“I’d never scared off a mountain lion before using a helicopter,” said Monty Emery, a pilot with the California Highway Patrol based near the town of Colfax. But on Saturday, he got his chance.
He and copilot David White received a dispatch call about a hiker on nearby Stevens Trail. David Nash had called 911 on his cell phone after being stalked for hours by the aggressive big cat. The crew launched the CHP Eurocopter AS350 from Auburn Airport just before sunset and flew over the location reported by Nash.
They spotted the hiker madly waving his flashlight, and were able to see the mountain lion about 25 feet away, menacing Nash. With no place to land, the crew hovered as low as possible, trying to scare the cat away with the high intensity Nightsun spotlight. Finally, the mountain lion ran off, and the helicopter hovered overhead until Nash was able to meet up with deputies farther along the trail.
The following day, a Fish and Wildlife warden walked the trail to place warning signs and was also approached and menaced by the mountain lion. The warden fatally shot the big cat.
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