One dad brought his little girl on her first elk hunting trip, but the animal she bagged was not an elk. The child noticed at the last minute that another animal was dangerously close, and staring at her with a hungry look in his eye. Her father was shaken by the thought of what might have happened, but he’s delighted that his little girl defended herself.
Joshua Caldwell and his daughter, 11-year-old Alyssa, went elk hunting in New Mexico right by the Colorado border. The two spent the day sitting in a hunting blind they made by a water hole, but they had no luck. The two decided to go down to the meadow to see if any elk were grazing at the base of the mountain.
After they walked about 200 yards, the dad realized that he forgot something back in the blind. He’d left the shooting sticks – poles used to help hunters steady their guns. He thought they might need them if they did spot an elk.
“I decided to head back up to grab them and told Alyssa to sit tight,” he said. “About 30 to 45 seconds after I had started walking, I heard a shot.”
Joshua thought Alyssa might have spotted an elk, but when he got back to her, his daughter had a surprise for him. “I asked if she had shot a bull,” he said. “She told me she had shot a cat. He was only about five yards away from her. She thought quick. When I saw how close he was, I got emotional.”
Alyssa killed a mountain lion that was apparently stalking her as prey. She almost didn’t see it until the last possible moment. “I didn’t hear him or see him until he was really close. I didn’t know exactly what it was but I knew it wasn’t a bobcat. I raised my gun when he crouched down.”
She hit the cat square in the head. It died instantly.
“I knew it was stalking me,” she said. “I had a feeling right before that something was watching me. After I shot, I kept the gun on it the whole time. Dad ran back and he thought I had shot an elk. I told him I had shot a cat and he got real emotional.”
The game wardens confiscated the cat. Mountain lion hunting requires special seasonal tags, and it’s generally considered a violation to kill one without them. The hunter has to be able to prove the animal was shot in self-defense.
The Caldwell family didn’t get into trouble for killing the cat, but they were not allowed to keep the trophy. “They didn’t give us any grief,” Joshua said. “We didn’t move the cat until they got there. We couldn’t find the shell casing in the long grass. They let us take pictures and they took the cat and let us continue hunting elk.”
The family continued with their hunt, and two days later, Alyssa bagged a trophy at 375 yards. “We took the cat in the lower bowl and the elk higher up the mountain,” she said. “It was a great hunt. We are getting elk European mounted and we have a lot of meat for the freezer.”
Source: Iso News
Photo: Lone Star Outdoor News
Alyssa with the mountain lion.