Iowa Teen Comes Face to Face With Mountain Lion While Deer Hunting

A 17-year-old from Iowa used quick thinking to get out of a terrifying situation.

It wasn't Jacob Altena's first deer hunt. In fact, only a year prior, he'd managed to tag out on a nice 12-point buck. But thanks to an unexpected visitor, this was a deer hunt unlike any he'll likely ever have again.

Altena was walking through the woods along the Sioux River in early December. He was carrying a shotgun loaded with deer slugs. The area where he was hunting doesn't allow high-caliber rifles for deer hunting, but does allow hunters to use shotguns with slugs. It was around 5:15 p.m. when he heard something move off to his left. Then things got interesting.

After quickly adjusting to see what caused the noise, he noticed a large mountain lion under some fallen timber. It was staring right at him from 15 feet away. At that point, according to Altena, instinct simply took over.

He pointed the barrel of his shotgun towards the animal.

"It was pretty scary," he said. "I was in shock. It made a jolt toward me and I instantly pulled the trigger."

Mountain lions aren't particularly common in this part of Iowa, but they've been known to find their way to the area. With abundant livestock and much wildlife, the wooded areas of western Iowa make for fantastic habitat for the animals. They're not a protected species, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The mountain lion Altena shot was an 80-pound female. He plans to have it mounted.

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