How to avoid a Mountain Lion Attack

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The likelihood of ever having an encounter with a mountain lion is pretty low, but in certain wilderness areas the possibility does exist so you should know what to do if you come across one in the wild . With the growing popularity of outdoor sports like mountain biking and hiking, wild animal encounters are on the rise. So what should you do if you encounter a Mountain Lion?

Mountain Lion

Be especially careful when hiking or camping with children in known mountain lion territory.

  • Always keep children and teenagers close by.
  • Mountain Lions are attracted to children, so don’t let them wonder too far away.
  • Mountain lions see children as a small prey animals, which can sometimes tempt them to attack.

Awareness is your most powerful weapon.

Situational awareness is your best defense from being attacked, and is the only way to ensure your safety in the wilderness.

  • Are the birds chirping? Are squirrels chattering? If you stop hearing animal noises you need to ask yourself why. What’s in the area that these animals see as a threat?
  • Be on the lookout for fresh cougar tracks or signs of scat. This is especially important anytime you see fresh tracks over areas that you’ve already walked on. This is a surefire sign that you’re being tracked and stalked.
  • Never squat or bend over while in mountain lion territory. Research shows that when a human bends over mountain lions can mistake them for a four-legged prey animal.

Making Noise can actually help.

If you’re walking in an area where there’s a probability of there being mountain lions in the area, the last thing you want to do is be completely silent. Some people mistakenly think that silence will protect them from these types of predators; it won’t. If you’re in an area with a Mountain Lion, chances are it already knows your there so silence isn’t really going to help.

  • Make noise when you’re hiking, this will help ensure that you don’t walk up on an unsuspecting lion.
  • If a Mountain Lion hears you approaching, more often than not it will slip away into the brush to avoid a confrontation.

If you come upon a lion, give it plenty of space so it can escape.

The chances of just happening upon a cougar are actually extremely low. These cats are ambush predators; you will very rarely see them until it’s too late. That being said, if you do come upon one, make sure you give it space and NEVER EVER RUN!

  • Running kicks in the cat’s natural hunting instincts.
  • If you run, you’re probably going to die. These cats see running as a sign that you are the prey; they will follow, and they will attack. Stand your ground, stand tall, and pick up any children that are with you.
  • If they do present themselves to you, they may be trying to size you up and see how you react. Stand strong, and make yourself look as big as possible. There’s still a pretty good chance the cat will leave without any kind of confrontation.

If you are attacked, FIGHT LIKE HELL!

Unlike bear attacks, experts say that you need to fight back when attacked by a Mountain Lion. Kick, Gouge its eyes, Hit it in the face, and do anything you can to make the lion rethink its attack.

  • Once a lion has decided to attack, they have already decided that the gain of a meal outweighs the risk of injury to themselves. You need to Fight Back, they intend to eat you.
  • NEVER GO DOWN! It may be the teeth and fore claws that scare you, but cougars most often kill by tackling prey to the ground and disemboweling them with very powerful hind legs/claws.
  • If you travel through these areas, a handgun is probably the best tool you can have at your disposal during an attack.
  • If you don’t have a weapon close at hand, find anything in the area that can be used as a weapon and use it to fight back.
  • Bear Pepper Spray is also useful against mountain lions. If you have some, it should be sprayed at the lion’s nose and eyes.

Additional tips and safety precautions when traveling in Mountain Lion Territory:

  • Travel in groups, NEVER ALONE.
  • Consider taking a dog. While a dog is no match for a 150 to 250lb cat, it can buy you some time. There’s a pretty good chance the cat will probably go after the dog first.
  • When camping, Avoid being alone. Fetching wood/water should always be done in pairs. And yes, even bathroom breaks!
Comments

10 Responses to " How to avoid a Mountain Lion Attack " Please share your thoughts...

  1. Good advice – I always make sure the kids are making plenty of noise (not hard to do) on our hikes, and keep them from getting too far out in front (much harder to do!). I also keep an eye out for sign.

  2. SeldomSeen says:

    First I urge every one to remember that you are in their world!

    • Mike says:

      That’s odd… their world appears to be our world whenever I see them or hear about them in the news.

  3. Nicole says:

    Thanks to all for the advice. I feel that I have left myself vulnerable to a cougar (actually two). I have been ill for about a year and was planning to work up at a camp (which I did for two weeks). There was a sighting of a cougar a few years ago but I thought it left or got shot. Well, apparently, it was still there. After a few days at camp, I was walking alone in the pitch black dark and I started having a feeling that the lion was still there, so I squared my shoulders and stopped walking with a limp (I injured my foot a few yrs. before). I had a long way to go so I just prayed to God that this wouldn’t be my last night.
    Finally I got to my room but still had the weird feeling of being watched…
    A couple days later I was walking behind our cabin to go to another cabin to do my laundry and I looked behind it where there are many trees and a creek. What a perfect place for a mountain lion! Later that night I was alone again and started walking across the bridge to get in my cabin. Then I heard light footsteps following me across the bridge. I didn’t know what it was but the creature was stalking me. Again I squared my shoulders and kept my normal pace. It surely was following me especially when I was two feet from the door… I opened the door and flew in!
    I had no idea what it was until I left and went home due to being too sick to work. So after I left…a deer was killed behind the cabins that I was staying in and in front of people!!! This mountain lion is definitely NOT scared of people especially when they were trying to scare it away from people and away from its meal…
    It didn’t click until later about what was probably stalking me and that’s when I started searching about what to do when encountering a mountain lion and I thank you all for your advice!!!! I’m thinking they should shot it. Forget about those lions being protected, when they lose their fear of humans, all bets are off!

  4. Nicole says:

    Sorry, I forgot to add that when I was on the bridge I heard its footsteps BELOW crossing the creek. It was following me. I just thank God nothing happened and that I left before it got another chance of studying me or even an encounter.
    Do you all think that if a mountain lion doesn’t mind people seeing it, it should be shot? It’s already been seen more than twelve times and shot at with rubber bullets. Even then it didn’t run away so fast.

  5. sharon says:

    great advice i live in the country so i have seen a mountain lion

  6. Christopher says:

    I don’t know if this has been said or not, but I bring pepper spray on hikes. If you come upon a mountain lion, do the above techniques, but you can also spray the the area between you and the lions. If there is an attack, spray the lion directly. This works for bears as well. Research the type of sprays to use as there are sprays specially made for use on animals. Hope this helps. Cheers.

  7. fortified says:

    I go trail running in Griffith Park…alone..at night. Their is one lion (p-22) that has been caught,tagged, and re-released there. The last report is that it looks very well fed. I see deer and other animals such as coyote’s, rabbits and others every single time I go. So although I am doing everything wrong….but at perhaps the least likely place. The only thing I have with me is my ski pole which I usually have pointing up and back away from my neck area, just in case. What are the odds the one well fed lion will want me? and oh yeah. The area is well traveled everyday by others during the day? Anyone?

  8. angelccorr says:

    I live in Mountain lion territory. We have several who come around. While sitting on my porch at dusk, I discovered that a lion was on the other side of our fence watching my grandson play on the porch next to me. I wasn’t sure at first what type of animal it was, so I walked to the steps of the porch to get a close look. The lion didn’t move away, but continued to crouch by the fence, even though I must have looked large due to standing at the top of the steps. I think the reason the lion did not come into the yard to attack my grandson was because of my close proximity to him. Of course, I scooped up my grandson and went into the house. Unfortunately, I forgot that my cat was out that night, and since I never saw him again, I figured he has been taken by the Mountain lion. Several of my neighbors have had their pets go missing, so now I always go outside with my dog to protest her. If I ever have to deal with a Mountain lion again, I plan to turn the hose on it, hoping it will scare it away.

  9. someoneyou dont know says:

    im only 12 years old and small for my age at that and i was wondering if anyone has advice on what a child like me should do if a mountain lion confronts me.i know i should never hike alone and stay with my parents and i will but anything can happen so advice would be awesome.

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