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.
William White explained that last Thursday, Shelby and her young brother were walking home from school when a dog started barking, alerting them to the presence of a predator.
‘She looked out, and there was this cougar,’ Mr White recalled.
The animal appeared to be moving in the direction of Shelby’s 13-year-old brother, who was unaware of the danger as he made his way toward the basement door with a bag of animal feed in his hands.
The girl’s father, Tom White, was home at the time, but Shelby was the only one in the family with a tag – a permit to legally kill a cougar.