21-year-old hunter killed by mountain lion in California ID’d by family: ‘Devastated by the tragic loss’


The family of two California brothers who were savagely attacked by a mountain lion over the weekend say they’re heartbroken over the loss of 21-year-old Taylen, yet thankful they didn’t lose both sons.

Taylen Brooks was killed by the wild animal while his 18-year-old brother, Wyatt Brooks, survived with major lacerations to his face and neck following the attack in a remote area of Northern California’s foothills on Saturday afternoon.

“We are all devastated by the tragic loss of Taylen yet thankful Wyatt is still with us and are well aware the outcome could have been even worse,” the Brooks-Welsh family said in a statement shared by the local sheriff’s office.

Taylen (left) and Wyatt Brooks were attacked by a mountain lion as they were out searching for deer antler sheds in the foothills of northern California Saturday. El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office

The brothers who were “as close as any two brothers could be” were walking along a dirt roadway searching for deer antler sheds in Kelsey, near the town of Georgetown, when a mountain lion began walking towards them, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said in an incident report.

The pair raised their hands in the air to appear larger, shouted and yelled and even threw a backpack at the lion to try to scare it off.

But the beast charged at Wyatt, clamped his jaw around his face and pinned him to the ground, according to the sheriff’s office. Taylen began beating the animal while Wyatt wrestled it on the ground, righting himself around so that he was on top of it.

The mountain lion began clawing at Wyatt’s torso, which caused the younger brother to release his grip.

The wild feline escaped and went after Taylen, grabbing him by the throat with his teeth and slamming him to the ground, the sheriff said.

Wyatt, who suffered severe gashes on his face, tried to beat the animal and get it to release his older brother to no avail.

He then tried to call 911 but was forced to venture out for cell service to make the call, according to the incident report.

The mountain lion killed Taylen and injured Wyatt, who underwent reconstructive surgery to his face following the attack. Shutterstock

He walked back to their parked car where he finally got through to 911 and then drove the vehicle back to where he left his brother, but he was unable to find him or the mountain lion.

He then drove to meet El Dorado County Sherriff’s deputies who treated Wyatt until medics arrived and then searched the area for Taylen and the lion.

They found the animal crouching near Taylen’s body and fired shots to scare the lion, taking care not to strike Taylen. The beast ran off but Taylen had already died, according to the report.

Taylen loved fishing, playing guitar and being outdoors and was described by his family as a “kind and gentle soul.” El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office

Wyatt — who is training to become a firefighter — was rushed to a local hospital before being transported to UC Davis Health in Sacramento where he underwent reconstructive surgery on his face and neck.

He was released from the hospital and is now recovering at home.

The brothers’ family said the young men enjoyed hunting and fishing together and did so almost daily — living “a full energetic life enjoying the outdoors.”

Taylen worked with his father painting houses and cutting firewood. He loved fishing and was a talented guitar player, his family said.

“He was a very kind and gentle soul and will be deeply missed by all who knew him,” the relatives wrote.

The attack in Kelsey, Calif. was the first fatal mountain lion attack in the state since 2004. Google Maps

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife employed a professional trapper who found and euthanized the mountain lion within a few hours of the deadly attack.

A DNA analysis confirmed it was the same lion responsible for the attack, the department said Sunday. The lion was a male that weighed about 90 pounds and appeared to be in healthy condition.

Mountain lion attacks on humans are rare but do happen, the state department said. The last fatal attack in California happened in 2004.


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