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Published March 23, 2012, 10:05 PM

Fargo man gets up close and personal with a mountain lion

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - If you hunt, you know the adrenaline of stalking and finding that prize buck or elk. For one Fargo man who recently went out on a mountain lion hunt in western North Dakota, the dramatic events led to this: Confronting a growling, hissing mountain lion face to face in a cave.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

If you hunt, you know the adrenaline of stalking and finding that prize buck or elk. For one Fargo man who recently went out on a mountain lion hunt in western North Dakota, the dramatic events led to this: Confronting a growling, hissing mountain lion face to face in a cave.

Alec Bussman is the kind of guy who is always planning his next hunt. When he is not working at the Colfax Farmer's Elevator, he's likely on his way west; most recently to hunt mountain lions.

Alec Bussman – Hunter: “There were four wheeler tracks from the day before when they were out there, and it had walked down the center of the tracks.”

When Alec and his friends recently drove to the Killdeer area to hunt mountain lions they saw the size of paw prints, and knew some huge cats were close by. A friend bagged a mountain lion that weighed 160 pounds. Alec could taste the hunt.

Alec Bussman: “They found the track again and he was howling like he had one in the tree. Then all of a sudden the dog went silent.”

Now the hunting dogs were all GPSed and Alec and the rest of the hunting party knew exactly where that mountain lion was, but instead of climbing a tree or running away, the mountain lion went into a hole.

Alec Bussman: “We tried calling the dog out of there, but of course he ain't going to come.”

Now Alec of course wanted to bag that mountain lion, but he could not get into the hole with a rifle. So his friend offered to drive back and get a pistol if Alec climbed on his belly into the cave.

Alec Bussman: “I dreamed about shooting a mountain lion for years I said, ‘this is what I want to do. So I sat there and waited. I had everything going through my mind at that point, I didn’t not how it was going to go.”

His buddy came with the pistol and Alec began climbing into the dark cave-like hole.

Alec Bussman: “It was about 30 to 40 feet into the cave.”

Wearing a headlamp, Alec made his way into the hole, not sure what to expect. The large cat was waiting for him.

Alec Bussman: “Peeked your head around and there he was looking right at you. Right away I backed up, and I had to gather myself. The heart was pumping; that was the hardest my heart has ever beat in my entire life.”

And the weapon he carried?

Alec Bussman: “And this pistol he came back with was an old pistol. The handle was broken.”

Then it was game on, man versus nature.

Alec Bussman: “I was pointing at him and as soon as I shot he came at me and pawed at me and swiped. His paw hit a foot, maybe 6 inches from my face. I was in there on my belly so I backed up.”

Alec hightailed it out of there, the cat stayed. The hunters tried to wait it out, but finally left. So did the cat later. With little blood left behind, the mountain lion left the hole a victor, and is today somewhere in the badlands walking a little bit prouder.

Alec Bussman: “It was probably not the smartest thing I have ever done.”

Alec, however, is determined.

Alec Bussman: “I’ll get him next year.”

The mountain lion season closes the end of March in North Dakota.

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