Mountain Lions Are On The Prowl
In September of 2015, we did our first story about Cougars, AKA Mountain Lions or Pumas where we shared some tips and stories about mountain lions.
Included in the tips were the following: If you see a mountain lion, never run but make yourself look as big as you can. Stay where you are and raise your hands over your head, stamp your feet, make noise, throw rocks and try to make the cougar fear you or at least perceive you as a threat and maintain eye contact at all times.
“Right before the lion attacks it will get down on all fours on its stomach and his ears will be pinned back. When you see that, it means an attack is imminent.
If you are attacked, fight back with every ounce of energy you have and stay on your feet. Once you are off your feet, you lose. People have been known to successfully survive an attack by fighting back.
Never keep food inside your tent when camping in the backcountry. Put everything in bear-proof boxes that latch and always have some bear pepper spray handy.”
In today’s article, we will share with you some more stories about mountain lions and a video of a 15 minute battle between a mountain lion and a full grown buck deer complete with a full set of antlers. We caution you that the video may be disturbing to some.
Here’s that video of mountain lion fighting a deer. What is really scary about this video is that it was filmed so close to a jogging trail near San Francisco which shows that mountain lions are becoming increasingly aggressive in their search for food. That should be a warning to all of us.
In the Santa Cruz Mountains near San Francisco close to 70 mountain lions call the area home. They are primarily nocturnal animals and shy away from people. The comment was made in this story that there was no sound during the fight. The deer would drag the mountain lion stabbing with its antlers then stop to catch its’ breath. At one point it looked like the deer would win the fight, but in the end, the cougar prevailed. Later a park ranger told the man who filmed it that he was really in quite a bit of danger standing there filming the fight.
In another story from an area near Aspen, Colorado a Burlingame Ranch resident spotted a cougar nearby the local housing area near a bus stop. The Colorado Division of Parks and wildlife will put up more signs warning of sightings. They warn residents to never turn your back on a cougar and if it attacks, to fight back with every ounce of energy you have.
And this story comes from the Lake Placid, New York area in the Adirondack ecosystem and discusses various cougar perceptions. Included in those perceptions were that mountain lion attacks were common, that they were in danger of becoming extinct worldwide and that they would prefer to eat livestock when wild animals were plentiful. All of these perceptions were wrong. In the early 1800s cougars were eliminated from the Adirondack ecosystem by hunting and bounty programs so sightings in the area are rare. A wildlife biologist has concluded that this area could support a cougar population but that idea is controversial, to say the least. Cougars mainly populate the Western United States and for them to migrate to the Eastern part of the country means crossing several difficult barriers including the highway system.
From the ABC affiliate in Merced, California comes the story of a mountain lion sighting. The local fish and wildlife warden confirmed the presence of a mountain lion based on the tracks that were seen. They also blamed residents in the area for the increase in sightings. The behavior of residents can attract mountain lions and coyotes. This includes spilling birdfeeders, fallen fruit, and bringing in pet food and water containers. Lions are creeping closer to inhabited urban boundaries that are expanding, so ultimately there’s going to be a conflict. Especially with the drought in California, mountain lions are increasingly seeking out water sources as an example.
Wildlife experts shared some Safety Tips
- “Keep small pets inside particularly at dawn and dusk when coyotes and mountain lions are most active.
- Keep pets on a leash when walking.
- Secure food and trash at all times.
- Remove all sources of water.
- Pick up fallen fruit.
- Sweep up fallen birdseed and clean up brush, which can attract rodents that larger animals prey on.
- Install motion-activated lighting or sprinklers.
- If a coyote or mountain lion approaches or acts aggressively, throw rocks, make noise, look big and pick up pets. Do not turn your back to the animal.”
Mountain lions have extremely sensitive noses and dislike bear pepper spray as much as bears do.
Look for a spray that empties the canister in five or six seconds. Get a bear spray with the longest range possible.
This Frontiersman brand Bear Spray has a range of 35 feet and is one of the most effective ways to defend against a mountain lion attack.
Have you ever seen a mountain lion in the backcountry? If so please share your experience with us.