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Re: mountain lion encounters

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mountain lion encounters
May 06, 2013 05:31PM
From Yosemite Wildlife Management

Mountain Lion Encounters

Part 1: Avoidance and Responses


Mountain Lions live throughout Yosemite, at all elevations, and in a wide array of habitat types. The chance of lion attack on humans is extremely low, compared to other threats inherent in working in the field. Fatal lion attacks have, however, occurred in the western U.S. in the last several decades. While the chance of lion attack is very low, they can be further reduced by following some simple precautions:

· Do not hike alone, especially after dark.
· Be alert and aware of your surroundings, by visually scanning along the trail ahead and behind.

If you encounter a lion:

· Remain calm. Don’t run! Lions instinctually chase running prey.
· Do not turn your back on the lion. Maintain eye contact, and stand your ground or back slowly away
· Talk to the lion in a loud, firm, confident voice.

If a lion moves toward you, does not move away, or behaves aggressively:

· Try to appear as large as possible, by holding your coat open, or raising and waving your arms.
· Stare at the lion and yell in a loud, low voice.
· If with others, stand together to give a more imposing impression.
· Arm yourself. Pick up a club-sized stick. Pelt the lion with rocks and sticks. Your goal is to convince the lion that you are not prey, and that you are a danger to it.

If a lion attacks:

· FIGHT BACK! Do not play dead! Fight as if your life depends on it, because it does.

Mountain Lion Encounters
Part 2: Interpretation of Lion Behavior - Risk and Response

The circumstances of lion encounters vary widely, but can be divided into broad categories. In each encounter, the lion’s behavior can give you an indication of its intentions, and how you should react to increase your safety.

Incidental Sightings

· Description – Sighting of lion from a distance. Lion does not stop and hold eye contact, but runs or walks out of sight. This is by far the most common type of lion sighting.
· Interpretation – Avoidance behavior. Lion being secretive.
· Risk of Attack – Low.
· Your Reaction – Make noise to keep the lion heading away. You should leave the area.

Defensive Aggression

· Description – Surprise encounter with a lion at close range. The lion reacts by hissing, snarling, and other vocalizations. Baring of teeth, ears laid back.
· Interpretation – Defensive behavior. A kill or a den with cubs could be nearby. Attack is possible.
· Risk of Attack – Moderate, depending on the distance between you and the lion, and your reaction.
· Your Reaction – Immediately back away while facing the lion and staring at it. Report the encounter to Wildlife Management or a Protection Ranger.

Predatory – Prey Assessment and Stalking

· Description – Lion stares intensely. Exhibits following and hiding behavior. The lion stays nearby and stares at you. The lion may face you or try to circle around you, generally maintaining a constant distance.
· Interpretation – Lion assessing you as potential prey, and chances of a successful attack.
· Risk of Attack – Moderate to high, depending on distance, and intensity of behavior.
· Your Reaction – Stare at the lion while making noise, and throwing rocks and sticks at the lion. Alert other people in the area. When the lion leaves, so should you, staying alert for the lion as you go. Report the encounter to Wildlife Management or a Protection Ranger.

Predatory – Pre-attack

· Description – Crouching; tail twitching; staring intensely; body low to ground; head may be up.
· Interpretation – Pre-attack.
· Risk of Attack – High.
· Your Reaction – Stare and yell at the lion; throw rocks and sticks to scare away the lion. Find a weapon, like a stick to use as a club. When the lion leaves, so should you, staying alert for the lion as you go. Report the encounter to Wildlife Management or a Protection Ranger.

Predatory – Attack Imminent

· Description – Fur fluffed out; tail twitching; body and head low to ground; rear legs pumping.
· Interpretation – Attack imminent.
· Risk of Attack – Very high and immediate.
· Your Reaction – Face and stare at the lion; yell loudly; throw rocks and sticks; find a weapon, like a fist-sized rock or club-like stick. If the lion makes contact, fight back as if your life depends on it, because it does. If you are able to repel the lion, leave the area, staying alert for the lion as you go. Report attack to a Protection Ranger.
avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 06, 2013 05:52PM
Quote
parklover
Try to appear as large as possible, by holding your coat open, or raising and waving your arms.


avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 06, 2013 05:53PM
I've only seen a mountain lion in the wild once - not at Yosemite, at Henry Coe State Park. Several years ago I was returning from Mississippi "Lake" Memorial Day weekend, and had made a very early start to minimize time in the worst of the heat. I only saw it in the distance, for about a second or so, before it noticed me, arched its back, and ran into the brush.
avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 06, 2013 06:13PM
Quote
ttilley
I've only seen a mountain lion in the wild once

Same here and it was crossing a road I was driving on. Thought it was a strange looking dog at first.

Tracks I've seen many times:

avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 07, 2013 12:51AM
Quote
ttilley

I've only seen a mountain lion in the wild once - not at Yosemite, at Henry Coe State Park. Several years ago I was returning from Mississippi "Lake" Memorial Day weekend, and had made a very early start to minimize time in the worst of the heat. I only saw it in the distance, for about a second or so, before it noticed me, arched its back, and ran into the brush.


My only sighting of a mountain lion was in Yosemite during a snow-free (in Yosemite Valley) February some years back when I was hiking up Old Big Oak Flat Road up from the valley floor. I turned the corner of a slight bend on the road and there it was about 75 feet ahead of me grazing on some shrubs. It never noticed (or at least acknowledge) my presence. It never looked toward my direction. Instead, after a few minutes of grazing on the shrubs it continued west up the old road. After it had left my sight, I turned around and headed back down to the valley floor.

.
avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 08, 2013 01:05AM
Same here. I've seen plenty of tracks but only saw a mountain lion once. Going cross county from the north side of Kibbie lake towards the trail that goes to Boundary Lake I saw a mom and a young mountain lion for a few seconds and then they were gone. It was definitely cool to see.
avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 06, 2013 09:53PM
If you're going to "throw rocks and sticks to scare away the lion" but you have to bend down to get them, won't you be making yourself look more like prey?
avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 07, 2013 12:40AM
Ideally, you'll have a hiking stick or trekking poles with you. No need to bend down to find a stick.
.
avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 07, 2013 02:33AM
I'll have the trekking poles with me all right. Ideally, I won't need to use them on a lion. grinning smiley
avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 07, 2013 08:44AM
What should I do if I'm walking along a trail, munching on a Twinkie, and I encounter a pink chicken? confused smiley
Re: mountain lion encounters
May 07, 2013 09:32AM
Throw the Twinkie to the chicken and run for your life.
avatar Re: mountain lion encounters
May 07, 2013 11:05PM
Pinecone is safe. Dey got heated swim-on pool. Well...safe as long as got another unwrapped Twinkie.
And I get buy one night... get one night free.

Being a cat owner I nose that you are safe. Well... since they spend 99% of the time sleeping.
Quit worrying... and get a hike-on turkeys! Just be on the lookout 1% of the time.
Chick-on is looking at you!



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: mountain lion encounters
May 07, 2013 11:52AM
"Do not hike alone, especially after dark."

No thanks.
Re: mountain lion encounters
May 11, 2013 03:11PM
If a rabid mountain lion, the encounter would be something else.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8574062


Mountain lion attacks are all too common everywhere in the West except Yosemite.
http://www.cougarinfo.org/attacks3.htm

"The Beast in the Garden", award winning book about the return of mountain lions to Boulder, Co.
http://www.amazon.com/Beast-Garden-Predators-Suburban-America/dp/0393326349

Grand Canyon N.P. biologist to be honored; killed by pneumonic plague from mountain lion.
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-10-21-plague-grand-canyon_N.htm
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-grand-canyon-wildlife-event-to-pay-homage-to-biologist-eric-york-20130516,0,558595.story



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/17/2013 06:30PM by KenS.
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