how to deter mountain lions while hiking

This goes to confirm the reason why they are less likely to attack humans. Don’t hike alone. Take it one hit at a time. This story definitely falls under the category "don't try this at home." Bear spray is great if you see them coming, but keep in mind, if you are in the middle of a wilderness area, that may not be the best option that could be available. If you have trekking poles, raise them up too and get ready to use them if it approaches you. Unless you have experience in tracking, or you see a paw print in snow, it will be hard to tell how fresh the track is. Keep Children Close and Dogs on Leashes: Children and smaller individuals are more likely to be attacked. Mountain Lions Attacking Trail Runners. Put your hands in the air, make noise, and act bigger than you are. Try to remain standing to protect your head and neck. Grizzly bears are generally found in Alaska, Western … Most people hiking or camping in a mountain lion territory usually go with a radio. The best way to avoid … The fact is that the overwhelming majority of hikers can spend decades on the trail and never see a mountain lion. Not that you would ever be likely to meet a mountain lion at your home, but you get the idea. Hiking or trail running in groups puts the numbers to your advantage, decreasing the likelihood of being attacked. “Sometimes those simple things can … And a dog... Stay Clear of Deer Kills… Either way, just seeing tracks means that the lion has been where you are and could come back. Since 1980, there have been only 13 attacks in all of California (where David and Charley live) and three people have died as a result. Each year in California, about 100,000 dog attacks cause their victims to get […] Wave your trekking poles and shout. Don’t run – keep any children close to you, and if you spot a cat, pick them up to prevent them from trying to run away. A mountain lion’s hind foot steps in his front track, creating overlapping patterns too. Seeing fresh mountain lion tracks puts me on alert too. To recap, here are the steps to preventing or surviving an encounter with a mountain lion: Avoid escalation – know what to look for in order to spot a mountain lion early, and steer clear of areas that may pose a risk. Make Yourself Look Bigger: Wave your arms slowly over your head and open your jacket or shirt to appear as large as possible. Try to remain standing and get up if you’re knocked down. Mountain lion attacks are rare, but hardly unheard of. LiveAbout uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. If you see a snake, the first thing you want to do is to give the animal some space. A mountain lion male is usually up to 40% larger than a female lion. Look for Warning Signs: Like housecats, mountain lions are curious and may observe you for a while before disappearing. Be aware of what you can throw at the lion if it begins to act aggressively. If both top toes are level, it’s a dog. Despite these statistics, mountain lions are present in many state and national parks in western states. Don’t run away or that will create a chase. How dangerous are mountain lions? Here’s what you should do: Put your hands in the air, make noise, and act bigger than you are. In general, it can be big, almost the size of human poop, especially in circumference. Just as with a bear, try to look at big as possible so it doesn’t want to fight you. Carefully (and while minimizing any crouching) pick up children and put them on your shoulders. But don’t assault a mountain lion that isn’t showing threatening behavior. Make noise when you’re hiking, this will help ensure that you don’t walk up on an unsuspecting lion. Focus on nothing other than surviving and hitting back. Matt Jaffe is a journalist specializing in outdoor recreation, travel, and the environment. Seeing fresh mountain lion scat. 3 mountain lions killed after shocking discovery near popular Arizona hiking trail. Even when you’ve done everything possible to prevent a snake encounter, there is still the possibility of bumping into one - after all, your hike is in their territory! Mountain Lion Attacks Mountain lion in Arizona. While mountain lion attacks are rare, in early February 2019, a 31-year-old trail runner named Travis Kauffman was running in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space near Fort Collins, Colorado. Kauffman, the Colorado resident who, on Valentine’s Day 2019, killed a lion with his bare hands while out running in the mountains. 3 mountain lions killed after shocking discovery near popular Arizona hiking trail. Report any mountain lion encounters or incident to the local Ranger District, or Fish and Wildlife Office. Stumbling upon a mountain lion is pretty rare, but if you happen to do a lot of stuff outdoors, it’s good to be prepared just in case. By using LiveAbout, you accept our, How to Prevent an Attack By a Cow When Hiking, How to Survive an Encounter With a Baboon, How to Stay Safe From Lightning on the Golf Course, Climbing Harney Peak: South Dakota's High Point, Where Are You Hiking? Mountain Lions prefer to hunt in the evening and nighttime hours. If attacked, fight back!! Cluster together with your hiking companions, representing yourself as a big, noisy group. read more about your privacy and here. Cannon said hikers wishing to avoid mountain lions should refrain from hiking early in the morning and at dusk, and hike in larger groups. However, in other parts of the country, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions, or other large predators might give a person pause. In a large portion of Montana, bears and lions inhabit the same areas. Researchers have developed several devices designed to frighten or deter large carnivores from attacking livestock, though these are generally effective when livestock are confined in small pastures. Don’t antagonize it. According to the Mountain Lion Foundation, only 14 fatal attacks on humans have occurred in North America during the past 100 years. Grab a knife, a GPS, a rock, a stick, anything hard that you can hit with. Be careful when hiking, climbing or camping in areas that are prime habitats for mountain lions. The problem is identifying it. Fight Back: In the unlikely event of an actual attack, use whatever you can—fists, rocks, sticks, backpack—to fend off the mountain lion. Keep your family safe during recreation such as hiking and biking in mountain lion country. During these hours, stay near camp and do not wander around alone. Yell, clap your hands, or bang on objects to scare off the mountain lion. Instead, slowly try to back away while keeping your face toward the lion. You may have heard about Travis Kauffman surviving a mountain lion attack in the Rockies. Try to have a gun with you as your first line of defense. If one toe is in front of the others, it’s a cat. For one woman in Colorado the meeting happened while hiking and you won't believe what she did to keep the big cat from attacking her. Stay Smart Cougars are all-star stalk­ers, but you might be able to spot oth­er signs that they are in the area. Cougars are solitary animals. Compare this with attacks by dogs. Children and smaller individuals are more likely to be attacked. You have a much better chance of dying while driving to the trail, with 36,000 Americans dying in motor vehicle accidents every year. Unlike bears, however, mountain lions have to take a human seriously, because a human may outweigh the 100 to 120 pound cat. Mountain lions can also leap up to 15-20 feet into a tree. All Rights Reserved, 14 verified mountain lion attacks on humans in CA, hiking tricks and tips that I’ve learned over the years, what hiking gear works and what gear doesn’t, please erase and block them using your web browser. Keep your eyes peeled for cougar tracks (four toes, and usu­al­ly no claw prints since their claws are retractable) and drop­pings, and scan trees for fresh claw marks. They generally are reclusive and avoid making any contact with humans. So, they are as scared of you as you are of them. Keeping a fire going may deter the Mountain Lion from entering your campsite area. So it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with mountain lion safety. Safely Deter Mountain Lions If you need an effective mountain lion, bobcat, or cougar repellent that is humane, environmentally friendly, and easy to use, Nite Guard has the solution for you. Backcountry vs. Frontcountry vs. Slackcountry, Climbing Longs Peak, Keyhole Route Description. Here are some tips from the Mountain Lion Foundation and National Park Service. Photo: CEBImagery. Just don’t come at it, corner it, or antagonize it in any way. Stay Clear of Deer Kills: Deer are the favorite prey of mountain lions and a fresh kill is a sure sign of a nearby mountain lion. Watch Your Back: Bending and crouching can make you appear more like prey to a mountain lion and leaves your head and neck vulnerable to attack. Groups of people seem to deter Mountain Lion attacks too so travel in groups, even when making short trips (e.g. Our Nite Guard Solar predator deterrent lights have been proven to keep away mountain lion, bobcat, and cougar. Mountain lions may return repeatedly if food, water, or shelter is available. I’m sure I’ve come close when drinking gas station coffee on those early morning hikes. Detecting the Mountain Lion's Presence Before an Attack Look out for tracks. Instead, back up slowly while speaking firmly and loudly and maintaining direct eye contact. Sometimes it will have hair from the prey in it. Their paw print is about 2″ tall by 4″ wide, and doesn’t have claw/nail prints (dogs do). If you have an air horn, give that some blasts. Seeing a dead animal carcass, especially a fresh one. The data tell an interesting story. Remain calm – Always hold your ground and walk away slowly, never turning your back to the animal. If … Protect yourself from cougars. If it’s dry, it’s old, if it’s moist and warm, it’s probably new. Carrying, and knowing how to use, bear spray can help help deter an aggresive enounter with large predators. Where You’ll Find Bears. Pay Special Attention at Dawn and Dusk: Prime hiking hours in early morning and early evening overlap with the times when mountain lions are active. Mountain Lions are quite elusive animals and trail encounters with them are rare. Use rocks, jackets, sticks to turn away the mountain lions. If you have an air horn, give that some blasts. Imagine a house cat but several times larger and way more powerful. This past January, north of Eureka, a mountain lion attacked a 70-year-old man hiking with his wife. How to Avoid Mountain Lions Pay Special Attention at Dawn and Dusk: . Wave sticks, wave your pack, whatever you can do to look scary. Make yourself as big as possible – Lift up your backpack and hiking poles, pick up children, keep pets close and stand close to your fellow hikers. And with largely nocturnal habits and an aversion to well-traveled trails, mountain lions (also known as cougars or pumas) are pretty good at staying away from us. If you find yourself behind the lion when grappling around, you can also. The first thing to remember about mountain lions is that they really don’t want to have anything to do with you. It’s nothing personal, but their survival depends on avoiding people. to the bathroom). Start hitting the animal in the head, specifically the eyes. And a dog running ahead on a trail is easy prey for a mountain lion. Never run or bend down as this will make you look like prey. Bear Encounters. If you come upon an older, partially buried carcass, immediately leave the area. You can also tell them apart from dog tracks by looking at the top toe. If you’re hiking alone, extend your arms or pack up as high as you can so you look bigger. If a Mountain Lion hears you approaching, more often than not it will slip away into the brush to avoid a confrontation. The mountain lion is typically 6-8 times larger than a domestic house cat. Some people say not to look it in the eye, but there’s nothing empirical about that advice. There are exceptions but that’s a good general rule. Second, if you can, determine the species of the snake (using that handy field guide). If you come upon a lion, give it plenty of space so it can escape. To put that in perspective, 15,000 people were killed by lightning in that same period. He is a contributing writer for Los Angeles magazine and writes a column on hiking and the outdoors for the Los Angeles News Group. A women in Northern California fended off an attack with a ballpoint pen. Finally, consider carrying some pepper spray with you. But keep your distance and slowly leave the area, especially if you meet up with a mother and her kittens. Mountain lions have no problem feeding from a carcass, whether they killed it or not. EPA Approved Bear Spray May Help Deter a Mountain Lion. The sound of a human voice on the radio is a sure way to scare a mountain lion away from your camp or whatever path you are treading. They are known to be able to sprint run up to 50 miles per hour. If you run into a mountain lion, stay calm. However, mountain lions use natural areas, such as washes, to move through populated areas to more remote areas, and such movements are necessary to prevent problems with inbreeding and local extinction associated with habitat fragmentation. Bear spray may help to deter an attacking lion. Don’t Run: Turning and running can stimulate a mountain lion’s chase instinct. If, however, the mountain lion is crouching, snarling, or begins stalking, an attack may be imminent. Hold your arms up or hold a stick above you to appear larger. If you don’t have anything, use your fists. Try to grab something to fight back with. The longer you can punch, hit, and fight it off, the more you will convince the mountain lion that you’re not worth the effort. You also have a better chance of unintentionally poisoning yourself, with 42,000 Americans dying from that. While it would be amazing to spot one in the wild we must keep our safety in mind, because mountain lions … She must have really hit the right note. However, if you get in a situation, follow these guidelines and be prepared to do whatever it takes to overpower the lion and prevail. Tell yourself that people have survived this and you can too. During his run, Kauffman heard something behind him and turned around to see a male, adolescent, 40-pound mountain lion. Never Hike Alone: You’ll be safer and the extra noise helps alert mountain lions that there are people in the area. Keep facing the mountain lion and stand tall. Don’t Approach Mountain Lions: Seeing a mountain lion is a memorable experience. Seeing deer, sheep, or other bigger animals that would be mountain lion prey. So they can be bluffed. Prime hiking hours in early morning and early evening overlap with the times... Keep Children Close and Dogs on Leashes: . Mountain lions return to feed and will defend their kill.

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