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Minot man stops a mountain lion attack at close range

Attack stopped at close range

Submitted Photo Gary Gorney, Minot, holds the mountain lion that attacked him during a pheasant hunt Thursday.

It was a close encounter that Gary Gorney will never forget. The Minot man was enjoying a pleasant pheasant hunt Thursday near Garrison when his afternoon changed suddenly.

“That cat got up and started coming right at me,” said Gorney. “I guess my instincts took over.”

Gorney said he was talking on his cell phone when his German shorthair, Milly, went on point. He put the cell phone in his pocket with the expectation that a rooster pheasant was about to take flight. Instead, a large female mountain lion emerged from the tall grass and came right at him.

“I dropped my dad’s 100-year-old double-barrel, I don’t even remember doing that, and went for the sidearm that I carry with me underneath my jacket,” said Gorney. “My instincts as a military law enforcement officer took over. There was no thought process. It was self-defense.”

The mountain lion was within 10 feet of Gorney when it was hit by a bullet from Gorney’s 9 millimeter handgun.

“After I shot it both of my dogs went after it,” recalled Gorney. “They were on top of it. I wanted to pull them off but I wasn’t going anywhere near that lion!”

Gorney reported the incident to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. The lion was a female that weighed more than 100 pounds. It was the first mountain lion the long-time hunter had ever seen.

“I bowhunt the Badlands and I’ve been hunting the Custer Mine for 31 years and I’ve never seen a cat,” said Gorney. “I felt like I was in Africa hunting. The grass perfectly matched it’s coat.”

Gorney was hunting in the Custer Mine hunting area, located at the southwest corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 83 and ND 37, also known as the Garrison turn.

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