Iowa Teen Shoots Mountain Lion

The mountain lion attacked first. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. You can only smile in a photo with a dead mountain lion if the lion attacked first. No seriously, that’s very cool and I’m just jealous. I wish a mountain lion would attack me while deer hunting because they make one hell of a mount. reports:

PLYMOUTH COUNTY, Iowa – A Rock Rapids teenager shot and killed a female mountain lion Saturday near Akron while he was out deer hunting with his family, marking the fifth time a mountain lion has been killed in Iowa, according to Department of Natural Resources records.

The Sioux City Journal reported that 17-year-old Jake Altena fatally shot the animal with a Savage bolt-action 20 gauge shotgun.

After he heard rustling that sounded like movement, he immediately pulled his gun. When the animal came toward him, he pulled the trigger. Altena told the Sioux City Journal it was “one hell of an adrenaline rush.”

Fight, flight or freeze? Fight!


  1. avatar D-FENS says:

    The mountain lion attacked first. Yeah, I bet. Dumb, what a waste.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      (Clicks on article.)
      Why the nastiness? I saw nothing in the article to hint that he wasn’t telling the truth. Not knowing the kid and not witnessing the incident myself, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and say, “good shot”.

    2. avatar Gutshot says:

      You sound like one of those Druids.

    3. avatar Hunter427 says:

      Troll time this kid should have shoot after that lion had him by the neck. Then the anti Hunters would be happy. Good shot young hunter

  2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    That is a tiny mountain lion, not all that much bigger than a bobcat. I am thinking it was a juvenile?

    By the way, assuming the story is true, I have the willies now thinking about walking to/from my deer hunting locations in the dark.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      “That is a tiny mountain lion, not all that much bigger than a bobcat. I am thinking it was a juvenile?”

      I was thinking the same thing. Probably just kicked out of mom’s protection and hungry enough to hunt the deadliest prey. Sad really, they’re beautiful animals.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Adult females usually only weigh around 100 pounds, which is still plenty big to tear your shit up. Imagine a 100 lb dog coming after you, and they don’t even have razor sharp claws.

      1. avatar MiserableBastard says:

        And dogs can’t leap up to 30 feet.

    3. avatar Lurch says:

      You must have some really big bobcats where you are from. Ones I have seen here in the desert are nowhere near that size. Kid made a good shot, one he should be proud of.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Northern CA here. The bobcats I’ve seen are tall. And skinny. The bear and mountain lions I see vary greatly in size.

  3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Queue snarky comment about a cougar going after a 17 year old boy in 3, 2, 1 …

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Ha! I’ll see your snarky comment, and raise you a web comic on that topic:

  4. avatar M357M28 says:

    Even though, I don’t hunt, I enjoy all of Liberte Austin’s posts. Informative and a sense of adventure and humor thrown in. Keep it up.

  5. avatar TP says:

    Poor mountain lion. Sad

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    Good for the kid! Didn’t know cougars roamed Iowa…

    1. avatar Gabe says:

      The lion population is high and they are starting to be a problem. Nebraska has opened up hunting on them, I think an article was run here about that?

    2. avatar TXGunGal says:

      Mountain Lions can be pretty much anywhere there is a good food supply. Have deer, livestock, humans?
      On a visit to our veterinarian, mentioned we saw a Bobcat sighting on family cattle ranch, she remarked a Mountain Lion was seen in Williamson COUNTY a couple of years ago out in BFE
      Typically they see you before you see them. Very large, scary kitty.
      Stay armed, stay safe.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        We have one that visits the farm every year about this time and takes a kid (it’s baby goat season). We see it as nature’s tax, and seeing as we have about 150 kids a year, its a small price. We see the lion’s prints and hear her scream pretty regularly. Season on mountain lions are open here, you don’t have to wait for one to attack you. I’ve let this one live so that we can maintain some wildness, and so that my children understand their place in the food chain.

    3. avatar JasonM says:

      I don’t think we can really call them mountain lions in Iowa. Have you seen Iowa?

  7. avatar SouthernPhantom says:

    I had one of those damn things stalking me in southern Arizona, and they’re making a comeback in Missouri…

  8. avatar ironicatbest says:

    A starving man was shot and killed while protecting his food from someone who did not need it. Man who shot starving man gonads grew larger

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Why would a starving man have food to protect? He should eat it, and then he wouldn’t be starving.

      1. avatar ironicatbest says:

        The man was a lion, the food was the deer. They’re always starving because life out there ain’t so easy.

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          I bet that you love you some damn wolves also. Nature’s loving creatures etc etc etc

          This would seem to be a good example of shoot, shovel, and shutup. DNR can one step from jackbooted. They even think they need ARs so can join the gangbang at any shootings.

        2. avatar ironicatbest says:

          As a matter of fact, about ten years ago a nearby landowner ask me If I would shoot couple of Wolves that were watching him fish on his property. I said yes, thought bout it then walked the mile down to his place, unarmed, and told him ” no, I think it’s cool to have them around, besides they won’t stay here long.” He looked at me like I was crazy. Maybe I am? Crazy ain’t so bad

        3. avatar drunkEODguy says:

          fun fact, the lion/wolf/bear gives not a single damn how you feel about it. I wouldn’t go out of my way to kill one, but if one was encroaching me or mine and wasn’t dissuaded by human presence that tells me two things. One, this animal doesn’t fear humans, which is dangerous. Therefore, it needs to be reminded where it sits in the food chain.

          For all the bleeding heart druids, remember that man is an apex predator and part of nature too. Can’t shame one apex predator from acting like an apex predator while gushing over another doing the same damn thing.

  9. avatar Darkman says:

    Iowa DNR has been telling us for years there were no mountain lions in Iowa. Only a few wandering males. Then the story was there were no female lions. Now we have both which guarantees a growing population. While I understand that lions are and have been in Iowa and always will be. I’m also smart enough to know they can and will kill you if they see you as prey. This has happened in many of the states where lions are found. I haven’t let my wife mushroom hunt for several years due to the threat of lions. I never go into the woods unless I’m armed. Pistol always. Sometimes with a shotgun or AR. I know to date no one in Iowa has been attacked yet. Who wants to be first? These animals will Kill You and then EAT YOU at Their Leisure. So don’t take this incident lightly. If you live in Iowa and spend time in the woods stay alert. If you prefer not to be armed. Keep in mind you are nothing more than a food source for these animals. Just like a deer,calf,sheep or any number of other animals including your pets. Keep Your Powder Dry.

    1. avatar Swarf says:


      I feel bad for you that you see nature as so threatening. Especially in Iowa, for God’s sake.

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        Some one just like you will be first. Naive and uneducated. Hopefully it won’t be a child. I didn’t get to be 6 decades old with a life time of hunting believing that big cats including the so called small bobcat aren’t dangerous. I’ve seen what they can do. My guess you are a basement troll whose idea of in the woods is walking through the neighborhood park. See your type on firearms sites all the time. As my dad used to say all mouth and ass. Just like a baby jay bird.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          There are a number of lions in the hills and mountains around here, and although some have been taken with depredation permits in and around town (it is otherwise illegal to hunt them), they have never attacked anything larger in urbanized areas than a pet dog or a goat. A few joggers have been attacked in the LA area–but they were running and that just triggers a cat’s natural attack response. If you make yourself look big and act aggressive, they will leave you alone unless sick and desperate. Most will act embarrassed if you catch them stalking you and will slink away; they are after all ambush hunters.

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Mark N, that is some bad advice. We had a mountain lion attack a horse nearby.

      2. avatar ironicatbest says:

        Oh my and bobcats too. Lions and tigers and bears oh my. Owls got talons, ,. Eegad the teeth on those squirrels, why they could rip your veins apart. I had a vine that tried to kill me I tell yah, wrapped itself around my neck, I almost chocked. Thank gawd I had a chainsaw bayonet and a can of gas. That forest won’t get me.

    2. avatar CDC says:

      True Dat, Darkman.

    3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      If it makes you feel better, mountain lions never at tack prey from the front. For that matter even the really big cats don’t. Keep your head on a swivel and don’t turn tail and run and you’ll be fine. The people who usually get attacked are stupid Californians who first won’t hunt them and then go jogging in lion country with their ear buds in, oblivious to any danger until the lion’s fangs clamp down on their necks.

  10. avatar Swarf says:

    That sucks.

    Fuck you, kid.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Why the anger towards the kid? He defended himself. Same as you or I would.

    2. avatar Rimfire says:

      So you wouldn’t defend yourself? The kid did nothing wrong, why some people value an animal life more than a person’s is a mystery to me. I guess then you will disarm and walk thru the hood at night??

  11. avatar Bil says:

    Lyin’ sack of sh*t. That is a very small lion and no way was it stalking him. Pathetic kid should never hunt again.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Difference between small and skinny. That cat looks skinny. And hungry.

      If the DNR cleared the kid, why the hate?

      1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

        “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it” in the post kind of sets the table for doubting his story.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          The author got snarky. None of us, including the author, was there.

          The DNR hasn’t filed any charges. That’s good enough for me.

        2. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

          Jwm, mountain lions eat people. That’s good enough for me. I think we should do our damnedest to maintain our place on the food chain.

      2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources; ‘Mountain lions have no legal wildlife status in Iowa. That means that they c an be taken and possessed by anyone at anytime as long as legal methods and means are used to take the animal.’

    2. avatar Rimfire says:

      Bil, you were there? If not then stfu and lay off the kid. DNR trusted him, no charges were filed. End of story.

  12. avatar CDC says:

    Stealthy mother humpers, lucky if you kill attacking one with a bolt action anything. If you’re not bleeding there’s no doubt you’re lying.

  13. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    Juvenile cat?
    I know of two dead Californians who were partially eaten by mountain lions. The number of bear attacks is also going up. I don’t hunt. But I think the general public needs to understand the importance of culling the herd.

  14. avatar DrSchmancy says:

    A murder. Pure and simple.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Maybe in your alternate reality. Is it warm and safe in that fantasy realm?

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Murder is the intentional and unjustified killing of a human being.

      But go ahead, keep using the word in stupid ways. It helps identify you as a loon.

      1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        The common law definition is “the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought, express or implied.”

        Not that your definition was “wrong,” you just beat me to it.

    3. avatar drunkEODguy says:

      I wasn’t aware there were so many bleed heart tree huggers on a site for hunting and shooting sports. I’ll never understand the logic in hunt shaming/defense against wildlife

      apex predator 1 does predator stuff. A-OK

      Notice the amount of people bawling over this stuff drops rapidly when the animal killed is something like a gator or snake or really anything that’s not a cute, furry, mammal? Me too. I can understand being disgusted with poachers and hunters that don’t respect the game they hunt, but if an apex predator or some other dangerous animal is encroaching on you, it means it is not afraid of you and doesn’t see you as a threat. For those that don’t know, that is often a bad thing.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        I think the mention of the word “lion” on hunting/shooting sites attracts moonbats. It’s as if they run searches for it or something.

  15. avatar Robert H says:

    Mountain Lions were extirpated from Iowa and none had been confirmed since pioneer times. That changed in 2001 when a Mountain Lion was killed in a road kill incident in Western Iowa near Harlan, IA. Since then there have been many confirmed sightings and some lions killed. Lions have no protections in Iowa and can be killed legally, even if they aren’t an immediate threat to life or property. The interesting thing is that since 2001, confirmed sighting have happened scattered across the state and not confined to any specific region. For a time, it was thought that only juvenile males were present, essentially looking for new territory. Evidence is building that female lions are also present and a population could be building. Iowa has a large whitetail deer population as a likely food source.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Lions are solitary and have very large ranges and are very territorial, so they appear to spread widely in short order even if they are in actuality few in number. The males and females are together only for mating, and then the female will force the male away before the kits are born, because he will kill and eat them.

      1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        In the realm of evolutionary theory, I have to wonder how male lions acquired the instinct to eat their own young. It seems counterproductive to the whole concept of reproductive instinct.

        1. avatar Swarf says:

          Because A; it forces the female back in to heat so he potentially gets to mate again, and B; he sees the kits as competition, and C; the male wants to kill off kits that aren’t (maybe) his in order to produce offspring that is.

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        Iowa is 56,272 sq miles. IF you believe the IDNR there might be TWO lions in the entire state. Assume one male/one female HOW did they manage to find each other (in 56,272 sq miles area, bordered by large rivers) and produce this cub?

        PERHAPS there actually is a shitload of the things but they just hide. See also “dreamers”

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          ‘HOW did they manage to find each other (in 56,272 sq miles area, bordered by large rivers) and produce this cub?’


    2. avatar Hans says:

      Perhaps, we should introduce mountain lions
      into CONgress.

  16. avatar ironicatbest says:

    I’ve actually heard a mountain lion purr, it was loud. I did not know they could purr.I ve heard them squeak, sounding like good basketball shoes on a clean floor…. . …….. Many animal attacks can be avoided by shitting your pants and fainting

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      That’s your answer to everything.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Careful with that advise – that’s how I ended up married.

      Cats that roar don’t purr and cats that purr don’t roar. I guess mountain lions can’t roar.

      1. avatar ironicatbest says:

        What got me was the squeaking, or more of a chirp, I thot it was some kind of bird at first.

  17. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    This has been the most bizarre comment thread in the history of TTAG. Kid didn’t break any laws, cat looks like it was shot in the chest, consistent with his story.

    PETA meetings don’t have as much hunter hate.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      PETA meetings are focused on how to get more money and kill more puppies and kittens to cut overhead.

  18. avatar Gutshot says:

    “You can only smile in a photo with a dead mountain lion if the lion attacked first”
    Hell, I’d smile if I shot one of those pieces of shit randomly.

    1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      Rancher? I’d smile too. I just don’t get the hate for them if you aren’t a rancher or something.

  19. avatar Pat H says:

    “I wish a mountain lion would stalk me…”

    Be careful what you wish for.

  20. avatar Chris Cringle says:

    Just a few years back, a mountain lion attacked a small boy at Big Bend National Park in far West Texas. The boy and his family were in the parking area adjacent to the restaurant, in the most intensely “peopled” area of the Park. The story was that the cat, on the smaller side, was ill, and that desperation prompted the attack. The boy’s dad fought off the attack with his folding belt knife – I think it was a good-sized Spyderco.

    These critters are out there. They generally avoid us, and can generally be backed-off with arm-waving and yelling, but “incidents” are becoming more common.

    Personally, I wouldn’t hunt them, unless they were an active threat to people or livestock, but I would not hesitate to do as this boy did if one approached me.

    The location of the wound suggests that the shooter was looking front-on to the critter, which is not the typical hunter shot.

    1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      I’ve heard of one in Southeast Texas (probably around the Big Thicket, I wasn’t paying much attention), and my dad saw one in the country way outside of Lake Charles, Louisiana once. I also heard of one in North Carolina (or somewhere around there) that people believed to be a Chupa Cabra.

  21. avatar Jason A Somers says:

    Take it easy on the poor cat, she probably just wanted to stop by to borrow a cup or two of white tail from the boy.

  22. avatar Shawn Graber says:

    I’m reading a mixed bag of responses here in the comment section, like people are trying to judge whether the young man was right to shoot or not. As an actual, for real Iowan, I can say with absolute certainty that this boy is well within his rights. We don’t have to even claim self-defense for a cougar (mountain lion for you folks that live in mountainous states) kill; they’re shoot-on-sight in Iowa. Mountain lions are extremely sparse but if they’re bothering you, your property, or your livestock, open fire. The Iowa DNR has been trying to regulate cougars to only be harvested by a fur-bearer’s license, but that legislation, along with a proposed protected status for cougars, has not passed.

    “The DNR also requested that indiscriminate killing of these animals not be allowed unless they are about to cause damage or injury to property or persons. The legislation did not pass.”

    So essentially, indiscriminate killing of mountain lions IN THE STATE OF IOWA is frowned upon but perfectly, totally legal. To stay out of hot waters with the DNR, you *should* be a resident of Iowa and possess an Iowa Hunting Permit.

  23. avatar raptor jesus says:

    “It’s coming right for us!”

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email