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Old July 29, 2011, 11:04 PM   #1
Jcervo
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What to expect??? Mountain Lion attack

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but in the part of CO I live we have plenty of the cats wandering our property. These animals find refuge in a lot of the places my girlfriend and I set up a campsite. Would it be plausible to assume they will become aggressive if we are there? and also what should I expect from an attack or better yet... How to react and handle it?? Like I said apologies if this seems like a dumb question but I am worried about this occurring while on my property
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Old July 29, 2011, 11:20 PM   #2
T. O'Heir
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No such thing as a stupid question, except the one not asked.
"...plausible to assume..." Nope. Leave Kitty alone and Kitty will leave you alone. The noise you make will tell Kitty you're there and Kitty will avoid you. Unless you're close to a den with kittens. Mom won't be happy and will react. Most likely to move the kittens elsewhere. Unless mom thinks you're a threat to her kids.
Kitty hunts from above and behind. Running will trigger an attack(does with any predator) and you will never be fast enough. That's why joggers get attacked.
"...on my property..." Kitty doesn't recognize your deed. As daft as it sounds, wearing several jingle bells will tell any predator you're there and they'll avoid you. You're not on their menu.
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Old July 29, 2011, 11:30 PM   #3
El Caballo Loco
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What part of Colorado are you in? I'm in the Springs.

I'd definitely like to hear some opinions on this. I go camping up past Lake George a lot.

My best guess would be rounds into the ground in front of it if you can get them off to try to scare it away.

O'Heir got the nail on the head saying you can't outrun one. If it has it in it's mind that it wants you, I'm guessing it will get you.
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Old July 29, 2011, 11:35 PM   #4
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No such thing as a stupid question, except the one not asked.
+1

Quote:
Kitty doesn't recognize your deed. As daft as it sounds, wearing several jingle bells will tell any predator you're there and they'll avoid you.
-1

I know folks in the Front Range Foothills (rural Larkspur) that used to put little jingle bells on their goats ..... used to.

Quote:
You're not on their menu.
Why not? You are the right size. You are made of meat. You are not terribly alert, compared to the cat's normal prey (deer). Unless the cat has developed a healthy fear of humans, humans are most certainly on the menu, especially if you run away. There have been people attcked and killed by mountain lions.

My aunt confronted one that was busy eating her dog in her back yard...... it did not immediately flee when approached by two adult humans- it wanted to defend it's kill. It fled after weighing the odds for a few seconds.
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Old July 29, 2011, 11:37 PM   #5
Alaska444
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Mountain lions scare the willies out of me because of their stealth, ability to jump over 20 feet and power. There have been quite a few fatal attacks in CO, so be very careful with these creatures.

http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_attacks_nonca.html
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Old July 29, 2011, 11:40 PM   #6
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thanks for the answers,

I wont be bothering these big kittys, I think they are beautiful. Just didnt want that beauty to turn into an aggressive fur ball with razors!!! lol I just didn't understand the effect of human presence with these animals... But great to know they will leave me and my friends alone for the most part. However I will still take the precautions I take with all predatory animals and be safe. I also fear the power of these creatures.

PS I live outside of Trinidad CO
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Old July 29, 2011, 11:41 PM   #7
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Sorry if this is a stupid question
+1 no such thing

I'm lucky , no Cats, Yotes or Hogs, just snakes, good ones and bad ones.
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Old July 29, 2011, 11:44 PM   #8
El Caballo Loco
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I wonder if having deep water close would help like a lake or a river?
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Old July 29, 2011, 11:47 PM   #9
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But great to know they will leave me and my friends alone for the most part
Don't bet your life on it.

Did you read any of the stories at the link Alaska444 provided?
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Old July 29, 2011, 11:51 PM   #10
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Yes I read them, I take that back lol... I really will be watching my back and keepin my mind alert when in the woods. I thank you all for the advice
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Old July 30, 2011, 12:42 AM   #11
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carry your self a semi auto loaded 12 gauge shotgun with 00 buckshot in it. Thats your safest way to be,I never heard of anyone going camping out in the woods with no firearms. For crying out loud,what about sasquatch?
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Old July 30, 2011, 01:40 AM   #12
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I had a momma lion and two yearlings walk up to within 20 ft of me when I was small gaming in Phantom Canyon one time and was standing too still for too long. They were just as scared as I was, but luckily the did run the other way.

Lions are thin skinned so most any cartridge will kill them if it comes to it. Any place there are Deer, there are lions. Stay alert and make noise.
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Old July 30, 2011, 05:54 AM   #13
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My understanding is that most cougar attacks on humans are made by juveniles and most of them are directed towards children. Elderly or injured cougars are also responsible for a number of attacks as they are looking for easy prey.
Honestly I'm kind of a tree hugger and when I'm in the wild I try to stay out of the way of the wildlife. Make noise, talk, sing whatever the cat that hears ya and evades you is the best kind. I always wear a backpack when hiking even if I don't really need it like others said an attack is likely to come from behind and I want the backpack to take the brunt of the initial attack. Secondly I always carry a big stick. Many land predators are wary of humans carrying things. Works well with unfriendly dogs also. A cougar with a missing eye or broken limb is as good as dead in the wild and they will avoid injury if at all possible. I always carry a side arm for the 2 and 4 legged predators. If a cougar displays hostility towards me ill shoot to kill not to scare, scared beasts are more dangerous then dead ones. Same goes for the 2 legged kind.

All that being said the only wild animal that has ever attacked me was a squirrel and he was defeated by a rolled up towel snapped at him. I was on the way to the pool. Also had the occasional acorn thrown my way by the furry tailed rats most of them got off easy though...
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Old July 30, 2011, 07:12 AM   #14
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While children are the right size as mountain lion food, an erect adult is outside the norm for prey. Some evidence indicates that the jogger killed by a lion in Colorado was crouched down and tying a shoelace.

They are curious, and have been known to follow people who are hiking in the wilderness. I've heard and read numerous numerous stories of these non-attack events. Overall, however, these are not common when you consider how many lions there are, and how many hikers wander around the boonies.

I long ago picked up the habit of checking my six when wandering the boonies, particularly during deer season. Bambi can wait until I pass by before moving. So, it's helpful for lions, bears, people, zombies and boogers in general.
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Old July 30, 2011, 08:34 AM   #15
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Don't bet your life on it.

Did you read any of the stories at the link Alaska444 provided?
Despite the stories being gruesome, such cat attacks are exceptionally rare. They make big news when they occur and the actual threat level gets blown way out of proportion. Folks are a many times more likely to be shot by a hunter than they are to be attacked by a cat and hunting season isn't 24/7/365 like hiking, camping, trail riding and such is. As Art noted, adults are attacked very infrequently. If you do read the stories, then note that many of the adults who are attacked are engaged in activities that exacerbate the issue. Several have been hurt trying to protect children and pets, essentially engaged in fighting the cat for what the cat perceives as his food. The adults were not the intended targets of an attack, but interjected themselves into the situation. Of the human adults that are attacks, some are down on the ground as Art noted, spy the cat and the take flight (activating the chase response in the cat), somehow manage to surprise the cat via a chance encounter, or have food that has attracted the cat to their location and hence the confrontation occurs.

If you go to the associated link and read about all the non-attack encounters, the information is probably more helpful. Many people engaged in activities once realizing a cat was present that helped the cat to feel unwelcome. Note that lots of people apparently get stalked by the cats. I have a buddy who is a photographer that is one of them and has a picture of his boot print overlain by a mountain lion print that was less than 10 minutes old. Cats are curious and will follow people around and observe.

However if an attack does come and you haven't already seen the cat, then expect it to be from behind, which is hard to expect if you don't know the cat is there or that you are about to be attacked.
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Old July 30, 2011, 08:38 AM   #16
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Cougars are the quintessential commando killing machine. They hunt by stalking and they are absolutely soundless while doing so. They like to stalk their prey from above, ie., from a tree or a ledge above the trail you're on. They attack from behind and you will never know they are there until they have their fangs buried in your jugular and their claws hooked into your chest and your hips as they ride you into the ground onto your face.

Sound scary? Absolutely.

If you're going to be Cougar food, having a gun or weapon or pepper spray or whatever will do you no good whatsoever. This is because you have to be able to identify this threat before it is on you and you, as a human being, are not equipped with the proper senses to make this possible.

The ONLY effective way to avoid attacks by Cougars is to take a dog with you. This is no exaggeration, either. Dogs can smell the cats and give you warning. It may be that the dog will warn you by cowering in fear, nevertheless, you'll get a message from the dog that something is amiss and you can raise your own awareness.

Unfortunately, the dog will likely become a sacrificial animal as the Cougar can kill a dog in seconds but it will give you the warning you need to draw a firearm and shoot the cat.

Bear in mind, people who see Cougars out in the wild and are not attacked are twice lucky: the Cougar simply wasn't hungry right then and you were lucky to see it and lucky to not get eaten.

There are a LOT of myths about how Cougars hunt and attack but the basics above can give you half a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and survive it.

--Wag--
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Old July 30, 2011, 09:33 AM   #17
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When your out in cat country try to keep yourself as "big" as possible. Never bend over to tie a shoe or do anything that will make you look about the same size as a small deer to a cat. If you don't look like a food source more than likely you will never have an encounter with a mountain lion.
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Old July 30, 2011, 09:59 AM   #18
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Thanks for this thread. I have been wondering the same things.

I also want to add, for anyone in the southeastern US reading this thread, that just because you think you are not in cat country doesn't necessarily make it so. I live in northwest Louisiana, and I have been told since I was a young boy that there are no mountain lions/pumas/cougars/whatever in our area, by game wardens and the like. They have always claimed that any reported sightings were just the product of a bobcat or coyote in conjunction with a wild imagination.

Well, fast forward to when I was about 17, deer hunting in a box stand during the early part of the season. Out of a thicket to my right comes a mountain lion. About 10-15 yds away. I could have thrown a rock and hit it, so there was no mistaking it for a bobcat. Not the same size, not the same coloration, and definitely not the same bobbed tail. There was absolutely no doubt what it was. I was half contemplating shooting it, because I knew no one would believe me without proof, but I knew that wouldn't be right, so I let it creep on out of sight. It was the first and only one I have ever seen, but obviously they are out there. I told some folks about what I saw, and it was met with mixed reception, some saying "yeah I know we have 'em", and some saying "aww, you saw a bobcat or coyote or something".

Fast forward another ten years or so, and they actually capture a mountain lion around Natchitoches, LA, a city in the central part of the state.

Hard for the game wardens to argue now.

The reason I tell this is that just because some biologist with a map or a game warden says they are not in a particular area doesn't make it so. If you are in the south eastern US, watch your surroundings closely when you are in the woods. The west/northwest is not the only part of the country that has 'em.

Jason
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Old July 30, 2011, 10:58 AM   #19
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I was followed by a cougar about 12 years ago while elk hunting in Washington. When I spotted the cat it was 20 yards behind me and crouching to pounce ( or so it appeared ). I almost shot it, but the law says you have to prove that it was attacking and I did not have a tag. I had to chase it away. In the same 20 acres of forest I know at least 6 different people had the same experience with that cat over 7 years. The last guy shot him, 140 lb tom. This cat had a habit of following people. I think he was curious mostly. However I never go in the woods without a gun.
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Old July 30, 2011, 12:14 PM   #20
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Not sure where everyone is getting their stats that mountain lions only attack small children. We have had several attacks in southern CA all involving adults. Yup, children have been attacked, but so have many, many adults.

As far as risk, yup, it ain't many but when it happens to you, that is 100%. Never go hiking alone, have weapons that can take out the predators in your area. Since this is a firearm forum, why would we be talking about the dangers of driving a car or lightning? If folks don't like talking about predator attacks, they can certainly skip these threads, why stress yourself out folks.
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Old July 30, 2011, 12:51 PM   #21
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However I never go in the woods without a gun.
That's the kicker for us in Louisiana. As gun friendly as our state usually is on most issues, you are not allowed to carry anything larger than a .22 rimfire, and it must be loaded with rat shot during bow season. Of course during gun season you can carry what you want. I understand the spirit of the law, they don't want anyone poaching deer with guns during bow season, but I mean, come on.

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Old July 30, 2011, 02:58 PM   #22
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True, the likelyhood of being attacked is very small, but it is not the odds that is important, but the stakes: much as the likelyhood of being attacked by a criminal is pretty small, the stakes are the same. Carry weapons in cat country, and pay attention to your surroundings.

As for the "You'll be dead before you know the cat is there." tripe...... I suggest you read some of the accounts in Alaska444's link- there's one where the intended cat-lunch reached into his pocket, retrieved a folding pocket knife and cut the cat's throat while he kept the cat off his own throat with his left hand. He was pretty torn up, but he killed the lion: Never give up!

The cat may very well surrprise you, but that does not mean you have to admit defeat. It's your life, defend it! God may not have given you the keen senses he gave the cat, but he did give you a giant brain. Use it.

To that end, I'd suggest not only a gun, but a good razor sharp fixed blade knife you could get to easily.......
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Old July 30, 2011, 03:10 PM   #23
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I think that Art has the best synopsis.

Take basic precautions. If you have kids, have them hike between the adults of the party. Don't let them run off by themselves. Cats grow up eating rabbits, deer, etc as they were taught. People look funny, sound funny and smell funny to them; within their own 9 cat lives they probably have never attacked a large biped, so they don't really know how to go after a person unless that person is small or bent over to appear small. Cats probably don't want to end up injured by risking the unknown.

That said, if the normal food items are hard to come by for the lion, the normal math stops. I follow the "better to have it and not need it" theory and carry a .40 with me in the woods.
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Old July 30, 2011, 04:07 PM   #24
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Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

I've never seen a cougar in the 40+ years that I've lived, hiked, camped, and hunted in the Pacific Northwest. The odds are that the vast majority of people have had the same experience, or lack there of.
Your odds will be even lower if you practice good camp and trail discipline.

As with bears, pepper spray is probably a better option.
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Old July 30, 2011, 07:03 PM   #25
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I have had 2 cougars within 500 yards of my home within the past 2 months actually. They are the same 2 I believe. I have no reason to harm them as they have not caused me trouble... But still enough to remain aware IMO.
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