Mountain lion attacks elderly hiker in California - wife helps fight it off!

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Dark Knight, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    Wildlife officials on Thursday credited a woman with saving her husband's life by clubbing a mountain lion that attacked him while the couple were hiking in a California state park.

    Jim and Nell Hamm, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next month, were hiking in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park when the lion pounced.

    "He didn't scream. It was a different, horrible plea for help, and I turned around, and by then the cat had wrestled Jim to the ground," Nell Hamm said in an interview from the hospital where her husband was recovering from a torn scalp, puncture wounds and other injuries.

    Although the Hamms are experienced hikers, neither had seen a mountain lion before Jim Hamm was mauled, his wife said. Nell Hamm said she grabbed a four-inch-wide log and beat the animal with it, but it would not release its hold on her husband's head.

    "Jim was talking to me all through this, and he said, 'I've got a pen in my pocket and get the pen and jab him in the eye,'" she said. "So I got the pen and tried to put it in his eye, but it didn't want to go in as easy as I thought it would."

    When the pen bent and became useless, Nell Hamm went back to using the log. The lion eventually let go and, with blood on its snout, stood staring at the woman. She screamed and waved the log until the animal walked away.

    Nell Hamm, 65, said she was scared to leave her dazed, bleeding husband alone, so the couple walked a quarter-mile to a trail head, where she gathered branches to protect them if more lions came around. They waited until a ranger came by and summoned help.

    Jim Hamm, 70, was in fair condition Thursday. He had to have his lips stitched back together and underwent surgery for lacerations on his head and body. He told his wife he still wants to make the trip to New Zealand they planned for their anniversary, she said.

    Entire story at link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070126/ap_on_re_us/mountain_lion_attack&printer=1

    Praise the Lord it turned out so well! They would have gotten married at ages 20 and 15!!!!


     
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  3. LionRun

    LionRun Former Member

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    That was a very close call! I get the impression that Nell actually thought about leaving her husband to get help. It is good that she opted not to. Chances are the cougar would have come back.

    LOL I noticed too, that she must have been 15, and he 20 when they married.

    Lion
     
  4. Liz

    Liz I am not a chemist and this is not my 1st rodeo

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    Glad Nell helped Jim to safety and didn't get mauled herself. Bless their hearts!
     
  5. Peter Hamilton

    Peter Hamilton New Member

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    An incredible story--Mountain lion attacks are rare but can be deadly--A few years ago, again in California, a bicyclist was mauled to death by a hungry mountain lion, then the lion was hunted down and killed---Nice to see this woman saving her husband's life, a brave soul indeed
     
  6. LionRun

    LionRun Former Member

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    Peter, are you referring to the attack where first the bicyclist was taken away and killed, then a woman bicyclist riding with a friend was attacked and nearly killed? Both attacks occurred at about the same place my the same cougar.


    Lion
     
  7. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    I remember that one. The lion was eventually killed, I believe, and was quite thin, iirc, leading to speculation it had some reason it couldn't hunt normal prey. There was a lot of bravery in the rescue of the second bicyclist, too.

    It was sweet when this man's wife said, "we fought him together." That sounds like a couple who has truly been a team their entire lives!
     
  8. montana_16

    montana_16 Active Member

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    Wow. I am really impressed by Nell! What a wonderful wife and person she is.

    I'm not going to get down on the cougar though, because it was doing what comes natural to him in his environment. When we venture in their territory we have to be very aware and carry some kind of protection.
     
  9. Peter Hamilton

    Peter Hamilton New Member

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    true--cougars have been around a lot longer than we have, its a shame they have to be killed after these attacks--beautiful animals
     
  10. LionRun

    LionRun Former Member

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    Yes. I think it is the same case. The poor woman who was the second victim that day was torn to pieces and nearly died. Her best friend and another bicyclist who was passing by struggled and finally chased the cougar off--temporarily. The cougar was then spotted by helicopter lurking nearby in the bushes.

    I don't remember if the cat was thin or not; I just cannot recall. But, I think it may have been a young adult male perhaps lacking skill and experience to hunt its typical prey. Unfortunately, once the cougar chose a human he would be likely to do it again.

    We have a cougar in our area. I've seen it once, three days after it attacked my horse about six months ago. My horse is now in the 1/2 acre area where my dogs go out to play. Big kitty probably won't go in there--not with a pack of German Shepherds.

    I love cougars. They are beautiful, graceful, and athletic. They are native to America, and this is their home. I would hate to see them become extinct or for us to go back to the days of ruthless over hunting. Then again I love my family and my animals, too. And, I am betting so do others in various parts of our country who are a bit wary of cougars as of late. I do hope we can find a balance though.

    Regarding this attack, the husband and wife planned an enjoyable nature day that day, so apparently they still like spending time together. I caught that too how, "they fought him off together." I guess they are still truly together after all of these years. How lovely. I am happy they both survived.

    Lion
     
  11. ljwf22

    ljwf22 Reality continues to ruin my life.

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    I saw this on "Good Morning America". They showed a photo of them, he was in his hospital bed, but they blurred his face because it was so bruised. ABC didn't want to upset anyone watching during breakfast, I suppose!
     
  12. Amraann

    Amraann Former Member

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    My dad had a timber wolf who was attacked by a mt lion ...

    The timber wolf won but needed much medical care.
     
  13. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    You are right. And I am sure after a long life together, they probably thought their days of adventure were long gone! Not so...such a great story.
     
  14. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    That same lion attacked another woman-biker a while later and her friend fought and hung onto her which ultimately saved her friend's life.I do not bike in Whiting ranch anymore because of that attack. But I do off road bicycle a lot and so I carry pepper spray with me because I see all kinds of wildlife on my rides. there is a pesky bobcat that I am sure is going to pounce one day and so I want to be as prepared as possible.
     
  15. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    These 2 women are my heros. I only hope I would have the presence of mind that they did.This is a local story for me and Anne Hjelle looks great today. I biked in Whiting Ranch for many years prior to this attack. never set foot in the park again after this.
    here is Anne more recently:http://users.frii.com/mytymyk/lions/hjellnow.htm
     
  16. Peter Hamilton

    Peter Hamilton New Member

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    MSNBC right now--showing him now--his face looks like a pizza, its been ripped on bad--poor guy
     
  17. LionRun

    LionRun Former Member

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    Thank you for the link Jelly:).

    Lion
     
  18. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    Sure. As one of the local mountain bikers, this story really touched me. I admire these 2 women more than I can say. Also the others that helped, but it was truly the heroism of Debi Nichols that saved Anne's life,as well as, Anne's own determination.
     
  19. Peter Hamilton

    Peter Hamilton New Member

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    More News: Game Wardens shot and killed 2 mountain lions today, a male and a female--Both cougars were transported to forensics where it will be determined if either one was involved in tha attack---Sad to hear they were killed
     
  20. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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  21. LionRun

    LionRun Former Member

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    Then at least in the case of one of the cat's deaths it was perhaps what was needed to be done. Cougars will travel hundreds of miles to find new territory, and I was told that relocation often does not work with the problem cats. They tend to show back up from where they were removed. Or, in some cases they are relocated to an area that is already, "taken" by another cougar. Thus, a fight to death can occur or the relocated cat will travel on to find another territory. This is what a representative of The Texas Parks and Wildlife told me weeks ago when I inquired about relocating our resident cougar.

    I saw the couple on cable last night. I am so glad that his life was spared in this brutal attack. Yet, I cannot blame the cat. He/she was doing what comes naturally--unfortunately it was a person the cougar chose.

    I do not want for people and their pets or livestock to be hurt or killed by cougars. And, yet the cougars were originally native to all of the Americas. They were killed to near extinction. They are beginning to make a comeback, and more sightings occur each year. Additionally, people are moving further out into, "Mountain Lion" territory. So, where can they go where we can all be happy and relatively safe I wonder?

    Lion
     

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