Amaya Simpson hadn’t ever hunted a cougar before, let alone shot one with her bow.
But when one started creeping up on her little brother the morning of Sept. 8 in Inchelium, Washington, that fact didn’t even slow her down.
Amaya, 16, is a member of the Arrow Lakes/Sinixt band of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington. She and her brother Cole Seymour, 6, were out practicing elk calls, reported KHQ Local News in Spokane.
In a Facebook interview with McClatchy, the Inchelium teen said got a sense of something nearby as she and Cole walked the land.
Then she turned to see the cougar about three yards away from Cole, who hadn’t yet seen it, she told McClatchy.
“I just remember getting chills, turning around, and seeing only its big brown head blending with the trees and bushes,” Amaya told McClatchy. “Then telling my brother to run to me.”
Cole told KHQ, “I just smiled at her for a second, thought she was joking around on me again.”
Amaya and Cole’s mom Francesca Seymour said on her Facebook page that once Cole understood how serious it was, he ran to his sister.
Amaya told McClatchy that she’d probably never nocked an arrow in her bow so fast in her life.
“My adrenaline was pumping, and in that situation, it was probably record time,” she said.
She told McClatchy she shot the cougar at about 11 yards. She said the arrow hit it behind the ear and and kept going into its back.
The cougar escaped, even though it was injured, Amaya told McClatchy.
Amaya went back to tell her parents, Francesca Seymour said in her Facebook post, and her dad grabbed his AR-style rifle.
Amaya told McClatchy her dad found the animal after one of their dogs yelped. He went to the source of the sound and saw the wounded mountain lion.
Then he shot and killed it, Amaya said.
“Things could have went a lot different tonight,” Francesca Seymour said on her Facebook post.
It has ended differently for at least two people in the Northwest.
A cougar killed a mountain biker May 19 near North Bend, Washington — the first fatal cougar attack in the state in almost a century, according to The Washington Post.
More recently, officials believe a cougar killed an Oregon woman who had been missing for weeks. The Oregonian reported that wildlife officials are running tests on the woman’s DNA to make sure it was a cougar that killed her.
Amaya told McClatchy that she also now carries a revolver on her hip whenever she goes on walks — a .45-caliber Taurus Judge.
But the one she helped fend off is going to stay fresh in her mind for a long time.
Amaya said her dad took it to a taxidermist to have the pelt turned into a wall hanging.