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Heading out? Have your mountain lion encounter plan ready. Know what to do, bring supplies and tools. Make sure you’re prepared! This way, your risk of attack will be reduced.
Here are some tips and techniques for being prepared to face a mountain lion:
- Bring supplies and tools.
- Know what to do in the event of an encounter.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Make noise and stay alert.
- Do not approach or attempt to feed a mountain lion.
Learn the behavior of mountain lions
When outside in mountain lion territory, it is important to recognize their behavior. Mountain lions are large cats, usually pale yellow-brown with a white underside and black-tipped tails. They have long legs and rounded ears; much bigger than bobcats or coyotes.
Their behavior often signals an attack if threatened. Signs include crouching low, growling or hissing; lifting their tail upright or swatting it on the ground; or swiping side-to-side with their front paws while facing someone. They can also stalk before springing into action, so stay alert.
By understanding mountain lion lifestyle habits and behavior patterns, you can take preventative measures. Research what precautions to take if you ever come face-to-face with one. It’s worth spending time researching before venturing into nature.
Prepare the necessary equipment
Before facing a mountain lion, you should prepare your gear. Knowing the techniques for handling and reacting to a hostile animal can enhance your chances of a safe meeting. Here are the items you need:
- Walking stick: Bring a walking stick when trekking. It can help ward off aggressive predators and disruption from other animals. It can also be used to make noise, scare away wild creatures, or hit a mountain lion if necessary.
- Flashlight: It is essential to see clearly in the dark, as many encounters happen at night. It can also distract possible predators by shining it at them.
- Whistle: Whistling loudly can shock potential predators away. So, make sure you always have one.
- Bear spray: Pepper spray works on large animals like mountain lions because they have an instinctive fear of it. If you come close to the animal, it can be used to stop attacks or aggressive behavior. It reduces visibility or leaves a bad smell on them, making them stay back. Be sure to read up on how to use bear spray in forests and hikes too!
Stay safe when you’re in an area with a possible mountain lion encounter: Avoid known areas where they frequent. Take steps to reduce your chances of an encounter. Here’s how:
- Avoid them.
- Stay away from spots they frequent.
- Find ways to reduce your chances of an encounter.
Stay alert and aware of your surroundings
Hiking in mountain lion country? Stay alert. Make noise. Talk loudly or sing. Doing this will tell the lion you are too big to mess with. Keep eye contact with them. Stay away if you can. If you see one and it doesn’t run, don’t turn your back.
Appear bigger by raising your arms and holding an object. Don’t run. Stand still until it leaves.
Make yourself look big and loud
Mountain lions are rarely seen, but they can be encountered. It is crucial to remember they are apex predators and assess the situation. Their choice to attack or flee will depend on their perception.
To appear larger and less vulnerable, do the following:
- Stand tall. Use bear spray if available. Wave your arms slowly above your head.
- Make a lot of noise. Sing, clap your hands, yell or shout.
- Throw rocks or sticks. Don’t turn your back or run away.
- Back away slowly without turning. This will help the lion feel more comfortable.
- If attacked, don’t play dead. Fight back with anything you have. Target sensitive areas like eyes and nose with precision.
Do not run or turn your back
If you come across a mountain lion, remain calm. It may be hard since your instinct may urge you to do the opposite. If the cat sees you as a threat, running away could spark its hunting instincts and it may chase you.
It is essential that you stand your ground and make yourself appear bigger by waving your arms or coat, shouting and making eye contact with the lion. Pumas normally choose to flee if they can, but if cornered or attacked, they will defend themselves – they can jump up to 12 feet. So, make sure to keep your distance from the cat.
If the mountain lion is being aggressive – make loud noises such as yelling or throwing stones near but not at the animal. Don’t act submissive as this could encourage an attack! Also, try to stay in groups when in cougar territory; they don’t usually like facing multiple predators at once and are more likely to flee if there is stiff opposition.
If Encountering a Mountain Lion
Mountain lions are big, loners. They can be hazardous if you meet one in the wild. When you do, remember to stay cool and be aware of your environment. Here are a few tips for what to do if you meet one:
- Be calm.
- Be aware.
- Be safe.
Do not approach the mountain lion
It’s essential to remember that a mountain lion is wild. So, give it a wide berth. If you meet one, don’t go near it. Don’t run. They may see it as prey behavior. Make yourself look big. Wave your arms, open your jacket or use something to make yourself appear bigger. Talk in a low voice or yell at it, to show it you’re not prey but a danger.
Pick up small children. Don’t look away from it. Keep eye contact. If attacked, fight back with anything you have – rocks, clothes or anything, until it runs away. It will understand that you are not willing to be its prey and it will go back into the wilderness.
Make yourself appear to be a threat
Remember: mountain lions usually avoid people. To appear intimidating, stand tall and open your jacket. Wave your arms above your head and even throw sticks if you must. Speak in a loud, strong voice and maintain eye contact.
Back away while paying attention. Move to an area with more visibility to escape or get help. Don’t turn away; this could be seen as submission and make the lion aggressive.
Throw rocks and sticks at the mountain lion
If you spot a mountain lion, make yourself look larger. Raise your arms, wave your hands and open a jacket (if you have one). Don’t attempt to hide or crouch down. Make loud noises. Shout and bang pots together (if you’ve got them). Making noise and looking big will signal that you’re not prey, but an adversary. Attacks are rare, and the animal will probably flee.
If a mountain lion is aggressive or charges at you, throw rocks and sticks. If it attacks, fight back. Use any object – rocks, branches, sticks or even your fists. Don’t curl up or lay down – this may suggest to the animal that you are prey.
After an Encounter
Mountain lion encounter? Stay calm! Slowly back away. Don’t approach if the lion is standing still or walking away – even if it looks docile. They can be dangerous if they feel threatened.
So, what’s the best way to handle it after it happens?
Report the incident to the proper authorities
It’s essential to report your mountain lion experience to the right authorities. In some parts of the country, laws exist requiring a mountain lion sighting be reported, even if no contact occurred. Wildlife officials need to know where the encounter happened and any relevant details. This data can help them manage their mountain lion population.
If you’re not sure who to call, try 911 or your local police, sheriff’s office, or Department of Fish and Wildlife or Department of Natural Resources. They’ll want the date, time, location, and a description of the animal.
Also, be aware of other sightings in the area. If the mountain lion is getting too used to people, a future confrontation could be more intense. Reporting promptly and accurately can help avoid future issues with these powerful wildcats.
Take precautions when entering mountain lion territory
In mountain lion areas, always be aware. They’re solo animals, rarely seen in the wild. For safety, take precautions. Here are tips:
- Watch for signs – Tracks, sounds of wildlife.
- Make yourself known – Make eye contact, shout or wave arms. Show you’re the boss.
- Never approach an animal – Don’t stop too close or too suddenly.
- Bring supplies – Pepper spray or bear bells.
- Stay on wide paths – It lets them know you passed by.
Follow these and you’ll have a safe journey through mountain lion territory!
Take preventative measures to protect yourself and family
Protect yourself and your family after a mountain lion encounter:
- Secure the area around your home.
- No running or biking alone in the evening.
- Choose trails with plenty of open space.
- Remain alert and aware.
- Carry a whistle or air horn for protection.
- Don’t use it unless absolutely necessary.
- If a wild animal is following you, stand tall. Make yourself intimidating by clapping or shouting.
- Wave your arms above your head. Scare off the animal before it becomes a problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should you do if you encounter a mountain lion?
If you encounter a mountain lion, it’s important to maintain eye contact, slowly back away, and make yourself appear as large as possible. Avoid turning your back or running, as this may trigger the big cat’s instincts to attack.
2. How can you prevent a mountain lion encounter?
There are a few steps you can take to prevent a mountain lion encounter, such as hiking in groups, making noise while you hike, and avoiding hiking during dawn or dusk when mountain lions are most active.
3. Can you defend yourself against a mountain lion?
If a mountain lion attacks you, the best defense is to fight back as aggressively as possible using your hands, sticks, or whatever else you have on hand. Play dead if the mountain lion knocks you down, but continue fighting if the animal continues to attack.
4. What are the signs of mountain lion activity in an area?
The signs of mountain lion activity in an area may include large paw prints, claw marks on trees, and scattered kills, such as animal remains or bones.
5. Should you feed a mountain lion?
No, you should never feed a mountain lion or any other wild animal. This can lead the animal to develop a dangerous dependence on humans and increase the risk of dangerous encounters.
6. When should you call authorities about a mountain lion?
If you see a mountain lion in a residential area or if the animal appears injured or sick, you should contact your local animal control or wildlife agency.
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