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Hiker attacked by mountain lion near Nevada City

Victim released from hospital after minimal injuries
By: Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer
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A man camping in the Nevada City area has been released from the hospital after being attacked by a mountain lion early Sunday morning.

The state Department of Fish and Game confirmed that the 63-year-old man had been the victim of a mountain lion attack after investigating the scene and checking his wounds. The man has requested the Department of Fish and Game keep his identity anonymous.

"As you can imagine, he got beaten up pretty badly," said Patrick Foy, game warden.

According to a press release by the Department of Fish and Game, the man was in his sleeping bag next to the Yuba River northeast of Nevada City. Around 1 a.m. Sunday, the man awoke to feel what he believed to be a paw on top of his head, the release said.

"When he reacted to the paw the attack immediately started," Foy said.

The man told Fish and Game the attack lasted about two minutes, during which the mountain lion clawed and bit him through his sleeping bag.

Foy said the man had bite and claw marks all over his head, arms and back. The scalp appeared to have sustained the worst of the injuries, he said.

The mountain lion stopped attacking the man after about two minutes. It then walked about 15 feet away and stopped to stare at the man for another few moments before it ran into the woods, according to the release.

The man was then able to get into his vehicle and drive to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

The wounds he sustained were examined by Department of Fish and Game wardens, as was his clothing and sleeping bag. Mike Taugher, spokesman for Fish and Game, said DNA obtained from saliva left on the man's clothes determined that the attack animal was a mountain lion.

Mountain lion tracks were later found at the site, Foy said.

Specially trained dogs have been sent out unsuccessfully to find the mountain lion, though the remains of a domestic cat that appeared to have been injured by a mountain lion were found nearby.

Foy pointed out that this is only the 15th incident of a mountain lion attack in California since 1890 when the state started keeping track of attacks.

According to a list of verified mountain lion attacks on humans, a 40-year-old woman was killed by a mountain lion in El Dorado County in the Auburn State Recreation Area in April 1994.

Foy says that if attacked by a mountain lion, the best thing to do is to fight back and make loud, aggressive noises and gestures to deter it from attacking further.
The Department of Fish and Game lists a number of ways to stay safe in mountain lion country on its website at www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/lion.html.

Contact Amber Marra at amberm@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Amber_AJNews.