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Girl, 11, shoots cougar with rifle to save 14-year-old brother, family's animals

Shelby and Cody White
Shelby and Cody White
Bill White, Erin White

A girl, 11, shot a cougar with her rifle near the front steps of her family’s home in Twisp, Wash. The about four-year-old, 50-pound female cougar that was shot by 11-year-old Shelby White was severely emaciated. Shelby’s nine-year-old brother Cody had killed a 120-pound male cougar just one week before, reported Methow Valley News on Feb. 26, 2014. Both children had been taught by their grandfather how to handle their rifles safely and how to hunt.

Around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, Shelby’s parents were woken up by the family’s barking dog. When Shelby’s dad went outside to find out what was upsetting the dog, he discovered a cougar that was trying to get into a pen holding cows and calves. Shelby’s dad was able to scare the cougar off, but the hungry animal returned again twice that morning.

The incident of the 11-year-old girl shooting the cougar occurred around 3:30 p.m., just a few hours later, after Shelby and her 14-year-old brother Tanner had come home from school and had been outside to feed the family’s dogs.

After feeding the dogs, the two siblings walked back to the house but the female cougar, who had been watching them from under one of the vehicles parked in the driveway, followed them. Apparently, the female animal was so hungry that the shooing away in the early morning hours could not deter the animal from trying to find its next meal.

The 11-year-old girl shot the cougar with her rifle as the cougar stood right outside the family’s home. Just one week before, Shelby’s nine-year-old brother Cody had killed a 120-pound male cougar. “Another White child, Cody, age 9, shot a cougar the previous week,” said Cal Treser, an enforcement officer for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “Cody, who also had a tag to hunt cougar, found tracks near the house on Feb. 13 and followed them to a hillside above a field where cows are kept during calving.” Cody shot the cougar on the hillside. Having a cougar tag allowed both Shelby and Cody to kill one cougar. Due to a lack of food during the winter, cougars are trying to get closer and closer to people’s homes and any available sources of food.