Monthly Archives: December 2010

Kansas first mountain lion-related injury- sort of

A few weeks ago Byron Shaw headed afield fearing a mountain lion attack.

Within minutes the 22-year-old I’ve known most of his life was bleeding profusely.

But rather than a McPherson County cougar my friend owed his wound to a weapon he was carrying for protection.

Big handgun?

Super-sized can of pepper spray?

Shotgun with buckshot and slugs?

Nope, he was toting a steak knife.

You know the kind – cheap, thin blade of lousy serrated metal, so fragile you can break them cutting a tough steak.

No, he’s not some super-paranoid whacko a few arrows shy of a full quiver.

Byron Shaw was simply improvising.

“My brother had my hunting knife and I wanted something that would be handy and for some reason I had a steak knife in my truck,” said Shaw. “I was walking to my stand when I felt blood running down into my boot.”

A few days before he tried to fillet himself Byron Shaw heard some locals thought they’d seen a mountain lion enter his hunting ground.

The problem was he heard it from his father. Kendall Shaw has never missed a chance to play practical jokes on his two sons.

He once kept them keyed-up for years about a delapadated old house supposedly with a history so bad he couldn’t tell them about it.

“Every time we’d go by it they’d ask and I’d get all serious and told them I just couldn’t talk about it because it was so terrible,” Kendall Shaw said. “They were so (mad) when I told them the truth a few years ago.”

Like him, they’re  both wonderfully gullible.

Kendall Shaw said he couldn’t wait to built up the reported mountain lion to his son as he headed out to hunt that afternoon.

“I put it on him pretty thick, telling him the lion had all it needed in the pasture and there was no reason for it to leave,” Kendall Shaw said. “You hear those (stories) all the time but I knew it would get him thinking and worried.”

Byron Shaw admits he was extra jumpy that day after seeing trail camera photos of a mountain lion taken earlier this fall in northern Kansas.

Never mind it was only the fourth confirmed Kansas mountain lion seen in modern times. Or that attacks are very rare on humans, even in states with thousands of cats.

Most mountain states have had fewer than 10 cases of mountain lions attacking humans in the past 100 years. Many have had none.

And never mind that Byron Shaw’s probably the last person a very rare Kansas mountain lion would want to attack.

He’s 6’5” and 240 pounds. Little of it is fat and he’s very strong, even for his size.

“No mountain lion would mess with him,” Kendall Shaw said with a chuckle. “I wouldn’t mess with him. He’s a beast.”

But while he’s a towering oak among men Kendall Shaw said his youngest son is a willow when it comes to things that go grrrrr in the night.

So that afternoon Byron headed for his deer stand, carrying a bow and quiver of arrows tipped with razor-sharp broadheads. He slid the el cheapo steak knife in the cargo pocket of his pants. It wasn’t long before he stabbed himself as he walked.

“I decided I was just going to hunt anyway,” he said. “Later I was walking out thinking I was bleeding, walking around in the dark where there might be a mountain lion.”

He later bandaged the wound at home and will carry a small scar the rest of his life.

Far more painful will be the ribbing he’ll hear the rest of his life from family and friends. His brother, Caden, was kind enough to post news of the accident on Facebook.

Still, he keeps a good sense of humor about the accident.

“I won’t be carrying any more steak knives in my pocket. I learn real quick,” he said. “I guess if I ever get attacked I’ll have to put (the mountain lion) in a sleeper hold.”

Deer sign on a stop sign

112710pheasant_mp0004Don’t think whitetail bucks are going to let a little thing like a serious shortage of trees stop them from polishing the ol’ antlers and venting a little hormonal frustration.

While pheasant hunting in a wide-open part of Kiowa County we drove by this stop sign that’s obviously been a rub for bucks for several years.

When we found the rub last weekend fresh tracks were beat several inches down into the ground in the dirt around the sign.

The  bucks had pushed on the sign post enough to severely loosen it.

I’ve seen where bucks have rubbed on fence posts a few times and even telephone poles. This is the first time I’ve ever seen them damage county property, though.

Made for an interesting stop.

(After walking about three miles in dense and tall CRP grass I was sure looking for something to let me catch my breath!)

Mountain lion photographed near K.C, Mo

Like most true Kansans I don’t like to tip my hat in any way to Missouri.

But there’s no doubt their recent mountain lion picture is better than ours.

Click HERE to see the photo and read a report about the mountain lion photographed in a tree by the landowner.

It’s been about a month since a Kansas bowhunter released trail camera photos of the rear end of an obvious mountain lion moving down a deer trail in northcentral Kansas. Click HERE to see the photos.

The photo of the Nov. 26 mountain lion near Kansas City isn’t the first proof the big cats move through the area.

Several years ago a young male mountain lion was road-killed on a major highway on the edge of suburban Kansas City, only a few miles from Kansas.