Alyssa Caldwell was hunting elk with her father in October when he left her alone to gather some gear. Almost immediately, she noticed that something was wrong.
“I already had a feeling that something was watching me or something, but I didn’t see the cat until it was close,” she said.
Just feet away, a mountain lion crouched ready to attack. Although she had never shot anything bigger than a white tailed deer, Caldwell knew exactly what to do. She raised her brand new .30-06 and fired, killing the animal instantly.
“I just raised up my gun and shot it point blank long ways through the body because it was facing me when I shot,” she told CBS News. “The cat instantly flopped over right there, of course I kept my gun on it just in case it got up or something like that.”
Her father came running back, thinking she had downed an elk. When he realized what had happened, he fell to his knees and “got emotional,” Alyssa says.
“I definitely could have died,” she added. “It was probably like seconds away from pouncing on me.”
Caldwell has been shooting since she was five and hunting since she was nine. Her quick thinking and calm under pressure show that, with the right training, anyone can defend themselves in a dangerous situation.