A Vancouver Island man used his fists to save his beloved miniature dachshund from becoming a meal for a starving cougar.

Shawn Hanson and his dog Bailey were on a fishing and camping trip near Ucluelet on Vancouver Island when it happened.

While cleaning several caught salmon, Hanson looked down to see his dog being dragged off into the underbrush.

"Out of the corner of my eye, I see a little flash. I look down and it's a small cougar dragging my dog off into the bushes," he told CTV Vancouver Island.

Hanson gave chase. After catching up with the cougar on a hilltop, he tackled it.

Hanging on to the animal's rear, he grabbed Bailey with his free hand, but the cougar wouldn't let go.

"I reached back and punched it in the face," he said.

The punch stunned the cougar, allowing Hanson to retrieve his pet without a further fight.

"I was expecting it to start swatting at me and come at me, but I think it was pretty stunned to be hit," said Hanson.

The dog suffered several small puncture wounds but was otherwise unharmed from the ordeal.

After handing Bailey off to a friend at the edge of the underbrush, Hanson grabbed his rifle from his truck, tracked the cougar, and fired a warning shot.

That’s when Hanson said the cougar, unfazed, started moving towards him.

"It just kept staring at me,” he said. "I raised the rifle and waited a second. It took two more steps and I had to put the cougar down. It was pretty much over at that point."

That’s when Hanson called RCMP and conservation officers.

Conservation officers say they had several reported sightings of the cougar near houses in the area, and were in the process of tracking it down when they heard Hanson shot the cougar.

Brittany Mueller, a conservation officer with the Central Island Zone of Vancouver Island, says it is unlikely any charges will be laid.

"Every person has the right to protect their property and personal safety and in this case the cougar was failing to retreat,” said Mueller.

Mueller says if you encounter a cougar, back away slowly, maintaining eye contact as well as speaking loudly to scare off the animal.

With files from CTV Vancouver Island