Wild Wild West

It’s not every day here in Southern California you get to bag a wild lion from behind a 9mm pistol in the comfort of your own backyard, but that’s what an Orange County resident did yesterday morning when he confronted a mountain lion that had ventured from the adjacent Cleveland National Forest onto his Rancho Santa Margarita property.

Quoted in today’s L.A. Times article the trigger-happy former cop’s logic is impeccable:

Hill said he retrieved a 9-millimeter pistol from his car and entered his backyard through a side gate. He saw the cougar hunch down on a slope 30 feet away, with a 5-foot-high iron fence and a swimming pool between them. He feared the animal was going to attack, and he fired two shots.

“I thought I could be in trouble with the lion that close to me, especially when he went from standing up to hunching down,” he said.

So let me get this straight… after putting himself in potential harm by advancing toward the mountain lion and then seeing the big cat hunker down (not out of potential anxiety over its unfamiliar surroundings but because it obviously wanted to eat Hill) with not one but two barriers between them, the terrified Mr. Hill took it upon himself not only to break what I’m guessing is an ordinance against the discharge of a firearm within city or county limits but also a law against the destruction a protected species.

Slight digression: Uh, I know he’s identified as a former police
officer and I guess he’s allowed to be strapped despite his current lack of law
enforcement authority, but what the hell is he doing keeping
a weapon in his car?

Of course, with the animal now wounded thanks to Hill’s fine marksmanship and therefore a far greater risk to the populace, law enforcement and wildlife officials had no choice to finish the creature off after it was located dying about a quarter mile away some 90 minutes later.

The article makes absolutely no mention of whether Hill was cited for breaking laws, but being that it’s the OC’s outback, my bet is he’ll be hailed as a hero.

8 thoughts on “Wild Wild West”

  1. On the news last night Mr. Shooter mentioned that he feared for the safety of some kids that were waiting for a bus down the street from his house. I think he was justified in his decision. The pressure was on and he reacted according to his training.

  2. Okay, let me get this straight…

    -Ex-cop sees a mountain lion in his backyard.
    -He is aware that some kids are a block away, waiting for a bus
    -He has time to retrieve a gun from his car
    -He does not warn the kids to possibly go indoors
    -He approaches the mountain lion to within 30 feet (ten yards, football fans – pretty close)
    -He has a pool and fence between him and the mountain lion

    Does he ever call animal control or another authority?

    I’m not going to get riled up over the shooting of an animal, but this ex-cop sounds pretty lame.

  3. Justified in his decision? I dunno Paul… like Unsomnambulist said he had time to arm himself with a gun from his car and offered no warning to the purtported children at a bus stop some distance away.

    A few months ago I confronted two grown coyotes making themselves very much at home in an overgrown corner of my front yard (perhaps drawn by the population of neighborhood cats and/or our own which we let out on weekends). They hung around long and unafraid enough for me to go in, report it via phone to animal control and then finally chase ’em down my front steps clapping and yelling on to the end of the block when they wouldn’t skeedaddle on their own.

    With plenty of time to arm myself with my gun during the phone call with animal control I assume you’d consider me justified had I popped them from my porch and then made some excuse about being concerned about the toddler next door?


    Hill could have very well warned the kids, and monitored the big cat’s movements while his wife was on the phone reporting it. As it is he recklessly acted above the law and by shooting it, could actualy have exposed the neighborhood or pursuing law enforcement officidals to a far greater risk of attack.

  4. Last night, the news showed the raggedy, broken wooden fence the mountain lion used to gain access to his backyard. If you’re going to move into a McMansion smack dab in the middle where wildlife still lives, it might be a good idea to make sure your property is secured. The only reason he knew there was a mountain lion was that his wife & kid were freaking out from inside the house, instead of just leaving it alone.

  5. This guy is an asshole… the animal suffered. There was no “risk”. If he’s so afraid wildlife will attack, he shouldn’t live there. I wish I could give the mountain lion a gun to shoot this “ex-cop”. I hate guns, and starting to dislike humans.

  6. mother nature’s thinking- “hmm, today cougar, tommorow perhaps, hmm, a landslide or, hmm, a wildfire, hmm, perfect”

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