The unidentified man, believed to be in his 50s, was attacked while camped near Perris Saturday night, the (Riverside) Press-Enterprise reported. He underwent surgery for puncture wounds and cuts on his head, neck, back front and arms.
"He's lucky to be alive," Lt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.
"He walked to the nearest house and knocked on the door. He told [the resident] he was attacked -- but he didn't know what attacked him."
State game wardens were trying to trap the big cat following the incident, the newspaper said.
"We are about 99 percent that it was a lion," Foy said. "The conclusion is based solely on the victim's injuries and the extent of the injuries."