What To Do If You Encounter a Mountain Lion
Last week we talked about how to handle a black bear in the wild. This week we will discuss what to do if you encounter a mountain lion in the wild. It is important to be prepared for anything when you are in the wild, that includes wild life sightings.
Colorado has a very robust population of mountain lions. They are beautiful, big mammals that try to live in remote, deer populated areas. They can weigh up to 200 pounds. They are generally quiet, calm, and elusive. Mountain lion attacks are extremely rare, but have been increasing over the years. The increase is attributed to more people moving to lion country and more people hiking.
Odds are, you will never see a mountain lion but they will be watching you. They do not look for or hunt humans. When they attack, they do it out of defense. If you see a lion and it seems to be moving away, do not approach it. Enjoy the sighting and let the big cat leave the area. If the mountain lion does not move away, make sure you remain calm and follow these steps.
- Do not run– running may stimulate the instinct to chase and attack
- Appear Large– Raise your arms above your head to make yourself look larger than you are
- Pick up small children– Keep your children calm by picking them up
- Act Defiant- wave your arms around, speak in a slow, firm voice, and throw stones if the lion acts aggressive.
- Fight Back
It is best to try to avoid all encounters with mountain lions. You do that by hiking in groups, make loud noises, keep children close at all times, and keep dogs on a leash. By doing thee simple things, you will be able to safely enjoy the outdoors. For more information on mountain lions you can visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife or Mountain Lion Foundation.