawed, or knocked down a human. An attack may be included that was thwarted if it appears contact was otherwise imminent. Attacks by captive cougars are omitted. Hunter incidents, attacks on animals, non-injury encounters, and accounts not confirmed to be cougar attacks have been moved to this separate Other Incidents Page. Many links expire on the internet, but my goal has been to present enough information here for researchers to find needed data from the original sources.
[Beier's Study Span 1890-1990] [2001-2010 attacks] [2011-2020 attacks] [Other Incidents]
Deaths are highlighted in red text.
1991 (4 Reports found including 2 deaths)
14 January. About 1:00 pm, after a pepperoni pizza lunch at 7-Eleven (during 5th period at his school) 18-year-old Scott Lancaster was killed while jogging on a trail above his high school in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The youth was attacked by a mountain lion and drug yards uphill before his death. The 130 pound boy clutched at vegetation and uprooted brush as the lion pulled him to the killing ground. Though just a few hundred yards from his high school, any of Scott's screams for help went unheard. A couple of days later, Scott's body was found, guarded by the very lion that killed him and had been feeding on the boy. The healthy, male cougar was shot by hunters called to the scene. Lancaster was buried following a closed casket ceremony. This was the first death ever in Colorado from a lion attack. Source: (Mountain Lions and California State Parks; 01/19/94) (Denver Post; 05/01/98, B-01) (SWCOA) (The Beast in the Garden; by David Baron; 2004)
10 March. 3-year-old killed in La Quinta, California. See this report most probably due to a cougar HERE
28 March. At a Nevada test site, north of Las Vegas, research biologist Mary Saether/Sacthre was attacked by a 120-pound female mountain lion when she and two fellow biologists came near its den. The cougar crept up on Saether, a woman in her twenties, and two male companions and attacked before they were aware of its presence. The two men beat the lion with their cameras, forcing it to release Saether. A Wildlife Services Specialist (tracker) arrived the next day. As he was doing a preliminary check, he heard noise in a tree and turned to find the lion charging. The man had only enough time to draw his handgun and shoot the lion at point blank range. Mary suffered minor cuts and received 21 stitches on her head, right arm, and back. The lion was found to be in good health. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services, Reno, Nevada) (Abundant Wildlife Society Of North America; Mountain Lion Fact Sheet by T. R. Mader, Research Director) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 208)
03 July. A mountain lion slashed two children playing next to the Fraser River near Lillooet, British Columbia. Canadian Conservation Officer, Patrick McHarg, reported that Larrane Leach, 44, took her child and four others about 300 yards from her home to play on a sandbar near the river when the cat, possibly a yearling, rushed out of the bushes and pounced on the back of 2-year-old Mikey Allen. Leach pulled the cat off by the scruff of its neck, but it turned and slashed 18-month-old Lisa O'Laney across the forehead. Larrane held the cat by the paws an arms length until the family dog, Pal, rushed up and chased the cat up a tree. Larrane was bruised, scratched and battered. Mikey was treated at the hospital for cuts on his head and face and a puncture wound in the back of his neck. Lisa was treated for numerous cuts on the right side of her forehead. Despite an intensive tracking effort, the lion wasn't found.
Approximately 5 years earlier, Larrane had faced a cougar at her door that frightened her husky puppy. In 1996 her foster daughter was attacked at Lytton, B.C., (see below) by a cougar and received stitches for a severe scalp wound. Sources: (Gary Gerhardt; Rocky Mountain News; 07/16/91) (Jason Proctor, Lora Grindlay, Charlie Anderson; The British Columbia Newspaper Foundation; 10/01/1997)
1992 (6 Injury reports found including 1 death in British Columbia)
12 March. In Gaviota State Park, near Santa Barbara, California, 9-year-old Darron Arroyo was attacked by a mountain lion as he walked along a park trail. Darron was hiking with his two brothers when a lion rushed from the bushes and attacked, attempting to drag him off in the brush. Steven Arroyo, Darron's father, was walking about a hundred yards behind the boys. He heard the screams and saw the lion dragging Darron. Steven rushed toward the cat, picked up a rock, threw it and struck the lion between the eyes. The lion dropped the boy and left the area. Darron sustained bites to the face and head and scratches to the chest. The parents of the mauled child brought suit against the State of California. Sources: (Information compiled from Santa Barbara News Press, Gaviota State Park and California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento, California.) (Abundant Wildlife Society Of North America; Mountain Lion Fact Sheet by T. R. Mader, Research Director) (Mountain Lions and California State Parks; 01/19/94) (1995 Outdoor California) (San Diego Union-Tribune; Associated Press; 04/15/95; A-3)
05 May. Jeremy Williams, 7, of Kyuquot, British Columbia, was mauled to death by a yearling female cougar as he played on the edge of the school yard. Jeremy, a Kyuquot Indian boy, was attacked as he sat on the grass in the elementary school playground. The cougar rushed and attacked the freckled, red-haired youngster. The boy's father and a dozen youngsters witnessed the attack. Kevin Williams, Jeremy's father and a teacher at the school, hurried to the scene and watched helplessly while children screamed in panic. The school's janitor shot and killed the 60-pound lion. Richard Leo, a Kyuquot Indian chief, said angry parents accused the school board of ignoring the danger of wild animals. (Associated Press, 1992) (Abundant Wildlife Society Of North America; Mountain Lion Fact Sheet by T. R. Mader, Research Director) (Mountain Lions and California State Parks; 01/19/94) (British Columbia Newspaper Awards)
15 June. Near Wenatchee, Washington, 5-year old Jessica Vanney suffered cuts and puncture wounds when a 60-pound, female mountain lion attacked her as she walked along a path through trees with her 9-year-old brother Matthew at a 100-site campground in Lake Wenatchee State Park.
Her father, Michael Vanney, witnessed the attack. "Jessica was 4 or 5 feet in front of me. She walked between two trees and I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. Then I saw the cougar run around a tree and jump on her. Its front paws just wrapped right around her head and shoulders."
Vanney grabbed his hunting knife and tackled the cougar so hard he knocked it right off her. Then he yelled for his wife to bring his pistol from the campsite. The cougar raced up a tree as his wife came with the weapon. Vanney fired twice and missed, but he kept the cougar cornered until wildlife agents arrived with a tranquilizer gun.
The cat was captured and held for 14 days to be sure it didn't have rabies. Then it was destroyed which agents said was the national policy when a cougar has attacked a human. This was the third known lion attack in the state.
Sources: (Associated Press, June 18, 1992) (Abundant Wildlife Society Of North America; Mountain Lion Fact Sheet by T. R. Mader, Research Director) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 94-95)
21 June. A 5-month-old, 23 pound cougar jumped on a 2-year-old Auburn, WA, boy camping with his family along Huckleberry Creek in the White River area near Enumclaw, WA. The boy's parents were able to drive the juvenile cat away and the boy was not seriously hurt, sustaining only minor scratches. The next day, the young cougar was caught, examined, and euthanized.
Sources: (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 95) (Seattle Post Intelligencer 07/07/1992) (Officials Puzzled By Recent Cougar Attacks; by George Wilson, Times News Service; 06/23/1992)
02 July. Mid to late afternoon, 29-year-old Jill Sherman from Washington State was attacked by a cougar while on an outing to observe orcas off the coastline of West Cracroft Island on Vancouver Island, B.C. just opposite Robson Bight near the tiny, primarily tourist community of Treasure Cove. As she was walking back alone from washing her hair to her campsite, the cougar was waiting at the edge of the beach for her to pass. When she saw it, Jill backed away from the cat but tripped over a log, at which point the cat pounced and started biting and clawing her. Sherman screamed, and the cougar backed off. It jumped up on a log and simply sat there watching, Jill imagined, much as a cat toys with a mouse, ready to attack again at any moment.
Sherman's screams drew another woman from her nearby group (Interspecies, a group formed to give artists, as opposed to scientists, the opportunity to explore the potential for interspecies communication [and to promote] an aesthetic model for coexistence between species, with the objective of healing the human species' emotional, spiritual, and cultural ties with nature) to her aid. At first reluctant to approach, eventually she walked right past the cat to tend her wounded friend. Then both women simply walked toward the camp, leaving the cat still crouching in the brush.
Sherman suffered numerous lacerations, scratches, and puncture wounds to her face, back and thighs. She was bleeding from her shoulder, leg, and hand. The Canadian Coast Guard arrived with a doctor soon aftr the attack and took Sherman to the Port Hardy hospital. Her scalp was sutured shut that afternoon, and she was flown home to Washington the next day.
Despite remarking that the cat had appeared exactly where three of their own children had been playing earlier and speculating that the cat may have been lurking there waiting for an opportunity to attack a child when Sherman happened to walk by, instead, Sherman and her women friends begged that the cat not be shot. "Don't shoot it. This is the cougar's land," quailed Jill. Soon after the attack, however, the armed skipper of the boat the group had used to access the area shot the cat. The women cried!
Before the skipper and his mate made the decision whether to fire their guns to try to scare the cat or to kill it, the founder of Interspecies Communication, Inc. and author of Cougar Existentialism/Incident at Boat Bay asked them to let him have a few minutes to "communicate" with the lion. He sensed the animal was young, one and half to two and a half years old, and a full grown male. He didn't sense any fear from him, only confusion and caution. He asked the lion if he was willing to lose his life. The answer he heard in his mind was a clear 'yes'. When he shot to kill the cougar at last, the skipper only wounded it, in the jaw he thought, and it escaped.
Following up with hounds the next morning, conservation officers failed to find the cougar. At the site where it was shot, they did uncover the bullet slug, bits of bone and teeth, and fragments of porcupine quills. The bone splinters and teeth corroborated that the cougar had been wounded in the jaw. The quills led them to speculate that the animal may have been unable to eat or carry out its attack on Sherman effectively because of a mouthful of porcupine quills. Pain from the quills, more than Jill's screams, may have caused it to withdraw, still hungry but puzzled about how to proceed. This dilemma may be why it let the woman (Linda) tending Jill pass and then allowed the two women simply to walk away.
A few days later, one of the men in the group found several mats of loose fur in a cleft directly above the camp, indicating that the cat had been watching them ever since they arrived. Less than 6 months later, a cougar was killed just a mile north of the area where Sherman was attacked. It was stalking 2 young girls. The cougar was a large (successful) female with a mangled jaw.
Sources: (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 86) (Interspecies.com; Cougar existentialism; Jim Nollman, from the Interspecies Newsletter; 1993 or 1994)
12 August. At about 4:30 p.m., 12-year-old Nathaniel Moore of Cornville,Arizona, was attacked by a 98-pound male lion in Glacier National Park, Montana. He heard something come through the bush, and it attacked. Nathaniel was knocked down as he struggled with the lion. His father ran to his aid and kicked the mountain lion away. He was taken by helicopter to the hospital where he underwent several hours of surgery. He suffered facial, chest, arms, back and leg cuts and broken bones in his jaw and sinus cavity.
Rangers tracked and shot the cat at about 7:00 p.m. Testing showed it did not have rabies.
Just 2 years earlier, Scott O'Hare (see link on my Beier's Study Span page) was similarly attacked in Glacier National Park.
Sources: (Rocky Mountain News; Associated Press; 08/19/1992) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 107-108)
1993 (4 Injury Reports and 1 Non-Injury report found)
16 May. A 16-year-old boy was walking his German Shepherd by a creek bank near the town of Cherryville, B.C., when a cougar attacked him. The cougar lept quickly, landing on the boy's back and knocking him to the ground. His father and grandfather were with him but some distance behind the youth, so apparently he was own his own to defend himself. Surprised by the sudden attack, he had had no chance to react beforehand. Now he fought desperately and managed to throw the cougar off him, and then he climbed a nearby tree. The cat walked off a few minutes later.
Lumby RCMP Constable Hernshel and Conservation Officer Rattree were summoned to the scene. They called in a cougar hunter who tracked, treed, and shot the cat 300 yards from the attack site. The 1.5-year-old female cougar weighed 65 pounds and was described as "gaunt." The victim was treated for minor scratches at a local hospital.
Sources: (Cougar Attacks, Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling, The Lyons Press, 2001, Page 61) (B.C. Ministry of the Environment report)
29 May. A 7-year-old boy was panning for gold with his father in Cherryville, B.C., when a cougar leaped out of the brush onto his back. As soon as the boy cried out, it jumped off and ran into the surrounding cover. Father and son alerted the owner of the Gold Pan Resort where they may have been staying.
The owner got his firearm and hurried to the attack site. The cougar moved out of the bushes and began to stalk him. The man killed the cougar within 10 yards of where it had attacked the youngster. Just as in the account above, this was about a 1.5-year-old and may have been its litter mate. The boy was not injured.
Sources: (Cougar Attacks, Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling, The Lyons Press, 2001, Pages 61 & 62) (B.C. Ministry of the Environment report #54419)
August. 6-year-old Devin Foote *was attacked in the Manzano River area of Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County, California
*This attack is not recognized by the California Department of Fish and Game because injuries were not verified by a physician, and the attack site was not investigated by an agency.
Sources: (Mountain Lions and California State Parks; 01/19/94) (San Diego Union-Tribune; Associated Press; 04/15/95; A-3)(LA Times; 04/03/1995) (United Conservation Alliance News 3(4):4-5, October 1993) (E. Lee Fitzhugh, personal communication to Tom Chester 1/15/04)
06 September. Horseback riders chased in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. See this non-injury report HERE
18 September. Just 11 days after the park had been closed due to endangerment from lions, a young cougar bit 10-year-old Lisa Kowalski of Chula Vista, California, who was camping with her family at Paso Picacho Campground in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. Approximately at noon, she was playing catch with her family. Suddenly her father shouted, "Freeze!" Lisa did so and slowly turned her head to see a smallish mountain lion sniffing her. Suddenly, the lion jumped forward and bit her buttocks. She screamed, and the lion retreated a bit.
Not knowing what else to do, her family released their dog, Henry, in hopes he could help. The cougar instantly attacked the dog. The pair tussled, and then the lion retreated up a tree 50 yards away. The family got into the safety of their van and videotaped the cougar until it left 10 minutes later.
After this wait, they reported the incident to rangers who were ordered to shoot the 20-month-old, slightly underweight, female cougar. They did so, though many rangers (holding the popularized view of predators as poor and persecuted by humans) were reluctant to aid in tracking this juvenile. The cougar did not have rabies and weighed 41 pounds. Lisa was taken to an emergency clinic with a minor wound that was only an angry welt, as the immature cougar's attack attempt had not even punctured her jeans. Henry, the hero dog, recovered from his wounds.
Sources: (Ed Zieralski, San Diego Union-Tribune; 05/10/94; A-1) (Mountain Lions and California State Parks; 01/19/94) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 157-158)
1994 (8 injury Reports found including 2 deaths, 3 non-injury reports including 1 hunter report)
January. Three bicyclists menaced at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. See this non-injury report HERE
23 April. Placerville, California, resident and mother of two, Barbara Schoener a 40-year-old vocational rehabilitation counselor and a long-distance runner in excellent physical shape, was killed early in the morning by an 82-pound female cougar, about two to three years old. This happened in northern California on the American River Canyon Trail in the Auburn State Recreation Area. This trail, located about 50 miles east of Sacramento, is part of a popular 100-mile endurance run trail. Other runners and horseback riders, were the most frequent users of this trail.
Barbara was an athletic 5' 8", 140+ pound woman. Since no one observed the attack, there are conflicting hypotheses about what occurred. Barbara's husband Pete Schoener says that the lion was probably hidden on a ledge above the trail and pounced on her as she passed underneath. The lion knocked her down a slope, and she was badly wounded but she fought the animal with her arms before she was killed. Then the lion dragged her farther before eating most of her body. The accounts in the paper said investigators theorize that the lion surprised her by sneaking within 20' behind her on the tight trail and then ambushed Schoener, knocking her 30' down an 80° slope. Indications are she already was badly wounded but briefly fought the animal there before the lion finished the kill.
Her husband Pete reported her missing that afternoon and began his own search for her, finding only her car. Approximately 75 searchers, some with dogs, then combed the area from midafternoon Saturday until midnight. She was still missing the following morning when three of Pete's friends crossed the yellow crime scene tape to look for her after being asked, instead, to leave. They were chastized that official searchers were in control. The three were intent on finding her, however, and so proceeded when unobserved.
Because of their trail savvy and determination, they took notice of what might seem to be an insignificant white visor lying next to the trail, a visor such as Barbara was known to wear. This further led them to notice nearby slide marks going down the hill and soon a fairly full water bottle. The cougar had partially buried Barbara under some brush below, and searchers combing the area had overlooked her body. When they found her, they left one man with her body while the other two left to summon officials. All three were held to be questioned due to assumptions this was a case of murder, but they were suddenly released without being informed a cougar was the determined killer.
The cougar had partially consumed Barbara, and there was evidence that she brought her seven-week-old kit to feed also. Hunters with dogs were called in to track a killer cougar. Over a week later they came across promising tracks and treed the cat near where it had killed Barbara. It was shot and a necropsy confirmed this was the killer. Later they found her kit and placed it in a zoo. Because of the area's prevailing sympathy for predators, it was reported that more funds were initially raised by a zoo for the cougar's surviving cub than for Schoener's children. National media criticism of this imbalance caused this to be reversed eventually.
Barbara was the first person in California in the 20th Century to die from a mountain lion attack.
Sources: (San Diego Union-Tribune; 05/08/94, A-3; 05/13/94, A-3;) (Pete Schoener, via an email from Tom Chester's sister Connie Vavricek, who knew Barbara Schoener, as reported in Mountain Lion Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada by Thomas Jay Chester) ("Cat Attacks - True Stories and Hard Lessons from Cougar Country" by Dean Miller and Jo Deurbrouck; Sasquatch Books; Pages 1-23)
09 May. A couple and small boy approached at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. See this non-injury report HERE
09 May. 7-year-old Kyle Musselman was attacked by a cougar while on his way to school just 50 yards downhill from his home in a new subdivision of Gold River, British Columbia. Brad 12, Brittany 8, and Kyle Musselman headed for school about 8:30 am. They met up with friends Tony and Jamie Olsen before starting the descent on a 100 foot paved staircase that dropped three flights with long asphalt landings between flights to the school below them. An alder shrub thicket grows on either side of this path. Tony called for a race. Kyle shouted and took off after him. Suddenly a cougar burst out of the thicket and took after Kyle. Its front paws found Kyle's right shoulder, spun him around, and thrust him down on his back. Kyle screamed, kicked at the cougar's belly and tried to hold the cougar's jaws with his hands. The cougar was striking at Kyle with its front claws and trying to bite his face. Tony threw rocks at the cat while Brad scrambled back home to get his father.
Barefoot John Musselman sprinted back with Brad to try to save his younger son. Kyle was now motionless on his stomach in the brush. John Musselman thought the boy must be dead. Meanwhile, the cougar took Kyle's face in its mouth and began dragging Kyle away from his father. It had scalped the boy. To his horror, John saw Kyle's bloodied exposed white skull with the scalp hanging down, coated with leaves and dirt. Still no motion from his son. John locked eyes with the cougar whose returning gaze and posture firmly said, "This is mine." John glared harder and so did the cat for a long moment. Finally a fury arose in John and he bared his teeth and yelled "Get off him!" The cat flinched but didn't drop its prey. John then charged the cat yelling, "Get off him!" again. This seemed to break the cat's trance, and at last the cat dropped Kyle and ran.
Kyle was lying face down, so his dad supported his neck as he'd been taught in first aid class and turned the boy over. He gasped when he saw what was left of Kyle's face. Only the tip of his nose remained with nostrils holding it to his head. Both cheeks were shredded with skin turned inside out to reveal muscle and bone. His mouth was ripped apart. There was tear from temple to ear. His eye socket was mostly empty with only a flattened eyeball, and the ear on that side was ripped. A little bubble of blood appeared where Kyle's mouth should have been.
John kept repeating for Kyle to breathe though he wasn't sure Kyle could hear him. Then John thought he heard his son. With great effort, Kyle barely audibly asked, "Who are you?" John was hopeful at last. He answered, "Daddy, just hang in there."
John carried Kyle to the schoolyard where a teacher drove them to the Gold River clinic. A chopper then transported Kyle and his dad to the nearest hospital in Campbell. His injuries were beyond the skills and facilities in Campbell, so he was next transported to Children's Hospital in Vancouver. The plastic surgeon in Vancouver told John, "I can't believe he's alive." She warned that he and Kyle's family should not have hopes of seeing Kyle's former face again.
The hospital kept pieces of Kyle's cheekbone on ice for refitting in future surgeries. Options for face and scalp reconstruction were discussed as well as the process of installing a glass eye. For now, wires held Kyle's face together. He faced possible complications from shock and organs shutdown due to blood loss and dehydration, even potentially lethal infections.
When both his mom and dad were finally brought to Kyle's recovery ward, John's dad thought to himself that Kyle was not in the broken bones and infection ward, he was in the heart attack, bleed-to-death, burn-to-death ward. His wife who was not prepared for the extent of Kyle's wounds wept, but John finally smiled inside, as Kyle was alive, plugged into beeping machines, with stitches all over, and tubes--just like everyone else in the room. And John had seen much worse when he first rolled his son over at the attack site.
Gold River RMCP Constable Rick McKerracher shot the cougar minutes after the attack. This cougar was apparently in good health. One official, however, B.C. Environmental chief Doug Turner, thought the animal showed signs that it might have been struck by an automobile recently.
When Kyle returned home to a town optimistic that his recovery would ease them back into the popular comfort with predators and belief in human superiority over them to the extent of viewing themselves as their guardians rather than mere prey, this failed to be their instant response. Kyle was emaciated, he had bright pink scars tracing the path of claws through his forehead and eye, and only one side of his face moved when he bravely smiled into the hopeful crowd. When Kyle spotted his best friend and said, "Hi John," appalingly unprepared for reality by his family and peers, Johnny ran. He told his mother, "That's not Kyle. Its got his voice but it is not his face." In addition Kyle had lost the verve that made him popular. Even the sound of rustling paper would make him jump, as it sounded like an approaching cougar. For now, it was too real and too painfully clear that Kyle had suffered significantly and was truly lucky to be alive.
Kyle's dad suffered months of screaming nightmares remembering his son's bloodied and mangled head. Day by day, as John watched Kyle go to school without hiding his scars and mustering the courage to ride his bike and play hockey one-eyed, he began to feel better.
In reading this report, it occurs to me that the boys deciding to race (running) may have triggered the cat to chase Kyle instead of ambushing Brittany Musselman who was trailing and who might have been the choice otherwise.
Sources: ("Cat Attacks - True Stories and Hard Lessons from Cougar Country" by Dean Miller and Jo Deurbrouck; Sasquatch Books; Pages 41-56) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kindby Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 88)
17 July. A mountain lion injured a 2-year-old boy at Apache Lake in Arizona's Tonto National Forest on Sunday morning. Joey Day and Suzi Humphreys of Tucson were camping in an open beach area when they were awakened by their son, Jesse's, cries. The lion had been pawing at the sleeping boy and then began to drag him away as he slept on a mat. His parents wrestled their son away from the lion, grabbed him, and hid on their boat until the lion left. Jesse needed 10 stitches to close a wound on his ear. Source: (Bob Wilson; The High Country News; 08/24/94) (The Arizona Republic Archives; Lion Attack, 07/20/94)
16 August. 50-year-old Troy Winslow and his wife Robin, along with 48-year-old Kathleen Strehl, were camping in the yard of a rustic cabin near the isolated hamlet of Dos Rios in Mendocino County, California, when a fight broke out between their collie dog Monty and a 2-year-old, 60-pound rabid female mountain lion at 4:30 a.m. The lion retreated under the cabin after they threw rocks at it. Near daybreak, the cougar attacked Kathleen, giving her four puncture wounds in the arm and knocking her to the ground. The others jumped on the cat and Robin stabbed it with a 12-inch kitchen bread knife. The cat bit off Winslow's thumb during the melee when the man grabbed the animal near its mouth. Source: (San Diego Union-Tribune; 08/17/94, A-3;) (1995 DFG Outdoor California)
20 August. 5-year-old Andrew Braun was throwing rocks into the Dungeness River about 3 miles upstream from Camp Hardy in Olympic National Forest when a cougar rushed out of the brush and attacked him with his father Mike standing next to him. His bothers Steven, 8, backpacker Bob Laschinski of Scandia, and Matthew Demaray, 12, were nearby playing about 50 yards further upstream. The Brauns were from Kitsap County and were on a camping trip.
Mike Braun heard a sound behind him and looked down to find Andrew on the ground with the cougar on top of him. Instantly the shocked father yelled at the cougar, and it ran off with Mike chasing it. Mike grabbed a stick in the river and swung it as hard as he could, believing he hit the cougar in the leg, as end of the stick broke off and the cougar fled further into the bushes but would not depart the area.
While the backpacker tended to Andrew's wounds with his first-aid kit, Mike and the two boys kept the cougar at bay by hurling rocks at it as fast as they could. But Andrew was going into shock, so Mike and Bob took turns carrying him back to camp 3 miles downstream. Two campers there were nurses who gave Andrew further aid before the group carried Andrew to the trail head where their vehicles were parked. Andrew was rushed to Harrison Hospital in Bremerton, Washington, where he was treated for 2 puncture wounds to the chest and a gash on his back and released.
Fish and Wildlife agents returned to the scene with dogs the next day. They tracked, treed, and killed the 55 pound, approximately 18-month-old cougar. They must have felt it their duty to go beyond their area of expertise, rationalizing on behalf of a pretty young cougar that it probably did not know the difference between a small deer and a human, while there are those who question the wisdom of attempting to psychoanalyze hungry wild animals.
Sources: (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 95-96) (The Seattle Times Cougar Wounds 5-Year-Old In Rare Attack On Human; AP; 08/24/1994)
07 October. Off-duty Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Rich McKerracher was horseback riding with a friend not too far from the Peppercorn trailer park in Gold River on Vancouver Island, B.C. A cougar suddenly sprang from the bushes at McKerracher's horse. The officer kicked at the cougar and received 5 long scratches above the top of his boot as the animal lashed back. Thanks to McKerracher's intervention, his horse was not hurt. Conservation officers tried to locate this cougar but could not. Coincidentally, this was the same officer that shot the cougar that attacked Kyle Musseleman in May of the same year (1994).
Sources (CNews Boy who survives cougar attack on Vancouver Island upset with cat, says dad; Dirk Meissner; 08/23/2006) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 88)
October. Hunter confronted by 2 lions near Detroit Lake, Oregon. See this non-injury hunter report HERE
10 December. Iris M. Kenna, a 5-foot-4 and no more than 115 pounds, 56-year-old woman in excellent physical condition, was killed near Cuyamaca Peak at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California, while hiking to Cuyamaca Peak alone in the early morning. She was attacked near the bench dedicated to her at the intersection of the Lookout Fire Road and Azalea Springs Fire Road / Fern Flat Fire Road. She was an avid birdwatcher, and it appears she became aware of the cougar on her morning hike before it attacked her. Evidence at the scene as well as the autopsy report revealed her death was not mercifully instantaneous.
Most accounts state that at about 11:00 a.m. 2 hikers found her backpack her knit cap, her glasses, and a tooth near a puddle of blood on the fire road. Both rushed back to Paso Picacho Campground to report this. One of the hikers was an off-duty highway patrolwoman. She delivered the apparently saliva soaked backpack to the rangers. Several rangers and a county deputy headed for the scene and soon found her body and evacuaed the area. State, park, and local officers searched for the killer cougar until 9:45 p.m. when the cougar came back to reclaim the now removed body. Houndsmen were summoned to tree the cat. The officers then shot the approximately 130 pound 5-year-old male cougar described to be in good condition.
Sources: (San Diego Union-Tribune; 12/11/94, A-1)(Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 150-151) ("Cat Attacks - True Stories and Hard Lessons from Cougar Country" by Dean Miller and Jo Deurbrouck; Sasquatch Books; Pages 144-148)
13 December. A 25-year-old water quality specialist, Susanne Groves, was attacked and mauled by a cougar on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation (near Cortez, Colorado). Standing in the shallows down river from the Grass River Bridge, she was taking water samples from the Mancos River. At about 10:30 a.m., (the RMN reported it was 1:30 p.m.) she heard something moving on the bank above. It was awhile before she looked up and saw a lion standing on top of the river's north bank. When they made eye contact, it came down the embankment toward her. Groves stayed in the water thinking the cat was just curious and would leave. As a precaution, perhaps, she began moving from her position nearer to the north bank back toward the south bank where her vehicle was parked.
Instead of leaving, the cat entered the foot deep water without hesitation. Groves now angled across the river toward the north bank, keeping her eyes fixed on the lions as it stared intently back. She yelled and threw water and ice chunks at it. Nothing seemed to deter the cougar which continued to parallel her path, always easing closer. The lion never showed its teeth, nor did it assume any threatening pose such as crouching. The pair went back and forth across the river several times. Then Groves slipped on some rocks and lost her balance. When she fell, the cougar reared up to attack. Groves stated she thought the animal was going for her neck but since she was falling, its jaws instead closed on the back of her head. She was (held) under water for perhaps 10 seconds. Then she must have broken free, as she jumped up from the water and began to run for the south bank.
Once at the bank, she may have slipped, as the next thing she remembered was being on her back and shoving her arm in front of her face in a defensive move. The lion bit down on her arm, but somehow Groves managed to get on top of the lion, her arm still in the animal's mouth. She no longer cared. She shoved her arm as far back in the cat's throat as she could, effectively pinning the animal down. She reached for the forceps (hemostats) dangling in reach from her fishing jacket and stabbed the lion in the eye. She reported her intent was to kill it by reaching the brain.
The lion only responded by growling and biting her arm even harder and by continuing its struggle to get out from under her. This battle continued about 5 minutes until the lion finally released her arm as Groves continued stabbing it. Groves continued to keep the animal pinned beneath her for another 5 minutes or so, as she did not want to give it the strength from gaining firm footing. The lion finally squirmed free, and Groves sprang to her feet to face her attacker. The lion just stood, still staring, so Groves lunged at it to test what the lion would do. It remained standing still, so Groves began backing downstream toward her truck again. About 20 yards away, the bank was less steep and she climbed it and then followed a cow path toward her truck.
Groves managed to get back to her truck and drive for help. Her injuries included five puncture wounds in her head and cuts and scratches on her arms and legs. She was treated at Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez and released the same day. Federal Animal Damage Control officers got permission from Ute tribal officals and then used dogs to quickly track and kill the lion. It appeared to be an old female, weighing only 63 pounds - about half the weight for a healthy adult female. Its teeth were worn, so it may have been unable to catch enough food.
Source: (Gary Gerhardt; Rocky Mountain News; 12/15/94) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Pages 135-136)
1995 (4 Reports found))
January. A mountain lion, estimated to weigh at least 100 pounds, charged 17-year-old Michelle Rossmiller, as she bent down to get books out of her car parked in the driveway of her house. Her mother Lisa Rossmiller said: "She saw it coming at her, thought fast and closed the door before it reached her. It was running straight at her. It's not afraid of us at all. It just snarls and hisses at us. Then when it goes away, it doesn't run. It just saunters off as if to say, 'OK, not this time.'" The family first saw this lion in about December, and the encounters with it escalated. It became increasingly aggressive toward Lisa Rosmiller's children at their 4.5 acre home near Julian on Volcan Mountain in San Diego County, California, about 10 miles north of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Despite the information that California cats had attacked and killed two hikers in that park just months previously and had eaten most of at least one, her neighbors strongly objected to Rossmiller calling authorities, and they wanted the lion left alone. One neighbor expressed her faith that lions are normally only curious about people and will not harm them. Over the objections of neighbors sympathetic to "curious" lions, Rossmiller finally called the state Department of Fish and Game when the lion charged her daughter. Source: (San Diego Union-Tribune; 01/28/95, B-3)
20 March. Scott Fike, a 27-year-old cyclist, was pounced on from the brush by a cougar near Mount Lowe in the Angeles National Forest, California. He was bitten on the head and sustained cuts from the cougar's claws before he managed to drive it off with rocks. His injuries were treated at a nearby clinic. He sais he had never been that scared in his life. The cougar was tracked down and killed by authorities.
Sources: (San Diego Union-Tribune); 03/25/95, A-3) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 159 & Table page 213)
25 May. A railway worker was mauled on a Canadian Pacific Railway rail grade near Kootenay Lake, near Creston, B.C. He called for help on a radio, and a fellow worker drove the cougar away with a track wrench. The injured man received puncture wounds to the throat and lacerations on his right arm. The cougar was killed. Sources: (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Table page 214) (R. Dalone in letter to Matt Austin, 06/11/1997) (B.C. Ministry of the Environment report)
13 September. 48-year-old Moses Street was stalked and repeatedly attacked by a mountain lion from dusk until he was rescued by Rocky Mountain Park Rangers at about 2:00 a.m. He was jogging on the popular Tonahuto Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado, when, by chance or instinct, he glanced over his shoulder and saw a cougar directly behind him, on its hind legs, in the final stage of attack. Waving his arms and yelling, Street managed to get the cougar to back off. He fended off a second approach with a large tree branch. He climbed atop the ruins of an old cabin and warded the lion off a third time by again swinging the branch. Street then scurried up a tree and hunkered down for a frigid overnight, dressed only in a T-shirt and running shorts. In the dead of night, the mountain lion began climbing the tree."I could just hear him," Street said. "If you've ever heard a squirrel scramble up a tree, magnify that. He'd put a claw in and there would be a crunch."Swinging blindly with his branch, Street hit the lion, and it retreated. When he failed to return from his jog, Street's girlfriend called the Park Rangers who finally found and rescued him.
Sources: (The Washington Post; Tom Kenworthy; A Conflict Between Creatures 07/13/1997; Page A01) (National Scenic Trails Internet Mailing Lists; 09/07/98) (Bike Colorado; Men's Journal; Anthony Brandt; 09/98)
1996 (7 Injury and 2 Non-injury Reports found including a death in British Columbia)
16 January. Woman on horseback has snarl-off with lion at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. See this non-injury report HERE
12 February. A 36-year-old logger with the last name of Annand was attacked by a cougar while felling a tree near Little Espinosa Inlet, on Vancouver Island, near Zeballos, B.C. The cougar jumped on his back as he stepped back from the snag he just cut. Though his chain saw was now off, he hit the cougar with it and ran a few steps. Despite these attempts to dislodge it, the cougar remained on his back. Fortunately, Annand's hat, neck coverings, and heavy clothing gave him some initial protection. When another logger came to help, the two men managed to drive the cougar away. Annand suffered a 2 mm puncture wound to his neck as well as bruises to his back.
Conservation officer Ben York came to the site with a cougar hunter and his hounds, but was unable to locate the cougar due to extremely dry conditions causing poor tracking conditions.
Sources: (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 89 & Table page 214) (B.C. Ministry of the Environment report) (Cougar by Harold Danz; Copyright 1999; Pages 278-279)
24 May. 28-year-old Phil Anderson was attacked by an approximately 80 pound mountain lion near Whiskey Bend Trailhead, along Wolf Creek Trail in the Elwah Valley of Olympic National Park, about 20 miles west of Port Angeles, Washington. The lion moved out of the shadows "smoothly and quickly". A mountain biker and wrestler, Anderson first ran backwards but fought when it leapt on his chest. Anderson fell to his back, locked his legs around the cougar, flipped over and buried his thumbs in the animal's throat and choked the cat in and out of consciousness. He kept the front paws pinned back with his forearms. After about two and a half or three minutes, the cat still wriggling, got Anderson's thumb in its mouth and smashed it. That gave the cat the edge. Anderson lost his grip, and the cat's claws went into a whirl and managed to rip through his thick sweatshirt in a couple of places, giving Anderson puncture wounds to the chest in addition to the puncture wound to his thumb. Not wanting more, the lion then fled. Park Rangers declined to hunt down the lion, stating that having so many lions in that area would make it difficult to know which one it was. Sources: (Read his account HERE from the Peninsula Daily News; by Mike Dawson; 05/26/1996) (Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife report, 05/26/1996)
June. A National Park employee deterred a cougar charging her while she was jogging. See this report HERE.
07 July. 6-year-old Christine Frank was hospitalized for a massive scalp wound from her right eyebrow to her left ear in a cougar attack in Lytton, British Columbia. The girl was on a swing in the yard when she spotted a lurking cougar. She sprinted toward Larrane Leach (see 1991 encounter), tripped on a rock and was in the paws of the cougar. "The cougar flipped her right over," Leach said of her latest cougar encounter. "The dog was out there, started barking and chased it." Source: (Don Zaidle; Outdoor Life Online; Killer Cougars; February 2001) (Animal People Online - News; 03/1997) (Jason Proctor, Lora Grindlay, Charlie Anderson; The British Columbia Newspaper Foundation; 10/01/1997)
07 July. 8-year-old Lance Veinguessner was attacked by a mal-nourished two- to three-year-old male cougar near his family's cabin on Arrow Lake near Nakusp, in southeastern British Columbia. Lance was with a group of 3 other children and several adults when attacked. The cougar rushed into the middle of the group, grabbed the boy, and dragged him off by his neck into the bush. His father managed to drive the cougar off. Lance was rushed to a Vancouver hospital and treated for severe damage to his trachea, vertebrae, and abdomen. He was reported to be in stable condition the next day. Conservation officers arrived on the scene within thirty minutes. They quickly tracked and killed the cougar. Sources: (Outdoor Life Online; Killer Cougars; by Don Zaidle; February 2001) (Animal People Online - News, 03/1997) (Cougar Attacks, Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; 2001; page 62 and Table page 215)
19 August. 6-year-old Steven Parolin was on horseback near Princeton, British Columbia with his mother and siblings when a mountain lion suddenly jumped from a bush at him. The boy was thrown from his horse and attacked. His mother Cindy Parolin leapt from her horse and clubbed the lion away from her son with a branch she was able to break off. The horses had fled in the melee, so his brother and sister carried Steven over a mile to their car, and then they got him help. He survived the near scalping inflicted by the cougar and made a full recovery after receiving 70 stitches in his head. His mother died after fighting the cougar for over an hour. Sources: The same as below for Cindy Parolin.
19 August. A British Columbia mother was killed defending her 6-year-old Steven. A little after 6:00 p.m. *35 or 36-year-old Cindy Parolin and three of her four children, were still riding on horseback on the seldom traveled Tulameen River Road nearest to the tiny town of Tulameen about 30 miles northwest of Princeton, British Columbia. They were on a more than 20 mile journey to meet Cindy's husband Les at a camping site. Their horses became increasingly nervous. The cause became clear when a mountain lion was spotted. It suddenly jumped from the undergrowth at little Steven. The boy was thrown from his horse where the lion attacked him. The mother screamed at it and leapt from her horse, clubbing the lion away from her son with a branch she was able to break off. Then she continued to fight the animal and instructed her two other children to get the injured youngster to the safety of their car and then to get help. Finally, her older son found an armed camper, Jim Manion, who was led to the scene. He found Cindy still fighting the cougar more than an hour later. Much of her upper torso had been consumed. It was amazing she was still alive. She asked if her children were OK, and when Jim said yes, she said in a half-whisper, "I am dying now," and she collapsed.
Jim fired a shot to scare the lion away from Cindy's limp body. It worked, but as lion slinked toward him, his gun jammed. At the last moment, Jim got his gun cleared and fired at the charging lion without being able to aim. He hit the lion and it fled into the brush. Wildlife officials later found it where it died about 150 feet from the trail.
Cindy died from her injuries. Her son Steven made a full recovery. This male mountain lion weighed only 65 pounds though there was plenty of prey in the area.
Sources: (Mountain Lion Alert by Steve Torres) (Animal Attack Files) (Don Zaidle; Outdoor Life Online; Killer Cougars; February 2001) (E-mail from Jerry Stoddard, author of COUGAR HUNT; 07/23/2003) (*Cougar Attacks, Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; 2001; page 62 and 235) ("Cat Attacks - True Stories and Hard Lessons from Cougar Country" by Dean Miller and Jo Deurbrouck; Sasquatch Books; Pages 111-136)
1997 (6 Injury Reports found including the death of a 10-year-old boy + 3 Non-Injury reports and 1 Animal-only Report)
06 January. Roy Parks was right arm was slashed when he came to the aid his dogs under attack by a cougar at his home near Peshastin, Washington. He had gone to the garage to feed the dogs and was astounded to see a cougar on top of one of them. As Parks watched, the cougar quickly attacked the other dog. Fearful of losing his pets, he jumped onto the cougar and started punching its head. The cougar struck back, scratching Parks's arm with its forepaw. Parks' fury made the cougar back off, but the animal now felt trapped. Finally, it broke out through a glass window. Inexplicably, it then re-entered the garage. When Officer Grant and Sergeant Ward of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife arrived later, they immobilized and removed the cat. It was later euthanized and found to be a non-rabid but malnourished female. Sources: (Cougar Attacks, Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; 2001; pages 97-98 and Table page 216) (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife incident report; 01/06/1997)
20 May. About 11 p.m. a mountain lion attacked a 250 pound bartender, Shadursky, at California Pines Lodge and Restaurant near Alturas in Modoc County, California, as he was taking out the trash. He heard something walking around the pool and went over to see what was going on. When he walked around the pool, he saw what he thought was a large dog about 40 yards away. He called out to the animal, and it turned. Then he realized it was a lion and moved to get away. When he turned back around to see what the animal was doing, it had followed and then stopped about 12 feet from him.It seemed like it stood there for about 10 seconds, but it was probably only one or two, Shadursky said. Then, all of a sudden, it came at me. I punched it, and it knocked me down. I figured once I was down it was going to jump me, but when I looked up it was heading off toward the lake.Shadursky said he got up, shaking, and ran to his pickup. As he headed to town, he had to stop after about a mile because his heart was beating so fast. Reluctant to make a report, he decided to do so anyway, so that others would be warned of a lion in the area. He had a cut to his hand where he'd struck the lion and scratches he probably received when he fell. Source: (Modoc County Record; 05/22/1997)
26 June. Serena Smith was pushing cattle through some willow brush when she was suddenly thrown to the ground. When she tried to get up again, she realized a cougar had her by her right wrist and began screaming. The cougar dropped her wrist and walked around in front of her and waited, as if unsure how to proceed. Nearby, her husband Dan was driving around the brush on his ATV and came to aid her when he heard her screams. The cougar eventually retreated. Smith was treated by a doctor for a deep puncture wound of the thigh, three punctures of the right wrist, and deep scratched down the back of each shoulder.
Sources: Alberta Fish and Wildlife, Claresholm; The Nanton News; CTV, Channel 4 in Calgary; Dr John Tenove, the Nanton Community Health Center
14 July. 4-year-old Rafael DeGrave of Bougival, France, was attacked by a mountain lion at Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, at about 10:45 a.m. on the Park Point Lookout Trail. The incident took place near the parking lot close to the northern boundary of the Park on the first morning of the trail's reopening, after being closed due to two recent sightings of a mountain lion. Rangers had pepper-sprayed the area and fired guns into the air in hopes the mountain lion would move on. [Pepper spray has been proven to work only when contacting the mucous membranes of the animal, not when sprayed indirectly into an area.]
Park Ranger Bob Erner was escorting a group of visitors, including Rafael and his parents, back to the parking lot after another visitor had reported seeing the lion along the trail again that day. Some walking ahead in the group spotted the lion crouched in the undergrowth several feet from the trail. When Rafael saw the lion, he screamed and took off running, triggering the lion's chase instinct. The cat quickly grabbed Rafael by his face and shook and dragged him for several yards into the brush before the family was able to chase it away.
Rangers administered first aid to Rafael at the scene, and then the youngster was transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital in nearby Cortez, Colorado. He was treated for cuts to his nose, neck, and shoulder. His ear had to be surgically reattached. He required 52 stitches.
The 60 pound male lion was killed shortly after the attack. A necropsy showed it to be healthy. The family of Rafael filed suit against the National Park Service three years later, charging that park officials failed to protect them from the "known risk" posed by the mountain lion.
Sources: (Wildlife Report; from the Colorado Division of Wildlife; 10/22/1997) (Deborah Frazier; Rocky Mountain News; 07/16/1997) (John C. Ensslin; Rocky Mountain News; 06/28/2000) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 137-138, Table Page 217)
17 July. A 10-year-old Lakewood, Colorado, boy, Mark Miedema, was killed by an adult female cougar about 4:30 p.m. during a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park to Cascade Falls on the North Inlet Trail in the Summerland Park area near Grand Lake, Colorado. He was on a 3 day camping trip and hiking with his parents Dave and Kathy and 6-year-old sister Rachel. The family was working its way back down the trail when the 50 pound boy ran ahead of his family to check on some nuts he had put out earlier for the animals along the well-traveled trail. He got out of sight, and when his family arrived at his location, all they could see was his feet and legs extending onto the trail from adjacent brush. They thought he was fooling them at first. Then the cougar (which they first thought was a deer) attempted to drag him away.
The horrified parents began to scream, and their screams chased the lion off into the underbrush. Mark had puncture wounds to his neck and head and was bleeding profusely. He had no discernible pulse or respiration. His mother was a trained nurse, and she began CPR immediately. Meanwhile, nearby hikers Chris and Joe Kafka of Westminster, Colorado, stopped to help. Chris, a registered nurse, assisted with a now two-person CPR while Joe ran to the trailhead for help and called 911. Medical officer Harry Cannon arrived after more than an hour of resuscitation efforts. Mark was declared dead. Though he had a cracked skull and broken nose in addition to facial, neck, arm, and chest wounds, a later autopsy determined that Mark died from choking on his own vomit.
The 88 pound, pregnant lion returned at about 7:00 p.m. and jumped at Ranger Chris Philippi who was guarding the boy's body while other rangers spread out along the trail to warn hikers. "She was crawling to her prey," Philippi said. "We looked eye to eye." Philippi shot at the animal 3 times, wounding her. Later at 8:04 p.m. tracking dogs treed her, and she was killed.
This was the second death ever in Colorado from a lion attack.
Sources: (Denver Post; 05/01/98, B-01) (Wildlife Report; from the Colorado Division of Wildlife; 10/22/1997) (San Diego Union-Tribune; 08/16/98; 04/25/99, BOOKS-8) (Kevin McCullen; Rocky Mountain News; 07/19/1997) (Cat Attacks - True Stories and Hard Lessons from Cougar Country by Dean Miller and Jo Deurbrouck; Sasquatch Books; Pages 108-110) (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 138-140, Table Page 235)
04 September. Foal killed a few miles north of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. See this animal fatality report HERE
20 October. Man uses mountain bike as defensive shield west of Boulder, Colorado. See this non-injury report HERE
Early November. At about 11:00 a.m., Sweet Water Ranch employee, 64-year-old cattleman Don Massey was attacked by a starving mountain lion as he was gathering cattle in the Book Cliffs, a remote area about 70 miles south of Vernal, Utah. It lunged at him and scratched his horse which bucked and threw Massey to the ground. The lion chased the horse briefly then returned to Massey, now armed with a branch, and his young Black Labrador dog, Blackey. The lion chose to attack the dog, locking its jaws around Blackey's throat. Massey beat the cougar with his branch and knocked it unconscious. Then Massey killed the cat with a rock. He was treated for a bad scratch from the lion to his right thumb. Massey had thought Blackey dead, but he was found at the ranch the next morning. It was determined that the lion did not have rabies, but Wildlife Manager, Steve Cranney, and Information and Education Officer for the Division of Wildlife, Ron Stewart, stated the female cougar was less than a year old, approximately 4 feet from head to tail, and so thin that her bones were showing. A gash on its leg may have diminished its ability to hunt normal prey in the area such as rabbits, squirrels, and deer. Source: (Hans S. Moran; The Deseret News; Starving cougar attacks Vernal man; B-03; 11/12/1997) (Salt Lake City Tribune; 08/10/98)
Special thanks to Jacob Hackford, Utah, for his research regarding this incident.
28 December. Women and children charged at Caspers Regional Park, California. See this non-injury report HERE
31 December. Father shoots cougar stalking his family near Ruch, Oregon See this non-injury report HERE
1998 (5 Injury Reports found + 4 Non-Injury reports)
28 April. At 2:00 p.m. experienced hiker and a Lakewood State Park ranger, Andy Peterson, 24, from Littleton, Colorado, was attacked in Roxborough State Park, Colorado, while hiking alone on the Carpenter Peak Trail 2 to 3 miles west of the visitor center. Decending the trail, the 5' 6", 130 pound hiker came upon a lion which may have been young, approximately 80 pounds, and female. It was chewing on a stick. At first he couldn't believe his luck. Then fear overtook his excitement. Peterson's legs shook as he eased quietly backwards, up the trail. He reached for the Swiss Army knife he always carried in his fanny pack and glanced at it. He was doubtful its two inch blade was much of a defense. In the brief time he looked away from the lion to size up his knife, the lion had begun slowly advancing, now with his eyes on Peterson's. (Click photo above to enlarge)
He made himself look as big and menacing as possible. He shouted. He waved his arms and jumped up and down. Instead of retreating as he expected, instantly, the cat was directly in front of him, seeming to size him up before attacking. It stared at him, its ears up and alert. So Peterson backed up. The lion advanced. Peterson kept shouting. The cat bared its teeth, squinted, and flared its nostrils. Then the ears flattened. The lion let out a growl and lept, paws extended. It slammed into his chest, causing them to tumble down the trail, ending up side by side in a rolled up mass of fur, claws, and blood. His blood! Peterson jumped up, and the lion missed him on a second leap. He careened down the path this time, trying to fend off the cat with the shirt that had been tied around his waist.
When the lion suddenly stopped, Peterson grasped his pack and swung it at the lion, missing it repeatedly as the lion easily dodged his swing. Once again he started backpedaling down the trail with the cougar staying inches away, evidently toying with him. When his escape path dropped down steeply through a series of boulder steps, he hurtled down, skipping over the boulders. The cougar launched into the air and tore into him just as he hit the ground. For a second time they rolled together, down the trail. When they landed, Peterson was on his knees, over the lion that was on its back. His head was in the lion's mouth, a large tooth an inch in front of his left eye. The lion's teeth were sunk into the top of his skull. Its jaws loosened slightly, then bit down a second time, searching for a firmer hold. Blood cascaded down over his face.
With his knife still in hand, he slashed at different angles, aiming at the lion's throat, but because of the lion's thick fur and skin, he failed to draw blood. Raising the knife high over the animal's head, he plunged it into the back of its neck. Once. Twice. Nothing, not even a whimper as the lion clawed his face. With an effort he was able to see that the knife's blade had closed on his index finger, cutting halfway through. Reaching over the cat's head with his other arm, he managed to pry the knife open, just as he also realized that his right hand was touching the cougar's right eye. With all the desperate force he could muster, he plunged his thumb into its eye, simultaneously sinking the knife into the cat's skull with his left hand. The lion shrieked, releasing its hold on his head and pulling its claws from his neck. The lion jumped backwards.
Peterson hurled a rock the size of a volley ball at the lion's side. Then, backing down the trail, out of sight from the lion, he turned and ran. Peterson was losing blood fast and was still almost three miles from the trailhead. Halfway down, where the trail went through a thick stand of ponderosa pine trees, in full stride, he glanced over his shoulder and believed he saw the lion eyeing him from a distant tree! Feeling futile and panicked, he managed to call on his legs to drive him even faster, and again he glanced over his shoulder. This time he saw a "divine vision" instead of the lion, and felt saved. He continued racing down the trail where he encountered a group of hikers. After 30 minutes with a mountain lion and 2½ miles at a dead run, his body shut down. When he heard the thunder of an approaching rescue chopper he knew his nightmare was over.
Jim Jones, an area wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, was quoted in the newspaper as saying that the lion probably wasn't driven away by the hiker's action, but instead "just lost interest", since lions are used to receiving wounds from their prey. Later he was quoted in a magazine as saying that mountain lions have been known to retreat from prey that fight back.
The lion was baited and hunted but was never found. The residents in the very nearby and "upscale" Roxborough Park suburb outspokenly rooted for the lion, as they didn't want even an attacking lion shot. About 9 months later in Lakewood, Colorado, (an established Denver suburb) about 15 miles away from where Peterson was attacked, artist Joe Beckner spotted a mountain lion in the ponderosa pine beside his barbecue grill. He called 911 only after he carefully studied the lion since he wanted to capture it in a watercolor later. It was missing its right eye. The police tranquilized and moved it.
Hospitalized in fair and stable condition, Peterson received several dozen stitches to his face, neck, upper chest, both shoulders, and right leg. He set a record at Swedish Hospital in Englewood, Colorado by requiring 70 staples to close his head wounds. The encounter with the mountain lion has divided Peterson's life into pre- and post-attack. He used to be an avid solo hiker; now, he rarely hikes, and never alone. Even when walking to his car at night from a shopping mall or supermarket, Peterson looks over his shoulder. He has nightmares. But because of his "vision" while losing blood and running toward safety, Peterson also perceives a divine purpose behind his attack. Not formerly a practicing Christian, he was babtized 2.5 months after the attack. The near-death experience prompted him to reconcile with his father and led him to change careers. Peterson had been studying for a degree in park management; now he is an inspirational speaker - bringing the story of his attack and his vision to churches and youth groups. On May 11, 1999, he appeared on Oprah. Sources: (Denver Post; 05/01/98, B-01; 05/06/98, B-03) (Andy Peterson's Own Online Account; 1998) (The Boston Globe Magazine; Wild in the suburbs; By David Baron; 08/22/1999) (New Man Magazine Online; Attacked!; by By Rhonda Sholar; date unknown) (Douglas County News-Press; Man survives attack by mountain lion; By Mike Colias; 05/06/1998)
25 May. Armed only with a pocket knife, Mary Jane Coder, 41, fought off a mountain lion that repeatedly tried to attack her three daughters, ages 6, 8, and 9, in Big Bend National Park in west Texas. The lion kept trying to "herd out" one of her daughters at a time, but Coder charged at the lion to protect her children, yelled, and waved her knife. The lion wounded her hand, but the family managed to retreat to their car 2 miles down the trail. Source: (Nando News; Reuters News Service; 06/08/98)
31 July. Dante Swallow, a 6-year-old boy, was jumped by a cougar while hiking with about three dozen other campers on Marshall Mountain near Missoula, Montana. The cat pinned him with its paws and bit into his neck, but he was pulled from its jaws by the efforts 16-year-old counselor, Aaron Hall, who probably saved the youngster's life, officials said. The boy survived with scratches and puncture wounds. The cat slunk away and was later tracked down and killed. Source: (San Diego Union-Tribune; 08/16/98)
01 August. A 6-year-old Basin, Montana boy, Joey Wing, survived a lion attack with 200 stitches. The lion attacked the boy as he played with five other children near the Swift Dam Campground west of Depuyer according to Pondera County Sheriff Leon Simpson.... he saw this lion. He started backing up and hollering, 'No! No!' He turned and started to run and it attacked him. It bit him on the back of the skull and his back. He had pretty good lacerations from his throat around his windpipe clear to his ear.Source: (Boy, 6, returns home from cougar attack; Associated Press; Post Register; 08/04/98)
August. Woman defends herself and a friend with with pepper spray in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. See this non-injury report HERE
04 August. A cougar gravely injured 5-year-old Carmen Schrock, when it tore apart pieces of her skull at a campground near Metaline Falls, Washington. She was walking to a restroom at Noisy Creek Campground near Sullivan Lake when the lion clamped its jaws on her head and began dragging the child into the brush. Carmen screamed, bringing her nearby mother to the rescue with a baby in her arms. The mother, Carolyn Schrock, screamed and frightened off the cougar. The lion remained in the vicinity and was killed by a game warden.
Carmen received a fractured skull and brain damage. Source: (John Craig; The Spokesman-Review; 08/25/99; 08/06/98)
22 September. A Forest Service worker was stalked about 15 miles from where Carmen Schrock (above) was mauled. See this non-injury report HERE
08 October. Horseback riding club menaced in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. See this non-injury report HERE
09 October. Riding club campers again menaced in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. See this non-injury/pet report HERE
1999 (6 Reports found including the death of a 3-year-old)
05 February. Man confronted by lion that killed his dog in Ketchum, Idaho. See this pet report HERE
17 April. Eight-year-old Tayla Westgard was bitten on the face and abdomen at a camp near Hope, 150 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, British Columbia. She was saved when Myra Baloun from her camping party beat off the animal with a tree branch. Myra says despite being a young cougar, it wasn't intimidated by her aggressive behavior. But Conservation officers say she acted in the best way possible. The cougar was later caught and killed by conservation officers. The little girl suffered severe facial lacerations, eye damage and puncture wounds to the chest.
Sources: (Animal Attack Files) (Vancouver, Canada Guidebook) (Chek TV News)
20 July. A 50-year-old logger was seated in his truck with another man at 11:45 a.m. on Vancouver Island, along the Fairservice Logging Road, near Lake Cowichan, B.C., when a cougar raced out of the brush and leapt up and pawed his arm. The man received a 3/4 inch long cut on his wrist.
Conservation officers used hounds to pursue the cougar for 2.5 hours before losing the trail due to extreme heat.
Sources: (Cougar Attacks - Encounters of the Worst Kind by Kathy Etling; The Lyons Press; Copyright 2001, Page 89, Table page 221) (B.C. Ministry of the environment report)
24 August. 4-year-old Jacob Walsh became the second Eastern Washington child in as many years to be dragged off by a cat that only let go after being chased off by a screaming adult. The boy was attacked about 2:30 p.m. as he played outside his grandparents' rural home in a wooded area near Barstow, about 11 miles north of his hometown of Kettle Falls. Friends and family scared the cougar off, and rushed the boy to a Colville hospital where he was treated for multiple wounds and was eventually reported to be in stable condition there. Initially, Jacob was seriously injured in the afternoon attack by the cougar which pounced on him and started to drag him into the woods.
His grandfather, Darrell Shute, has lived most of his life at the home where Jacob was mauled. He commented: "We've lived in this country a long time. When I was smaller than Jacob, I was running around these hills without anyone other than a dog with me, and nobody was concerned." Now, he said he and his wife, Karen, worry that their nine grandchildren will no longer consider their home safe to visit.
The cougar, a young male, was tracked and killed less than three hours after the incident within a quarter-mile of the attack site by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officers and a local hound hunter. The cougar's brain was tested for rabies but no report of rabies was made.
This attack was the tenth recorded in Washington state, but the eighth in the last decade. The only fatality in Washington was the first recorded attack in 1924 in Okanogan County.
Sources: (John Craig; The Spokesman-Review; 08/25/99) (Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife News Release: Cougar attacks rare, despite recent incident; Contact: Madonna Luers, 509-456-4073; 08/25/1999)
11 September. An 11-year-old boy was attacked and wounded by a mountain lion as he was playing with a friend on a sandbar in Idaho's Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho. The lion rushed out of nearby bushes and pounced on the youngster. The victim's father ran to the attack scene and drove the cougar off the boy by punching it, then threw sand in its eyes when the cougar refused to back away after releasing the boy. A nurse was camping nearby and was able to administer treatment to the boy who suffered serious puncture and laceration injuries to his forehead, shoulder and back.
The cat was tracked by a hunting outfitter with dogs and accompanied by Fish and Game officers. The emaciated, approximately 18-month-old cat weighing only 47 pounds was trapped about 10 minutes away. It was to be killed and tested for rabies. Source: (Greg Moore, Idaho Mountain Express, 10/06/99) (Discovery Online, Earth Alert - Big Cats, 09/15/99)
October. 54-year-old male runner chased in Boulder County, Colorado. See this non-injury report HERE 02 October. Evidence uncovered in June of 2003 positively indicates that 3-year-old Jaryd John Atadero was killed and carried away by a mountain lion. From the initial 1999 investigations, officials had theorized that Jaryd may have been attacked and dragged off by a mountain lion. That horrific possibility emerged four days after his disappearance with news that a dog team and trackers had discovered a small footprint and other subtle signs of Jaryd Atadero that suddenly vanished about 175 yards from where mountain lion tracks were found. Major Bill Nelson of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office and search commander for the first four days after the boy disappeared stated that as the 1999 search progressed, there were multiple reports of cougar signs and sightings in the area. At that time, the Larimer County Sheriff's Sergeant Justin Smith said, "It's certainly consistent with why there have been no solid signs of Jaryd." Until 3 years and 8 months after his disappearance, though, no trace of him had been found in the area where he had been hiking about 1 1/2 miles up the Big South Trail in Poudre Canyon, in Colorado. Hiding and trying to scare them along the trail, he had become separated from his 6-year-old sister, Josallyn Atadero, and 11 adults, themselves separated into 2 groups. Tragically, two fishermen he encountered around noon on his adventures also neglected to restrain the wandering 3-year-old when he asked them where he could find bears.
June 4, 2003, Jaryd's clothing was found by 2 hikers, Gary Watts and Robert Osborne, on a steep (45 degree) rock slope 436 feet above the Big South Trail where the boy was hiking when he disappeared 65 miles northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado. After an official search was begun, his remains (a molar and the top of his scull) were found ten days later about 150 feet from where his clothing was discovered. It was the day before Fathers' Day, June 14, 2003, and the remains were found just about 10 minutes after his father, Allyn Atadero, arrived at the search scene. Allyn was allowed to cradle his son's tooth next to his heart before it was taken into evidence. Osborne and Watts, respected outdoorsmen and businessmen from Fort Collins, both are positive a mountain lion killed Jaryd. "In my mind I have no doubt at all that he was killed by a mountain lion," said Rob Osborne. "As soon as we looked at the fleece jacket and looked at the other clothing, we could see puncture holes from teeth. It looked to me like he was carried, not dragged, up the slope." Duggins Wroe, a wildlife biologist from Wyoming, has examined Jaryd's clothing found at the scene and concluded that damage to the shoulders and upper arms of the pullover are consistent with that caused by a mountain lion grabbing its prey. Click either photo for more . . .
Sources: (Denver Post; 10/05/1999, A1; 10/06/1999, B6; 10/08/1999, B1; 10/10/1999, B5) (Colorado Springs Gazette - Telegraph; Colorado searchers fear the lost child may have fallen prey to mountain lion; by Bill McKeown; 10/07/99) (The Coloradoan; Punctures in toddler's clothing convince hikers: 'In my mind, I have no doubt at all that he was killed by a mountain lion.'; by Miles Blumhardt, Matthew Benson, and Sarah Langbein; 06/12/2003) (The Rocky Mountain News; Cats nearby on tot's hike Cougars spotted during '99 search; by Joe Garner; 06/14/2003) (The Rocky Mountain News; A poignant Father's Day gift; by Julie Poppen; 06/16/2003) (The Coloradoan; Atadero case may prompt negligence inquiry 'Routine procedure,' sheriff's spokeswoman says; by Matthew Benson; 06/17/2003)
2000 (8 Reports found)
01 January. Two cougars shot in Republic, Washington, after eating pet cats. See this pet report HERE
24 January. 75-year-old Clarence Hall, a hunter working for the Canadian government to kill problem wildlife, was attacked by the cougar he was about to hunt. The cougar had killed a dog at the home of Cecelia and Barry Mack on the Nuxalk Indian Reserve in British Columbia the previous night. While Clarence was waiting for the rest of his hunting party, without his rifle, he was checking out tracks on the nearby Tatsquan Creek. (He left his rifle in his car since he wasn't tracking and because he was in town.) Clarence noticed the cougar under a tree only 40' away, and tried to get back to his car. Due perhaps to his retreating action, the cougar attacked him on his neck, which felt like "being struck with a baseball bat." The cougar threw him to his back, bit again and shook him. Clarence shouted for help, then placed his hand over the cougar's lower jaw, with his thumb, forefinger and index finger behind its bottom canine teeth, which released its grip on his neck. He described:Immediately, I envisioned the cougar ripping my belly open with its front claws. With my right hand, I pulled the cougar's head, neck and shoulder over my chest, rendering the front claws useless as I pinned the cougar's claws to my chest. I then instantly threw my left arm around the cougar's neck and shoulder.Barry Mack then shot the cougar four times from only a foot away. When the cougar went limp, Clarence removed the cougar's teeth from his skull. He received over 100 stitches, and nearly lost his right hand, which fortunately has responded to therapy, leaving only some impairment. Clarence Hall explains that the cougars in Bella Coola valley are starving, making them more prone to attack, because wolves have moved in and are depleting the deer population, the cougar's usual diet. Sources: (The Daily Courier; 04/03/2000) (Salon.com; How to Survive a Cougar Attack; Christopher Ketcham; 02/12/2002)
04 April. Victoria Martinez, a 4-year-old girl, was attacked and seriously injured by a mountain lion at Bartlett Lake in Arizona's Tonto National Forest at about 7:30 p.m, 20 minutes after sunset. Her family was setting up their camp not far from the water. Her parents were putting the bedding in the tent, and Victoria and her brother were just outside the flap of the tent swatting at bugs when the lion attacked her from behind. The lion dragged her for about 15 yards in the dark. She got tangled in a thorn bush, and her parents scared the lion off. The child's father threw rocks at the lion, yelling and chasing the animal until it released Victoria. The lion crushed the back of her skull, nicked her carotid artery and put several deep puncture wounds in her torso. As of 07/21/2000, Victoria was reported "doing very well considering all that she has been through".
After the lion was chased away, District Ranger, Delvin Lopez, said about 15 minutes later the large, healthy, approximately 4-year-old male lion, thought to be Victoria's attacker, ran through another campground and tried to catch a dog. He was chased again. The lion returned to the spot where he dropped his prey. The third time it returned, the lion was killed. According to Fran Barbano at Mountain Lions: Facts and Fallacies, this cougar had been shot in the hindquarters with a shotgun sometime prior to this attack. Barbano states that Randy Babb, an Arizona Game and Fish Department Biologist and Information and Education Project Manager in Mesa, noted that the wound was old. It had healed and there was no fresh bruising or tissue damage, but shotgun pellets (bird shot) were lodged under the skin. Source: (e-mails from Victoria's Aunt, Stacey West, on 07/20/2000, 07/21/2000) (The Arizona Republic; 05/01/2000; 05/04/2000.)
03 May. "A small cougar" swiped its claw across the leg of a man near Siletz, Oregon. See this unconfirmed cougar report HERE
01 September. Man shoots cougar that killed his dog near Sequim, Washington. See this pet report HERE
Read the word-for-word account HERE.
Warning: If you are sensitive to graphic details, this one page story "takes you there" and then some.
10 September. Hunter shoots charging lion east of Eugene, Oregon. See this hunter report HERE
15 September. Dog wards off lion in tree from 6-year-old in Malott, Washington. See this non-injury report HERE
mid September. Hunter shoots charging cougar near Colorado Springs, Colorado. See this hunter report HERE
08 November. Hunter shoots menacing lion near Mehama, Oregon. See this hunter report HERE
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This page by Linda Lewis may contain updates and retain some expanded attack accounts for Mountain Lion Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada by Thomas Jay Chester. If you know of an attack not listed here, please send an email to or to Tom Chester.
Permission freely granted to reference or even reproduce this page as long as links remains intact which credit all sources and Tom Chester at http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_attacks.html, as his was the rare and comprehensive research I originally found for multiple lion attacks in North America