The mountain lion (Puma concolor) is also known as the cougar, puma, panther, or catamount. Bumping into a mountain lion is definitely something one does not wish to happen when traveling outdoors. For your own safety, always do a research on the area that you are traveling to while keeping track of your surrounding. cougars or pumas) are increasingly found all over the West and beyond—if you happen to see one on or off the trail, use this handy advice from Look Big, the guide to animal encounters. ), What Is Trekking? I told the dog not to go past me because I saw something. The light reflected off his eyes. One had a cub and they both took to the nearest tree as I was passing through. The dog noticed him at this point. Mountain lions are large, powerful creatures, able to leap 30 feet in a single bound and run up to 50 miles per hour. I never saw a crow in this area, but for a long part of the walk a crow was chirping. I moved out west from new England 5 years ago. These are wild predators, after all. There are a couple of helpful tactics that can totally save you from the threat of running into a mountain lion. Hence, this post. 6. We hope that this post has been helpful for you to prepare for what to do when you see a mountain lion. Never hike with earphones or headphones. The latter are by far the most common and the easiest to distinguish. The mountain lion will see small children as easier prey. In addition to bear spray, I also highly recommend taking a basic hiking first-aid kit with you! What I have learned is that they are most active at dusk. CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. Make sure you know you to use it properly, though. Born in Belgium and based in Oregon, Bram is the founder and editor-in-chief of The National Parks Experience. How do you know what to do if a mountain lion is stalking you? Throw sticks or rocks. I have hiked and walked through cougar territory most of that time. All Rights Reserved. The toes of mountain lions are shaped like a tear-drop. Standing Your Ground Do not panic. PO Box 1896 | Sacramento, California | 95812 916-442-2666 | info@mountainlion.org If the mountain lion lingers near you within 100 yards and does not pay attention to you, avoid approaching the lion and try to back away slowly. What to do if you Encounter a Mountain Lion Mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people by nature. If you run into a mountain lion, stay calm. In the United States, they’re abundant in all western states, including Washington, Oregon and California, as well as Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and Texas. he was nervous the whole time. They pick their head up look around, and than get you both out of there. Practice using your bear spray with an empty can. He stood there for at least a minute or two just looking at us as we were at him/her. The bigger or taller you look, the more likely the animal will avoid confronting you. Not sure why? Continue spraying until the mountain lion leaves or changes direction. The cougar didn’t react right away. Who knows. Know how to use your bear spray before heading into the backcountry. Putting up a screen of spray between you and the mountain lion is often enough. Never use bear spray like you would insect repellent. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. And thus the best way to avoid trouble with mountain lions is to avoid putting on that laser pointer dot costume. You want to convince the mountain lion that you’re not prey. The worst thing you can do is hike the same spot daily and have them get use to you. From tees and sweatshirts to stickers, our original designs showcase many of America’s iconic parks and landscapes. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. You might, therefore, not even see a mountain lion attack coming. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive news and blog posts related to the national parks and nature conservation, delivered straight to your inbox every first Sunday of the month. (Obviously! Do not approach a lion. During the spring calving and fall mating seasons, elk can be particularly dangerous. Despite their size, they’re generally not considered a “big cat” because they can’t roar (as opposed to lions, tigers and leopards). Remember, never bend down or crouch under any circumstance as it will make you look like the delicious prey to the mountain lion. Keep children close to you. For dogs, there are two schools of thought. HikerTrack.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I found scat and kills. COVID-19 holiday risk: The safest and most dangerous activities. Most of the info I have found on mountain lion safety tends to be generic. Before I finished yelling at the dog I saw the cougar run across the trail. To be clear when he smells them, but they are not real close, striking distance, I can get him past them. Mountain lions are the largest cats in North America—the fourth-largest cat species in the world—and can grow up to 8 feet (2.5 meters) in length. An attack by a mountain lion is even less likely. Either way, when hiking in a region where mountain lions live, you have to let them know you’re not prey. The last cougar I saw was in a spot I hiked, on a regular basis, for about a year and a half. Avoid it if you can. You have to take the situation seriously. They can run at 30 to 40 mph speeds, so even the fastest human runner can’t outrun a Mountain Lion. But it doesn’t mean that they are not dangerous. I found my self more fascinated by this than scared but never the less hollered at my husband in the house and he came out and of course was like “H***S***”. A few days later, I am still trying to comprehend and revisit that moment. Especially on nice days. Not a morning person. It can be a water bottle, rocks or sticks or monoculars or even your camera or anything else you have. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. But what if the lion doesn’t move away? Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct … A pepper spray will come in handy in this situation and you can use it to fight back the mountain lion when it comes near you. You’re not on the Lion’s Menu. How to Prevent a Mountain Lion Encounter. I saw the tail. A flashlight works like a charm as a deterrent. This will make the animal realize that you are not its prey while allowing you to be prepared for any possible attacks. Some of the recommended methods to keep mountain lions away from your pets and property are installing some frightening devices such as a motion alarm or cold water spraying devices. So one day in this spot. Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. In order to evaluate the risk and know how to respond accordingly, you can watch for the distance between you and the mountain lion and the behaviors of the mountain lion to decipher its motive and the level of danger. I would guess pretty big and male. So jealous you got to see four mountain lions! An adult paw print of a cougar is about 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. Look for tracks along the 5.6-mile stretch of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail from Sombrio Beach to Parkinson Creek. Make noise (to avoid sneaking up on the cougars) and keep children close at all times. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Your email address will not be published. Shout in a low voice and wave your arms or hold open your coat to look large and threatening. I look up and 10 feet in front of me is this Mountain Lion. Instead, mountain lion sounds are pretty silent. When they get the scent they will let you know. Travelling offers you the experience you would never forget. Keep it accessible in a quick-draw holster, not stored somewhere in your backpack. – If you see a mountain lion do not try to get closer for a better look. Obviously, nobody likes to combat against such an animal as a mountain lion, so the best thing to do is to avoid them altogether. If you're being charged by a lion, you'll be … We had to walk past the spot where he was. This what to do during a mountain lion encounter post contains affiliate links. Not sure about dawn. The other cougar I saw while hiking was in a different spot. On the other hand, a person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal. As we got closer I realized it was bigger than a crow. Super-adaptable animals, mountain lions live all over South, Central and North America. So, to avoid having to deal with a mountain lion, be extra careful when you are hiking on your trail within these time frames. If you're in mountain lion habitat, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children. Before going afield, study the table below to learn the differences between threatening and nonthreatening behavior and appropriate responses to each. We usually go at night. Where To Find Flint? I saw something far away. Traveling into the wilderness is inarguably one of the best ways to gain life experiences, but it can be risky in one way or another. I screamed at the dog. One time he bit me to get the point home. If you see a wild cat with a tail that’s longer than its back legs, you can be 99% sure it’s a mountain lion. In order to look dangerous to the mountain lion, you want to make yourself look bigger. What To Do If You See A Mountain Lion (Cougar) | All... Mountain Lion Habitat Warning Sign by kmanohar, Best Sleeping Pad 2020 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide. To be honest, even the toughest adventurers can be caught off guard and freeze because of shock. Thanks for sharing this story, Tamara. But they like to hang out around the trails almost anytime. Arguably the best place to see mountains lions in the wild in North America is Vancouver Island, Canada, which has the continent’s highest mountain lion density. They communicate via growls, purrs and hisses, much like domestic cats do. Camping In The Rain Tips, Checklist and Things To Do! As I approached the bathroom building, I could tell the “headlamp” was actual bright eyes of an animal. It’s never too late to take precautions against possible mountain lion or other animal attacks. Do not crouch and only stoop if you are quickly picking up a child, rocks or a weapon. This reaction will be completely different. I stopped hiking there after that for a while. Face the lion and appear unafraid. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. You have entered an incorrect email address! Running can encourage the mountain lion to chase you. We ride alone ninety percent of the time but I always tell someone where I’m going. Other attractions include a rugged coastline, prairies and wildlife. Before we venture into the tactics, it is necessary to grasp some basic facts about mountain lions. It was summer and at this time it got dark at 9pm. Defending Yourself from an Aggressive Mountain Lion Recognize the signs of a … Stay Away from Dead Animals. So far, so safe! Since deer are mountain lions’ favorite preys, they tend to be most active when deer are out in the open, which is usually at dawn and dusk. The more you understand them, the more likely you are to escape and protect yourself from them. Their range extending from the north Rocky Mountains to the Cascade Range and into southeastern Alaska, mountain goats are an iconic species in the national park system. The week I moved out of the area we went for a hike during the day. Here's what you should do if you come face-to-face with a wild cat. On a side note, it is equally important to steer clear from potential preys of the mountain lion. Staying calm in all situations is the key to safe travel. Do not act like prey when you see a mountain lion or a cougar. I DO use bells to make noice and wear mothballs on my clothes, as silly as this sounds. It’s the most effective way to deter wild animal attacks, so why not just make sure you have it with you? Also known as cougars, catamounts, panthers or pumas, these huge cats thrive in virtually all environments in the Americas, from southern Argentina to the Yukon. He wasn’t that close, but he had been following us for about an hour I would guess. *Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates. If they are real close I cannot get him past them. Thanks for sharing your experience . Sometimes, however, they might come closer and show themselves, as they’re trying to figure out whether or not you’re a potential meal. Hiking in a group is even better. The eyes were so bright, so spooky! If he just gets the scent he will let you know he does not want to go further. Biologists surmise mountain lions don't recognize standing humans as prey. Do not run from a lion. I had to leash the dog early on our walk to get him to go past a certain spot. amzn_assoc_linkid = "b7f57e4547ca52fb8f66c502e4966c2d";
It’s relieving to know that when mountain lions see humans, they tend to walk away. I knew they were there, but they avoided us. amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual";
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC/TN, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, CO, You Can See Mountain Goats in Their Native Habitat in These 5 U.S. National Parks, Elk Safety: How to Safely Observe Elk in the Wild, 12 Top Things to Do in Redwood National & State Parks. Avoid hiking alone during dawn or dusk if possible and stay aware of your surroundings. If the animal is moving closer to you within 50 yards and seems to be attentive to you, try to appear larger without turning your back and look for potential weapons (sticks or rocks). Your email address will not be published. Because they stalk their prey, their preferred hunting grounds are open woodlands, edges of forests and grasslands with patches of trees. • Keep children and pets close. So, if you are treading a path that has the carcass of deer or rabbits, that is a sign that a mountain lion is just nearby. DO NOT RUN! The urine thing was way before I ever saw him. Very short story: while horse back riding in CO a couple years ago, my horse & I encountered four mountain lion in five years. Don’t Run This four-park complex preserves some of the last remaining groves of coast redwoods. Source: Mountain Lion Habitat Warning Sign by kmanohar - Under Creative Commons license. A mountain lion will think twice about attacking two people, while one person might seem like an easy catch. However people do encounter them upon occasion, even in the city. Finally, if you do see or encounter a mountain lion, many local and park authorities encourage you to report it so they can assess the risk to public safety. This time was different. Similar to avoiding black bear encounters or grizzly bear encounters, a mountain lion encounter can usually be avoided by making your presence known. It’s not necessary to be able to aim perfectly. Or hike Plumas NF, in California, where large tracts of undeveloped land … - Protect your crucial body parts: During the fight, always remember to protect your crucial body parts including your head, neck, and throat. Learn how your comment data is processed. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Get out of the area as quickly as possible, without running. First of all, it’s important to know that mountain lion attacks are very rare. He was a black mountain lion. Other tips for how to survive a mountain lion encounter are the following: It may be called “bear spray”, but it also works on mountain lions. Whatever you do, don’t bring food inside your tent. Your dog will never let you walk underneath a cougar. You can recognize a cougar by its round head and erect ears, as well as its unusually long tail. The more people are aware of what to do, the better! It’s also critical to know that mountain lions are stalkers. You can also visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to see a Mountain Lion in-person (currently closed due to COVID-19). We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Talk loudly, sing, whistle or clap your hands regularly. Do anything you can to make yourself look bigger, but remember to continue facing the mountain lion. Consider yourself lucky! If you get real close he will not let you walk by, and he will not walk by. They are beautiful & so very QUIET!!! If an attack occurs, fight back. Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens.Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. You have to pay attention. If you do see a mountain lion, you want to grab your child and pick them up or keep them close to you. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of hikers can spend decades on the trail and never see a mountain lion. I live on 80 acres, in Klamath National Forests on the Klamath River 15 miles south of Happy Camp, Ca. The Basic Knowledge You Need To Know, Is Polyester Warm, Does Polyester Keep You Warm? It took him 10 or more seconds to realize what was going on. You can find much more information about everything related to mountain lions, including mountain lion protection, biology and behavior, on the website of the Mountain Lion Foundation. Maybe 10 minutes into the walk back something caught my eye. I could see it was a cat when he was running. I knew he was there. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Through this site, I want to share with you the inspiration and motivation to expose yourself to the world and let the world reveal itself to you. You’re probably more likely to get into the Hardrock 100–and win it–than to see a mountain lion east of the Mississippi River.There are no mountain lions in Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, … He turned to run down a side trail. Aim at the cougar’s face and keep in mind the direction of the wind. amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0";
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This area was hike out and then hike back the same way. If you do get followed let them know you are not prey. HikerTrack is a personal blog about outdoor activities. A Nighttime Visitor When Sonja moved to Yosemite many years ago, she knew she could count on a long, busy summer season and some outdoor adventures … Lassen Volcanic National Park, California. When encountering a mountain lion, be big and be loud. Some national parks where you may encounter a cougar are: There are a handful of wild cat species in America, including lynx, bobcats, jaguarundi and mountain lions. Aside from an actual mountain lion encounter, you can also know that you’re in mountain lion territory by looking for paw prints. That is when the juveniles will follow you. Thanks for sharing!! Enjoy :) I’d love for you to realize how fortunate you are to experience this, but it’s even more important to know what to do if you encounter a mountain lion. They’re one of the most widespread large land mammals in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, you want to show the mountain lion that you may be a danger to it. amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart";
Following these elk safety tips will ensure that your elk viewing experience is a safe and successful one. A mountain lion encounter in the wild is exceptional. This was a somewhat regular occurrence at this spot. The National Parks Experience is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Sometimes, if they see you bending, they assume you’re a four legged … Try wearing contrast colors and appear larger or taller (wearing extra jackets for instance). Mountain Lion Safety Tips While Hiking: What To Do & How To Behave. Many cougar attacks occur in the morning or evening—dawn or dusk—when the animals are most active. You can read more about our Terms of Use / Disclosure here. Keep from tripping those prey reflexes and you drastically reduce your chances of unpleasant encounters with North America's native lion. I thought that there was another camper with their headlamp on walking amongst the trees, which I thought was a little odd. So if you turn up something dead, admire it from afar as a cat could be napping nearby. While rare in the (north)eastern parts of the U.S., they’re abundant in the West. That foul mouthed tirade I let out on the dog for not listening to me convinced the cougar, a juvenile, that we weren’t lunch. Throwing rocks at it may be good idea….but remember that if you bend down it may attack due to the shrunken size you’ve created. In the United States, too, they’re very common and encounters between humans and mountain lions become increasingly frequent as more and more people enjoy the state and national parks in America. I had the dog leashed and was shining my light in the woods just to be safe. The Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles, California are also well-known for their large mountain lion population. This should discourage the animal from launching an attack on you. Encountering a mountain lion in the wild is both a thrilling and terrifying experience. They like to hunt at dawn and dusk, which is when your mountain lion encounter chances are highest—if you’re looking for that. Tracks: Difference between dog vs. mountain lion … Below are some tips to handle mountain lion attacks to maximize your chance of survival: - Throw things at the animal: If the mountain lion tends to behave in an aggressive manner and you fail to steer clear from the animal, be prepared to throw potential weapons you may have. - Fight back: In the worst scenario where the mountain lion attacks you, fight back instead of running away as it is pretty unlikely for humans to outrun the mountain lion. Mountain lions have been spotted in several parts of the Bay Area. That’s why most of the time, the wise thing to do when you spot a mountain lion nearby is to back away slowly and change your appearance so that the mountain lion won’t think of you as its prey anymore. I went back several months later and I knew he wasn’t there anymore because the dog was relaxed. Like all cats, and opposed to canines like wolves and coyotes, cougars have retractable claws, which makes it fairly easy to distinguish their paw prints. Do not freak out or make rapid movements or attempt to run away, because it will only worsen the situation and you will risk encouraging the mountain lion to chase you. If a mountain lion is stalking you, you must defend yourself. amzn_assoc_search_bar = "false";
Another great piece of advise is to not hike alone in mountain lion territory. Many wildlife organizations suggest standing one's ground defensively and even attempting to intimidate a mountain lion by shouting or throwing rocks. It does not work that way and might even attract wild animals to your site. Then our livestock guardian dogs came down the hill and the chase was on. So let’s review some mountain lion ecology, cover mountain lion safety, and do a reality-based risk assessment. Check the expiration date of your bear spray and make sure it’s EPA-approved. According to the mountain lion’s hunting behaviors, the reason why the mountain lion chooses not to walk away from you is that it views you as either its prey or predator. Instead, stay as calm as you can, stop running, and back away slowly… These cookies do not store any personal information. If you see a mountain lion, take these additional precautions: Do not run. © 2012-2020 The National Parks Experience. What a privilege! Mountain lions (a.k.a. You might, therefore, not even see a mountain lion attack coming. And most importantly, never ever bend down. In order to maximize your chance of survival, you will need to carefully assess the situation. Home to the tallest trees on Earth, many of which soar more than 350 feet above the forest floor below, the Redwood National and State Parks are unique in the world. When hiking in cougar country, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and be loud. Pick up small children. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. While it is totally understandable for campers and hikers to overlook the possibility of encountering mountain lions as it is pretty rare for such encounters to happen, it is still strongly recommended to prepare yourself just in case, because, it is always better safe than sorry. However, in some extremely rare cases, some campers or hikers accidentally upset the mountain lion, which poses a high risk for attacks. If you DO directly encounter a mountain lion in Missouri, responding appropriately may improve your chances of survival. I could not believe what I was seeing, it almost felt like a hallucination but I was definitely panicked because I was aware of the unlikelihood of ever seeing one!!! Plus, running away will only add fuel to the fire and trigger the animal’s instinct to chase you.

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