Minot pheasant hunter kills mountain lion that charged him

Photo courtesy MGN/Pixaby

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — UPDATE: A recent encounter between a pheasant hunter and a mountain lion near Garrison raises the question of the prevalence of the animals in our state.

Your News Leader spoke with Stephanie Tucker with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, who said this is not a usual occurrence.

“Some adults tend to disperse away from where they were born to try to seek out and establish their territory somewhere else, and some mountain lions have literally turned up anywhere in North Dakota, but that is not typically where you expect to find them. You expect to find them in the Badlands,” said Tucker.

Tucker also said the hunter may keep the hide and some meat of the animal but must make plans to return the head, abdomen, and chest cavity within 12 hours of the kill.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Minot man who was hunting pheasants in the Custer Mine area near Garrison Thursday shot and killed a mountain lion that had emerged from tall grass and charged at him.

Gary Gorney says he expected to see a rooster pheasant after his German shorthaired dog had pointed to the area. Instead he was greeted by a female lion that weighed more than 100 pounds.

Gorney said he doesn’t remember dropping his dad’s 100-year double-barrel shotgun and reaching for his 9 millimeter handgun underneath his jacket.

“My instincts as a military law enforcement officer took over,” Gorney said. “There was no thought process. It was self-defense.”

The lion came within 10 feet of Gorney before she was shot. Both of his dogs sprang into action and jumped on the lion. Gorney said he wanted to pull them off but “wasn’t going anywhere near that lion.”

Gorney, who has a picture of himself holding the big cat, said it was the first mountain lion he had seen in 31 years of hunting. He said the grass perfectly matched the mountain lion’s coat.

“I felt like I was in Africa hunting,” he said.