HELENA – A Townsend man said he had “a little excitement to start the morning” when a mountain lion launched itself through a closed window at his home and tore apart a room in his basement.
Scott Vine, a 45-year-old ranch worker, said the female adolescent cat set off an alarm on his property at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
“My dogs started raising hell,” said Vine, whose wife and two stepchildren, ages 14 and 20, were also home at the time. “I looked out the window and there was a lion.”
Vine said he grabbed his rifle moments before the mountain lion crashed into his house.
“That window exploded,” he said. “All of the sudden I had glass, I had curtain, I had lion coming over my head.”
Vine retreated upstairs as the 60- to 70-pound feline made its way to the basement, where it knocked items from shelves and clawed at the walls. Vine and a friend who brought a shotgun and a rifle with him killed the animal about 20 minutes later.
Rusty Ruchert, a warden for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said the killing was a legal defense of private property, so Vine and his family only need to worry about cleaning up the mess.
The warden said the window looked like a dark hole, and the cat probably thought it was a cave.
“It was looking for refuge and picked the wrong hole to jump into,” he said.
The Vines live northeast of Townsend, about halfway between the town and the Helena National Forest boundary.
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