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Boy Not Seriously Hurt in Mountain Lion Incident

Thursday evening about 8 or 8:30 p.m. a young boy went out with his dad to look for a family pet bird dog that had been missing since the day before. They were searching in thick sagebrush near their home in a Mores Creek subdivision when the boy heard noises in the brush. But instead of the missing dog he had hoped to find, he came face to face with a young cougar. He panicked and ran. The lion gave chase. The boy stumbled and found the cat close by. The cat took a swipe with its front paw, scratching the boy on the arm and hand. The boy yelled to his father, who fired a round from his 9 mm handgun to scare the cat away. Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers, an off-duty Meridian police officer and a Boise County deputy responded to the incident. With the help of tracking dogs, the officers located the cat, guarding the pet dog it had killed. The officers killed the lion with shots from handguns and a rifle. The female cat was estimated to be about 50 pounds and a year and a half old. It is not unusual for young lions to get into trouble after they have left the protection their mother and are trying to learn to survive on their own, Senior Conservation Officer Matt O'Connell said. When a lion has made physical contact with a human, especially in the circumstance of having killed a pet dog, protocol is to kill the animal, he said. The boy's wounds were considered minor. Such events are rare; this the second recorded mountain lion incident involving injury to a human in Idaho. The other involved a 12-year-old boy on the Salmon River in the early 1990s.