What to do if you encounter a mountain lion

What to do if you encounter a mountain lion

Outdoors

What to do if you encounter a mountain lion

Encountering a mountain lion is a rare event, considering cougars are quiet and elusive, but recent headlines on MSN prove it does happen. Tahoe hikers scare off circling mountain lion…Hikers record encounter with mountain lion…Man records 4 mountain lions on porch.

Chances of being attacked by a mountain lion are extremely low, but it’s always a good idea to know what to do if you ever encounter one.

The latest confrontation involving four mountain lions on a porch in Conifer, Colo., prompted a Facebook post by Colorado Parks and Wildlife on what to do if you encounter a mountain lion:

Go in groups when you walk or hike in mountain lion country, and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.

Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.

Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly.

Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.

Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.

If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.

Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up!

Photos courtesy of National Park Service. 

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