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SPORTS WEEKEND

Hunter Goes From Turkey Calling to a Scary Encounter With Lion

April 16, 1999|PETE THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Chris Fulster has to be feeling pretty good about his turkey-calling skills. But mostly, the hunter from Cool, Calif., is thankful just to be alive.

While gobbling away in hopes of attracting a wild turkey to within range of his companion's shotgun late last week in the woods near Sacramento, Fulster instead attracted a full-grown mountain lion hoping for a turkey dinner.

Fulster, 43, was crouching and in full camouflage when he saw the lion eyeing him from the brush 40 yards away. He turned his head briefly to warn his friend, Mark Priest of Sacramento.

"And when I looked back the lion was charging," Fulster said. "In an instant it was only about 15 feet away."

FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Friday April 23, 1999 Home Edition Sports Part D Page 14 Sports Desk 1 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
Chris Fulster III, 38, used a semi-automatic shotgun to kill a charging mountain lion two weeks ago while hunting turkeys near his home in Cool, Calif. The type of gun was incorrect in last week's column.

Fulster, 43, opened fire with his triple-barrel shotgun, missing with the first two shots and scoring on his third, the big cat falling at his feet.

"I kicked it off and went scrambling around a tree, digging for more shells and using all sorts of adjectives," Fulster added. "The lion was still moving and [Priest] shot it, and that was all."

Patrick Foy, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Game, said the hunters were within their rights to protect themselves. A necropsy revealed that the lion was a 100-pound female that had recently fed on a deer.

The "wad," a piece of plastic separating the shot from the powder, was extracted from the animal: proof, Foy said, that the cougar was shot at point-blank range.

"The one mistake I made was turning my head on the mountain lion," Fulster said, "because that was when he charged. It was very unsettling."

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