Man battles mountain lion with chain saw

Show of courage

Dustin Britton and Kirsta in a file photo. AP

The adult male lion, described as emaciated and showing other signs of starvation, was later killed by wildlife officials after it attacked a dog brought in to track it.

Dustin Britton, a 32-year-old mechanic and ex-Marine from Windsor, Colorado, said he was alone cutting firewood about 100 feet from his campsite in the Shoshone National Forest when he saw the 100-pound lion staring at him from some bushes.

The 6-foot, 170-pound Britton said he raised his 18-inch chain saw and met the lion head-on as it pounced — a collision he described as feeling like a grown man running directly into him.

 “It batted me three or four times with its front paws, and as quick as I hit it with that saw, it just turned away,” he said.

Wildlife officials said the attack, about 27 miles west of Cody, was highly unusual because mountain lions are reclusive by nature. Only eight cases of mountain lions acting aggressively toward humans have been documented in Wyoming over the last decade.
Given the animal’s low body weight — male lions in Wyoming typically weigh 140 to 150 pounds — it may have attacked Britton out of desperation, said Mark Bruscino, a Wyoming Fish and Game biologist who responded to the incident. “Starvation is a strong motivator for any animal in chasing a meal,” he said.

The wounded animal retreated after Britton inflicted a six- to eight-inch gash on the lion’s shoulder, leaving him with only a small puncture wound on his forearm.

After the confrontation, Britton and his wife, Kirsta, decided to spend the night in their pop-up camper with their two children rather than risk packing up with the lion still on the loose.

Wildlife agents were called the next morning, after Britton told a passing US Forest Service employee about the incident.

The family later carried on with their vacation, continuing to camp at sites in Wyoming and Montana.

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