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Young deer hunter admits story about mountain lion attack untrue; he fell out of his hunting tree stand

October 11, 2011

By Chris Young, GateHouse News Service

SPRINGFIELD -- A 14-year-old Pike County deer hunter who claimed he was attacked by a mountain lion has admitted the story was not true.

The young hunter, Jeremiah Dice, initially told his parents he managed to fend off the attack with a knife.

He had been deer hunting just a short distance from his parents’ Pike County home in Baylis, northwest of Pittsfield.

Jeremiah provided a detailed account of the attack and described a mountain lion to a “t,” his father, Gary Dice, said the day after the purported attack.

“We now have a written statement from the Dice family that says they were told by their son Jeremiah that the story about being attacked by a mountain lion was made up,” said Chris McCloud, spokesman for theIllinois Department of Natural Resources.

Jeremiah was taken to the emergency room, where he was treated for scratches on his face and released.

Apparently, it was a fall from his tree stand - not a mountain lion - that caused his injuries, McCloud said.

“The concern from the boy was that he had apparently fallen out of his tree stand and he was afraid if he told his parents he would not be allowed to go hunting by himself,” McCloud said. “So he came up with that story instead.”

DNR conservation police officers took a report and gathered up Jeremiah’s torn jacket, scratched cap and his knife. However, the items were never sent off for DNA testing.

“We had not pursued sending the items off,” McCloud said. “They came to us.”

McCloud said there are “minor penalties” for filing a false police report, but said DNR will not pursue charges at this point.

“As a matter of procedure, we are going to forward our investigation to the Pike County state’s attorney, and they can do with it as they wish,” he said.

McCloud said it is important for those who enjoy the outdoors in Pike County to know that the mountain lion story is untrue.

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528.

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