Bow hunter kills mountain lion
Hunter says big cat was set to attack
September 27, 1999
A hunter became the hunted earlier this month east of Meeker.
Jess Ring, a bow hunter from Bakersfield, Calif., faced off against a mountain lion while he was hunting elk Sept. 19.
Ring was hunting in game management unit (GMU) 12 near Yellow Jacket Pass east of Meeker when he found himself in a stand-off with a mountain lion.
Dusk had started to settle over the canyon where he was hunting. Several bull elk were bugling lower in the canyon. Ring and two hunting partners had been cow calling for 30 minutes trying to lure in the bulls. His hunting partners were posted further up the canyon. When he turned around to check if any elk had crept in behind him, he was surprised to see a mountain lion.
“Here was this cat in a crouched position less than 12 feet away from me,” said Ring.
Ring stood up, waved his arms and made noise trying to frighten the animal away. The lion didn’t flinch.
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“He just crouched a little lower and continued his staring contest with me,” said Ring.
Ring decided he wanted to make sure the cat knew he wasn’t an elk so he used his walkie-talkie and called one of his hunting partners. He began talking loudly. His partner, Duane Culken, asked if the cat had all four feet underneath it. Ring made it clear the cat was crouched with all four feet underneath it. The lion didn’t flinch.
“By now I had made it clear to the cat that I wasn’t an elk,” said Ring. “The cat just lowered its ears all the way back. I have a house cat that does the same thing just before it pounces, so I decided I didn’t want to play this game any more so I shot it.”
According to Ring, the arrow entered the cat through the neck and exited behind the rib cage.
“It was almost an instant kill,” said Ring.
When it was all over, Ring’s body felt the effects of being in a life-and-death situation.
“It was only after it was over that my knees went weak and I started shaking and sweating,” said Ring. “I guess survival instincts kept me calm while it was happening.”
According to Ring, the Colorado Department of Wildlife game manager who investigated the shooting said the mountain lion was 2 1/2 years old and weighed 120-125 pounds.
“It was in its prime,” said Ring “The DOW officer said it could kill a bull elk. I don’t think it would of had much trouble with me.”
Ring had mixed emotions about shooting the animal.
“I didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment like with shooting an elk or a deer,” said Ring. “It was a beautiful animal, they are one of the most magnificent animals we have. Being a predator myself I have respect for them. I have questioned myself a bunch of times.”
After it was all over Ring measured the distance between where he was standing to where the cat was crouched.
“It was four steps, about 12 feet,” said Ring. “I think if I wouldn’t have turned around within 30 or 45 seconds it would have jumped on me.”
Ring went on to have a successful hunting trip. He harvested a five-point bull elk and a mule deer.
“It was definitely a trip I will always remember,” said Ring.
The mountain lion carcass will not go to waste. Possession of the mountain lion was immediately turned over to the Division of Wildlife and, according to DOW District Wildlife Manager Bill deVergie, the cat will be sent to a taxidermist and be made into a pelt that will be brought around to children in schools to help educate them about wildlife.
“The kids love it,” said deVergie “It will be part of a kit that we bring when we visit schools. We have a bear, a bobcat and some other animals. It allows the kids to see the size of the animals and actually feel them.”
Even though Ring may have gotten more than he bargained for during his hunting trip, he said the area outside Meeker is one of his favorite places to hunt and he will return to hunt there given the chance.