cougarDon't mess with this little lady. Eleven-year-old Shelby White shot a cougar after noticing it was following her 13-year-old brother home. This is actually the fourth cougar shot on the White's property in rural Washington State in the past few weeks, so cougar sightings are not unusual. Shelby has been hunting for a couple of years and has already bagged a couple of deer. So she's already learning how to feed -- and protect -- her family. She just saved her brother's life.

This story is totally reminding me of the movie Winter's Bone -- Shelby's like a younger version of Jennifer Lawrence's character. Only she's not living as an orphan, thank goodness.

Shelby's dad, Thomas, says she "wasn't scared a bit" when she shot the cougar. In fact, he was the one who handed her the rifle and said, "Shelby, grab that gun and go shoot that cougar." That's a lot of trust in his daughter's skills! But White was also following the law. His daughter is the only one in the family licensed to shoot cougars.

This story makes me a little sad, though. The cougar Shelby shot was about 4 years old and weighed 50 pounds, half what it should weigh. The poor thing was clearly starving to death. The reason the cougar was in town, stalking the family, might be because it can't find enough prey further in the wilderness. Wildlife officials have seen increasing numbers of cougars in populated areas lately, so something must be going on.

How old do you think kids should be before they learn to shoot and hunt?

 

Image via Mike Fisher/Flickr