Patrick Muri's girlfriend Cassie had never been to Montana before. She'll return to Portland, Oregon with a story she'll never forget.
Just after 9:30pm Wednesday night, Muri and Cassie returned to their cabin located about 40 miles northeast of Missoula just off Highway 83. Cassie went outside with their dog, a 40-pound Ridgeback mix. Moments later, Patrick heard Cassie's screams, went outside and reported seeing the dog thrown into the air. Muri grabbed a shotgun and fired a couple shots, causing the mountain lion to retreat up into a tree.
Muri reports that FWP was contacted and reportedly destroyed the cat.
Mike Thompson from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks confirmed that just after 11pm the lion was destroyed.
"We suspect, judging by behavior that this mountain lion, a young male, could indeed be the same cat that stalked campers near Harpers Lake."
The dog was taken to the veterinarian and treated for multiple puncture wounds.
The following statement was sent in a news release from FWP.
FWP Biologist, Jay Kolbe and wildlife conflict specialist, Bob Wiesner, dispatched the lion around 11 p.m. after responding to a report of a lion attack on a dog near a home on River Watch Trail, several miles north of Harpers Lake.
“We are relieved to have this lion out of the area,” said Kolbe. “Its approach on that child last week was a signal that this lion might continue approaching people, and it had not responded to multiple attempts to frighten it away.”
Kolbe said that the lion killed matches the witness' descriptions and photos of the Harper’s lion. The lion was a 117-pound young adult male with little fat and an empty stomach, according to Kolbe. FWP will transport the carcass to the FWP Wildlife Lab in Bozeman for further examination.
Kolbe suspects that it is a different set of lions that have been sighted recently at Salmon Lake Campground, and reminds those spending time at Salmon Lake, or anywhere outdoors in western Montana, to review lion safety tips.