California bow hunter pleads guilty to killing mountain lion in Laguna Mtns near San Diego


Bruce, the bowhunter, comments from Bloodydecks posted with his permission

So the next time one of us bowhunters has to defend ourselves do you really think anyone is going to even bother to call DFG and endure this baloney?

On Saturday the 26th of November I went archery deer hunting in the Laguna Mountains.

The following occurred:
Ø Approximately 0615 arrived at my ground blind.
Ø At approximately 0700 while slowly scanning terrain I saw the mountain lion sneaking through some small trees heading in my direction with his eyes fixated on my location with his ears slightly pinned back.
Ø At this time I was thinking that maybe the lion didn’t see me so I stood up in plain sight drew my bow and yelled “Hey” at the top of my lungs! My adrenaline was flowing and I know that you should make yourself as large as possible as well as yell at the lion.
Ø The lion froze up but then preceded a couple more steps towards me still maintaining eye contact. The lion was now approximately 20 feet from my location.
Ø At this point I shot the lion with my compound bow and it dropped and then struggled down the hill toward my direction.
Ø The arrow struck the lion just in front of his left front leg in the chest area. The arrow didn’t exit the animal and was broke off inside the chest cavity.
Ø By the time the lion stopped struggling he was about 5 feet from my blind on the left hand side.
Ø The lion looked like it was suffering so I took a second shot but the arrow was deflected by a dead branch and hit the lions paw and then a small tree.
Ø I then left this location to go get my hunting partner and see how to contact the Fish and Game Department.
Ø My hunting partner was able to contact a friend to have the Fish and Game officers call my partners phone since mine had poor reception in the area.
Ø I told the Agent what happened and gave him my GPS location.
Ø When the agents arrived they took my statement and decided pretty much from the start that I was lying. It was more of an interrogation that an interview.
Ø At one point they had decided to call it self defense and took the animal.
Ø As we were hiking out of the mountains the game warden called my friend and said they needed to see us at our vehicles.
Ø When we arrived at our vehicles, they asked me who tried to cut off one of the claws?
Ø I stated no one and that it was from the second shot that I took but missed. It had hit the paw when it was deflected.
Ø At this point they became enragedsaying that I had lied about the second shot and then decided to write me up for the illegal take as well as “Obstruct / delay of peace officer”.
Ø At the time I didn’t think it mattered about the second shot that missed. It wasnt the arrow that killed him anyway.
Ø They had me drive 45 minutes back to Alpine (friends house) before citing me.
Ø They then seized my bow and arrows.
Ø My hunting license and tag were not taken.
Ø They decided that they would change their mind from “self defense to illegal take and position of a mountain lion”as well as removal of illegal game. They took the animal not me.
Ø They wrote the citation stating that the lion was quartering to my just passing by and that I hunted the lion on purpose. I explained that if I had been I wouldnt have called them!

I am a sportsman and not a poacher and I follow the rules and laws to a tee at all times just to avoid all these problems. If I didn’t think that I could have been attacked or killed I would have let the animal pass with no incident. I truly felt like this was a self defense issue!

I have never had a violation from Fish and Game or any other law enforcement agency and I consider myself a law abiding citizen.

I can tell you that in the future I will not trust Fish and Game enough to even report a poacher because they may try and say I was in with them!

I did my days in court and the best the DA would do is reduce it to an infraction with a $500.00 fine. They would have dismissed it but they said the Fish and Game Commision had been leaning on them hard to prosecute all fish and game cases!

before I got a lawyer the DA wanted to give me a criminal misdemeanor and 3 years probation, $500.00 fine and to relinquish my bow.

It was all about money and deals! this is the first and hopefully the last time I have to go to court!
y best advice is to never trust them! They would cite their own mother if they had a chance! I've heard a lot of stories about them and now fully beleive them.

Now I have to find out where they are stroring my bow so I can get it back. I'm thinking that I'll probably get a letter from Fish and Game trying to take away hunting for a couple years besides. Not sure what happens now. Case was closed as far as the courts are concerned but I'm sure F&G will want to screw with me some more!

Hopefully this is understandable since i'm writing in a pissed off mood.

Be careful out there everyone because they will screw you wether you think you are doing right or not!

Note: they also ramsacked my backpack, my friends backpack, looked at my camera pics as well as our personal cell phones. I think they were looking for pictures etc. I guess they don't have to follow the 4th amendment? I know the NRA was checking into that issue.

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I am quite anal when it comes to following game laws. :)


I speak fluent Vise-Grip
“We can’t get into this guy’s head as to why he shot the lion and then reported it,” Capt. Raton said. “It’s possible he panicked and was afraid and shot it. But we don’t believe the animal was coming at him or was a threat.
And your evidence is ........ ?


Well-known member
And your evidence is ........ ?
As he said "WE BELIEVE". Makes you wonder if they have an agenda, we have all heard the stories of animal rights activists infultrating the DFG, or as Bruce the bowhunter stated "it was all about money"


Well-known member
Normally I'd ask to see both sides to the story. From the article it seems there is a fair amount of both sides. It really, really becomes difficult to even think about having even casual contact with a wildlife LEO when these things happen. This is not how my states wardens do their work. They actually get a lot of cooperation and support from the hunting community. I have had nothing but great experiences when checked in the field. Hunters get to do ride alongs and even volunteer to film robo deer stings from time to time.

My question is how are you going to top this one officer Rasse? Jesse's right and I can smell the stink 900 miles away. What's the point of even calling in to report a wildlife crime if your out in the field? With attitudes like that your bound to get run through the wringer for doing your civic duty.

Not having access or wanting to try and get access to court and evidentiary records I am nonetheless wondering how they exactly determined that the cat was not coming at him. IF I understand this right he put one in the chest as it was approaching him. Sorry, but if that is what happens that's self-defense.

So Officer Rasse, was your goal to alienate those that most likely to help you in your work? Cause if that's the case, your doing a bang up job.


Well-known member
This is pretty scary. It makes me contemplate a little differently now what I will do if confronted by a mountain lion while hunting. If I feel my life is in danger and I need to shoot, do I shoot and then run or report it ...


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Personally, I don't have enough information to make the call. I took a report of an archery hunter that was knocked down by a lion. The hunter said that he believed that he and the lion were stalking the same group of deer when he was hit from behind and knocked to the ground by the lion. With dirt in his eyes and blurry vision, he could just make out the rump and tail of a lion running away into the woods. There were four slices through the left sleeve of his shirt and four semi-deep cuts on his left triceps.

My personal approach in these situations was to advise the person (prior to any statements being made) to take a breath, try and relax, get a cup of coffee, take your time and write a rough draft, in detail, of exactly what happen as best you can remember. Remember to answer the who, what, when, where, why and how questions as you write. (I had them write, "Who, what, when, where, why and how" at the top of their paper). Leave enough space between the lines so details can be added as they are remembered. The mind recounts occurrences as snapshots not as the complete movie of the event. Out of 20 frames in a movie, we can recount just one in twenty but that doesn't mean the other 19 frames are insignificant. Regard every detail as significant. Also, as we recount the incident, we may not remember the sequence of events in their correct order. As we go over the experience in our mind, we tend to remember things that happened at the beginning or ... at the end or ... in the middle ... so with extra space between the lines we can add these details as they are remembered and put them in their proper order. Once I gave the person these instructions, I left the room or got back into my truck and waited until they had finished their report.

Men remember "facts". Women remember facts and the emotions attached to them. In this case, the emotions must be remembered with the facts. "I was afraid", "I felt sick and scared", "My knees were shaking and I had tunnel vision", "My heart was pounding so hard I couldn't breath", "I had a hard time nocking an arrow because my hands were shaking so bad" etc. These are emotions and physiological reactions attached to the facts we are remembering and should be written in the report. They are important because they speak to a person's state of mind at the time of the incident. Contrary to what Capt. Raton said, we can "get into a guy's head" if he tells us what he was thinking/feeling at the time the incident occurred.

All of this stuff is important and a good investigator knows it. A bad investigator has no idea what I'm talking about. A game warden with two years experience has not done enough investigations to acquire the skills necessary for this type of an investigation. And "knowing the woods" does not necessarily mean the person is a good investigator.

The worst thing a person can do is to leave out a significant detail (shooting two arrows) in the first telling of the story and then add it in at a later time especially if the physical evidence indicates something else happened. This makes it appear as though a person has something to hide. In this case, appearances (not necessarily the facts) lead to a guilty plea.

Common Sense

Well-known member
The "truth" may be somewhere between what the warden thinks and what the hunter thinks. But unless you are Chuck Norris, just being within bow range is going to make one fearful.


Well-known member
20 feet ? A healthy adult cougar can cover that distance in about what, half a second ? Less than seven yards. I don't bow hunt . Does a bow even have a sight pin for seven yards ?

Good job bro. Next time retrieve your arrow after kitty bleeds out and walk away.


Well-known member
In any case, the lion knew the hunter was there long before the hunter knew the lion was there. The cat had plenty of time to bolt. It became a case of predator vs. predator. In the end, the bow triumphed over the cat...... Can't see what the problem is...... I would make the same decision as Bruce 100 out 100 times. If I can see the pupils of a predators eyes at 20 yards, I'm dropping the hammer every time. Legal or not, my goal is to come home and see my wife and kids every day after a hunt. That's the promise I make to them being a father and a husband. I'll be damned if I have to worry about some sorry ass section in a rule book if it jeopardizes me or one of my kin. As the good reads “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” In this case, I believe God gets himself another putty-tat sent to heaven.......Just sayin.........I'm not advocating illegal activity, but sometimes common sense just out weighs the ___________...........(you fill in the blank)


I'm told Bruce's hunting partner was cited for hunting his wife's deer tag. That doesn't help your case either when that pops up during the contact by the wardens.


Well-known member
Wouldn't it be nice if you could just pull out your sidearm and shoot a round in the air and the lion runs off.


Well-known member
I've been hunting for years and have seen exactly two mountain lions, one in NV and one in AZ. In those states, lion tags are over the counter. Both of those lions left the area at full speed within seconds of being spotted. Big difference in CA where lions have no fear of man. By the way, in both states Game & Fish ask hunters to please buy a lion tag and kill as many as possible. In AZ, we have a limit on how many can be taken in each unit per year. The limit never gets reached and we still have way to many lions. You guys in CA need to follow the law - SSS.

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