When Thomas White spotted a cougar approaching his teenage son outside their home in rural Washington state last week, there was only one thing to do – hand a gun to his 11-year-old daughter.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Shelby White killed the female cougar, and wildlife officials suggested that the animal may have been sick.
The mountain cat was 4 years old and weighed about 50lbs, which is about half of what an animal that age should weigh.
‘This cougar was very, very skinny,’ State Fish and Wildlife Officer Cal Treser said.
The fearless 11-year-old took action when she saw the cougar following her 13-year-old brother as he was walking towards their home in the town of Twisp, population 940.
In a phone interview with MailOnline Wednesday night, Shelby’s grandfather, William White, revealed that it was a fourth cougar killed on his property in the past several weeks.
Mr White, 64, a cattle rancher, said that earlier this month, Shelby’s 13-year-old brother, Tanner, also shot a cougar that has been circling his farm.
‘We’re real avid hunters,’ Mr White said of his clan, which he described as ‘backwoodsy.’ .
The rancher explained that until recently, local residents were able to keep the cougar population in check by hunting the predators with dogs, but two years ago, the local Legislature outlawed the practice.