Outdoors

Idaho boy, 10, escapes clash with mountain lion

Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officer Matt O'Connell talks to reporters in Boise, Idaho on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, about a mountain lion that was killed after chasing after a 10-year-old boy in southwestern Idaho. ( AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner) (Jessie Bonner / Associated Press)
Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officer Matt O'Connell talks to reporters in Boise, Idaho on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, about a mountain lion that was killed after chasing after a 10-year-old boy in southwestern Idaho. ( AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner) (Jessie Bonner / Associated Press)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A 10-year-old Idaho boy who came face-to-face with a mountain lion in rural Boise County escaped with minor scratches — and concerns that his friends at school wouldn’t believe his story, according to state wildlife managers.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said Friday the mountain lion was tracked down and killed after the encounter late Thursday. The boy, whose family asked not to be identified, received first aid at home for minor scratches and was expected to get a tetanus shot Friday.

The boy was not traumatized from his encounter, state wildlife officials said.

“His biggest concern was that his schoolmates wouldn’t believe him, which is kind of funny,” Senior Conservation Officers Matt O’Connell said.

The boy came across the mountain lion while searching for a missing hunting dog with his father near their home in a rural subdivision about 15 to 20 miles northeast of Boise. The boy ran from the predator but stumbled and fell. It was then the mountain lion took a swipe, scratching the boy’s arm and hand.

The child then yelled to his father and stood up, pulling out a hunting knife, which made the predator back down and gave the dad enough time to fire off several shots from his 9mm handgun to scare the lion away, O’Connell said.

Conservation officers with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, along with an off-duty officer from the Meridian Police Department, responded to the reported encounter and a couple hours later, tracked down the big cat.

The mountain lion, which was estimated to be about 18 months old, was found feeding on the carcass of the family’s missing hunting dog, O’Connell said.

“When a lion has actually made physical contact with a person and in conjunction with that, has killed a domestic animal and has been close enough to that residence, the animal did need to be euthanized at that time,” O’Connell said.

These types of encounters are extremely rare in Idaho, said southwest regional wildlife manager Steve Nadeau. Wildlife managers could recall only one other injury by a cougar. That involved a 12-year-old boy and was reported in the early 1990s on the Salmon River, he said.

“It happens in surrounding states more frequently,” Nadeau said.

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