August 9, 2017

If you encounter a mountain lion, whatever you do, don't turn off the video.

75 comments:

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I'm no expert, but I would think that backing away from it would be self-evident. Clearly its not afraid of humans. And running away would trigger its hunting instincts. They were lucky it wasn't hungry or felt threatened.

Also, if I was going to hike in an area were I might encounter a mountain lion, I am going to be carrying bear mace.

Meade said...

I think I'll name that cat "Kim".
Whatever you do, don't turn your back on Kim. And don't make yourself small and run.

Chuck said...

What is the rule on carrying a .44 Mag Ruger Blackhawk in Sequoia National Park?

Earnest Prole said...

The business about the hikers backing away is highly misleading.
If you see the unedited video, they spot the cat up the trail and stupidly follow it around the corner, only to find themselves face-to-face with it on a rock ledge within easy pouncing distance.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

they cut off the best part. kitty snax!

Bay Area Guy said...

They should panic, talk loudly, and approach the mountain lion, while filming it, and live Facebooking it. Really.

We are raising a generation of soft morons.

Fernandinande said...

Earnest Prole said...
If you see the unedited video


Thanks for that link! Turn up the volume for audio wonderfully free of inane commentary from newsreaders.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I'd rather run into a mountain lion than a mamma bear.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Who's a pretty kitty? YOU are, yes you are!

AllenS said...

If that had been Trump, the end of the story would have been a look at a nice rug. Win.

Sal said...

From the article: "The men were so shaken they had made goodbye videos for their loved ones."

Three pussies meet in the forest... Give the lion enough credit that it isn't going to attack two grown men.

Mountain Lion Attacks on Humans

Jeremy said...

Chuck, not sure if serious, but it is legal to carry, but not discharge firearms in Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP.

ALP said...

The look on the mountain lion's face seems to say "really...you have no fucking clue what to do at this moment...REALLY? It just keeps talking and pointing that thing at me like an idiot"

JohnAnnArbor said...

but it is legal to carry, but not discharge firearms in Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP.

I imagine second part goes out the window in certain situations.

William said...

My rational mind tells me that a mountain lion would not attack unless the odds were overwhelmingly in its favor, but there's also the possibility that some mountain lions are worse at risk assessment than other mountain lions. There's always the possibility that you have met the mountain lion counterpart of Kim Jung Un.

Bad Lieutenant said...

but it is legal to carry, but not discharge firearms in Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP.

I imagine second part goes out the window in certain situations.



Better to be judged by twelve than eaten by one.

Trumpit said...

It's really okay to be eaten by a magnificent cat like a mountain lion that is an endangered species. Unless the cat likes to play with its prey, like my cat Tuffy did, it would be a fairly painless way to go. In fact, it would be an honor to die that way rather than get bit by a rattlesnake. I'd be more concerned about the poison oak in the Sequoia National Park than encountering a bear or a mountain lion.

Johnny Sokko said...

According the the NPS website for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks:

Weapons (including, but not limited to, BB, pellet and paint guns; bow/arrow, slingshots, bear spray, and other compressed-gas irritant devices) are illegal to possess. No firearms, including concealed-carry, are allowed in any federal building. Discharge of a firearm or weapon is prohibited within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

No bear spray is illegal too.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

No bear spray is illegal too.

So I'm not going to go hiking there then.

Ralph L said...

Bet the cat would have moved if it had been only one prey, or if one had bolted.

Fernandinande said...

"Mountain lion attacks on humans are rare. There have been only 16 verified mountain lion attacks on humans in California since 1890, six of them fatal. The last documented attack occurred in January, 2007, in Humboldt County."

+

"Unlike bears, Mountain Lions usually go after a person with the intent to eat them. They tend to stalk their victim before the attack and they love to attack from behind. They prefer easy prey, a victim that will not fight back. Since humans tend to automatically fight back when attacked, only about 20% of Mountain Lion attacks are fatal."

+

JohnAnnArbor said...

Next trip, carry one of those bright green laser pointers. Problem solved.

Fernandinande said...

Jon Nostdal, 52, was attacked by a cougar while riding his bicycle in the dark from Port Alice, BC to where his tugboat was moored on the west coast of Vancouver Island. He heard the repeated clicking sound of the cougar's nails on the highway just before he sensed the presence of the cougar attacking him from behind.

The cougar attacked Jon's neck and knocked him off the bike. The hood of Jon's coat prevented initial injury, but on the ground the cougar continued attacking his neck. Elliot Cole, 39, saw the struggle, stopped his truck, yelled at the cougar, then hit the cougar with a bag filled with heavy binders, both to no avail. Elliot then began punching the cougar in the head**, and finally pinned the cougar to the ground with Jon's bike. Both ran to Elliot's vehicle.

Jon was treated for bite marks on his head and several lacerations to his face, and remained in the hospital through the next day.

It was believed that this cougar was hit by a car several days ago and injured.

++

** In one article about that incident, back when it happened, Elliot said the lion "just stared at me" when he was punching it. I bet they can take a punch.

bagoh20 said...
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gspencer said...

And being granola crunchers they would never, ever think of bringing along a gun.

bagoh20 said...

That's why when I go hiking in lion or bear country I always carry a harshly worded letter from my attorney. As soon as they see the letterhead, those beasts are instantly splitsville, man.

AllenS said...

I have barn cats. Some of them you can pet. When the hormone thing kicks in, they are all about killing other male cats, or kittens that they know are not theirs. Trying to break up that shit, I've noticed that the cats are so focused on what they are trying to accomplish that they'll take quite a beating to stop, but only to re-focus on their mission. Farm cats are bad ass for their size. Cougars? Big time bad ass.

whitney said...

I thought the full video was even scarier. Also it seems pretty clear the camera was probably men mounted on the hat or head or something.

Freeman Hunt said...

I like to go for walks where there aren't lions.

Howard said...

Earnest Prole: thx for the link. The morons walked right into the cougar's ambush spot. They didn't have appropriate fear until they finally figured out they were prey, then they shit themselves. We have a big dominant male and his stable of kitties in our neighborhood. They keep the deer and their tics away. You can always tell when a new flatlander moves into the area because they post missing cat posters on all the telephone poles.

I saw the male once at night bounding across the road. He looked more powerful than an NFL linebacker with all the grace of a ballet dancer. Even though I was in my car, the autonomic sphincter response kicked in. Allen's right, big time bad ass

MountainMan said...

At my home in TN we are beginning to have significant bear problems. Behind my house is a mountain that has a 3600 acre nature preserve on top and there is a large, mostly-mothballed, Army ammunition plant downriver, which is almost like a nature preserve. About 12 or 13 bears that have taken up residence in the area. They have been invading the neighborhood at night to turn over trash cans looking for food. Naturalists have told neighbors there is nothing they will do about it, just keep food and cans inside and locked up and they will leave us alone. The bears have nearly exhausted food supplies on the mountain and are now looking for new sources but later in the fall the naturalists say they will head back up into the mountains looking for a den for the winter. I guess this will be the new normal.

I don't look forward to the return of mountain lions. In the past year two have been photographed by trail cams on the TN/KY border and one was recently captured on camera in Linville, NC. I expect they are following the huge increase in the deer population. Some evenings and early mornings my front yard looks like a mountain lion buffet. I have also had two wrecks with deer, not a pleasant experience. Hiking and mountain biking are major activities in this area and I expect contact with bears - and eventually mountain lions - will become more frequent.

EDH said...

JohnAnnArbor said...
Next trip, carry one of those bright green laser pointers. Problem solved.

Good idea!

Bob Ellison said...
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Bob Ellison said...
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Bob Ellison said...

The San Diego Zoo notes that the American cougar has more names than almost any other mammal: cougar, mountain lion, catamount, puma, panther, and lots of others. The groundhog (a type of squirrel) has almost as many, I think.

These two animals' nicknames often have almost no etymological relation to other nicknames. A groundhog is a woodchuck, and a cougar is a mountain lion. The names come from locals who encounter them.

This must have an effect on taxonomists and even biologists. If a lion and a tiger can produce offspring, and a horse and a zebra can, and a Neanderthal and a "modern" human can, then where, really, do you draw the lions?

Freeman Hunt said...

How about if we switch to preserving bobcats? Shoot lions, not bobcats. Bobcats are lion-ish but smaller and less objectionable to meet on a trail. If you like lions, you can look at a bobcat and imagine that it is larger and tan. Then you will almost have the full lion experience but without the fear of being killed. If that's not lion-istic enough, you could bait the bobcat into scratching you. "Wow! That hurt! It would have hurt even more if it had been a lion!" Could help the imagination along.

Andrew said...

Funny after decades of hunters and locals spotting mountain lions in Missouri the state officials said there weren't any. Finally an official saw one, so now we have them. Fucking government.

The Godfather said...

Hiker #1: Why are you putting on track shoes? You can't outrun a mountain lion!

Hiker #2: I don't have to outrun the mountain lion. I just have to outrun YOU.

AllenS said...

When entering big cat territory, walk softly, and carry a big stick with a big fucking nail through the end of it. Never give up your space.

Howard said...

Don't be triggered by predictors*, we are still apex, remember that and fear not. Bobcats are cute, we got those too, racoon, skunk, coyote, wild turkey, crow, squirrels, banana slugs. Bigfoot can only be seen at the museum. Ya gotta bungee the trash and recycle so tight, only a mountain man can take it off. That's the other sign of newbies in the hood, their trash scattered all over hell and gone.

Enjoy suburbia, it's safe and convenient. The perfect place to become comfortably numb after a hard day in the salt mines. Work like a rat all year and if you find enough cheese, maybe spend a weekend or two in the mountain forest so you can tell all your friends how frightening and backward the local flora and fauna are.
*excepting the man in the gray suit

Big Mike said...

Walking sticks are good to have in besr or big cat country. Especially when they're chambered in .30-06.

Michael K said...
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bagoh20 said...
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Michael K said...

We had a number of lion attacks in our trauma center. California, first in foolishness always, banned hunting them in the 70s.

Caspers' Wilderness Park banned children under 18 after two children were attacked in the 80s. The lion was dragging one off when a passerby beat it off with a tree branch. She was badly hurt but recovered. The other was only slightly hurt.

In another attack about the time I retired, two women were riding mountain bikes and one was attacked. It was dragging her off when another passerby beat it off with a tree branch. She was admitted and while waiting for surgery for her injuries, her husband, a local oral surgeon on the staff, came to visit her. When he saw her face, he fainted.

The sheriffs were looking for the lion with a helicopter when they found anther victim. He was dead and had been another mountain bike rider. It appeared his chain had come loose and he was repairing it, when attacked. The lion had eaten his liver and dragged his body under some bushes.

There are lions in the mountains behind our house in Arizona but I am much too old for hiking.

bagoh20 said...

Watch a video of a mountain lion killing a deer, and you will see that unarmed you'd be dead very quickly. They throw a deer down and hold it tight like flipping a pancake. Even armed with a big knife you would have a very tough time. They kill things our size every few days for a living. It's their regular job and specialty. They know exactly how to get you, hold you, and kill you without trying too hard or getting hurt. They just do it so fast and with total authority. It's scary as shit.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why are we trying to preserve predators that can take us in our spaces?

Rusty said...

bagoh20 said...
"That's why when I go hiking in lion or bear country I always carry a harshly worded letter from my attorney. As soon as they see the letterhead, those beasts are instantly splitsville, man."

I always carry an environmentalist. The bear and I enjoy the irony.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

One is supposed to look as large as possible, such as opening out one's jacket or hulking the shoulders. Walking away slowly is good, big stick is good.

Better yet, don't walk where there are mountain lions unless you are prepared to beat one back.

Rusty said...

It would have been a better video if one of em got et.

Mr. Majestyk said...

Were these animals (bears and cougars) hunted out of many areas, only recently starting to return? My grandparents had a place in the Berkshires and while visiting them as kids in the 1970s, my brothers and I would take hikes in the forest, never giving a thought to the possibility of being attacked by a bear or cougar. No one ever mentioned bears or cougars were out there. In the past 15 or 20 years or so, my uncle, who still lives in the area, has spotted bears outside his house, and has seen cougar tracks. Makes the thought of a hike much less appealing now.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Better yet, don't walk where there are mountain lions unless you are prepared to beat one back."

Or shoot it. When my kid was very young, we had them in the neighborhood. One, that used to cut through our yard every evening, started taking dogs a couple miles east. Couldn't track it until it took a bigger (maybe 70 lb) dog, and the tracker was able to track it back to its lair, about 1/4 mile downhill from us. We would sit out on the back porch in the summer, and I had a 12 gauge handy. If the 00 buck didn't work, I could have used it as a club. Now though I have some shells that have a combination of slug and buck shot, and would probably load that first. Right before that, a cat took a jogger about 10 miles west. Don't run in cougar country - they think that you are fleeing prey.

Here, in MT, I alternate solid cast with hollow point in a 10 mm semiautomatic handgun, because I could encounter mtn lion, black bear, and even brown bear high up. Haven't, and hope I don't - but, JIC. We do have black bear in the neighborhood - a lot of pretty tame pre-venisons there to lunch on. My partner claims that they had brown bear and mountain lion on their ranch 5 miles down river when she was married to her ex, but I don't believe her because it is too open there for the cats, and brown bears hadn't been seen in the county until less than a decade ago.

Bruce Hayden said...

I forgot to mention that we now, supposedly, have wolves back in the county in MT. That is probably the big reason to carry a semiautoatic, instead of a revolver - 15 round magazines and faster reloads. The other predators tend to live alone, except for their young. Again, my partner claimed that they had them down on the ranch. Highly unlikely, given the timing. Maybe coyotes, but not wolves back then.

Ralph L said...

Why are we trying to preserve predators that can take us in our spaces?

It keeps hikers and their other prey from getting careless and flabby.
AKA culling the herd.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Were these animals (bears and cougars) hunted out of many areas, only recently starting to return? "

I think that there were two parts to this. The big predators were hunted pretty heavily, and their numbers cut back significantly. Brown bear and wolves were essentially wiped out in the lower 48' except for a couple limited locations for the grizzlies (e.g. Yellowstone, Glacier). Last grizzly was killed in CO in the 1950s. The remaining black bears and cougars became fairly humanphobic as a result. But then, we quit hunting them, and they became progressively less so as a result. The other part though is that we pushed into cougar and black bear country, into the mountains around big cities, and the like. When my kid was small, we lived in bear and mountain lion country west of Denver, up in the mountains. I could get from downtown up into the heavy pines, with a view of the Continental Divide, in maybe a half hour. It was great, and a lot of people discovered the same.

Mom2Es said...

So what I've learned from this conversation is never go hiking or mountain biking without a tree branch.

Earnest Prole said...

You’re a bunch of girlie-men -- you’re a hundred times more likely to be killed by a bee.

Bad Lieutenant said...

EP, ha! One of those things that never happens happened to me the other day. I was driving home and felt an itching in my pants (no, this is not a Penthouse letter from a small Midwestern college). It started at my ankle and worked its way up to my knee.

As I discovered after hastily pulling over in a Montessori school parking lot (somewhat awkward as I then fussed with my pants for a minute, hello sex offender registry), out fell a fuzzy object. All I could see was a pretty big bug. I took a napkin from the car, picked it up off the ground, and it was what appeared to be some kind of a young dead bee (fool that I am, no photo). Didn't seem fully developed. Only one yellow stripe that I could see.

I was actually a bit sad, but how the hell did he she or it get up my pant leg? I was afraid it was a horsefly or something. Happily it did not bite or sting (I wondered if it was stingless); I suppose it must have been more afraid than I was.

Poor thing. I'm having a really hard time imagining how I could have got him out of my pant leg alive though. Particularly without crashing.

Bad Lieutenant said...

For animal defense, how about a bang stick? You'd have to be bold to hunt with one of those.

mtrobertslaw said...

Bagho is on to something. I also carry a harsh letter from my personal injury attorney to show any bear I might come across. But sometimes it doesn't work. The last time I used my attorney letter, the bear pointed out the case my attorney relied had been overruled. Needless to say, we settled our dispute on the bear's terms.

chuck said...

An acquaintance had an encounter like this coming around a corner on a cliff side trail in Idaho. He said the mountain lion and he looked at each other for a bit, and then it jumped over the side, landed a the base of the cliff, and walked off.

Chris N said...

Looks pretty lean...they're surprise/stealth attackers and hunt from above....he's clearly somewhat engaged...very interested...prey drive possibly engaged.

I'd be on alert. You want to have spray and/or serious stopping power in case of atrack. Once they're on you they intend to kill.

Beautiful animals even when a little scraggly.

AllenS said...

Great comment from Mom2Es, which got me thinking that if hiking in cougar areas, bring a lawyer and environmentalist with you, and when attacked by the cougar, pull out your pistol and shoot either the lawyer or environmentalist in foot and then run like hell.

Earnest Prole said...

BL: Yikes!

Fernandinande said...

AllenS said...
Cougars? Big time bad ass.


Actually they're not; if you face them, they don't attack. If you fight back, they usually give up, which is why they like to attack little kids.

Mountain lions are occasionally sighted, and one was even trapped, within two or three miles of where we live and I run our two medium-sized dogs on some BLM land of which everyone - almost literally, and one being the sheriff - says "Watch out for mountain lions!" and I say "Never seen any sign of them, no footprints in the winter, no recent kills, and no tall trees to hide in and jump out of." I think they come down from the pine forests when the hunting is bad, catch a sheep, and then go back home, all mostly at night. It's only about 8 or 10 miles to the woods.

I don't worry at all about a lion attacking me, and worry only slightly about one grabbing one of the dogs. I'm far more concerned about other dogs running loose, and rattlesnakes.

AllenS said...

Fernandinande said...
AllenS [me] said...
"Cougars? Big time bad ass."

[you] Actually they're not; if you face them, they don't attack.

Perhaps those people who have been attacked riding their mountain bicycles or just walking should wear a human face mask on the back of their head. May I suggest a Trump mask.

Meade said...

I'm automatically attracted to beautiful cougars—I just start petting them. It's like a magnet. Just pet. I don't even wait. And when you're an internet star they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the pussy cat. You can do anything.

Meade said...

"should wear a human face mask on the back of their head. May I suggest a Trump mask."

If you can call that human.

Lucien said...

Predatorial animals weigh everything in terms of energy/calories. Not consciously so, of course - they don't think in those terms. But unconsciously every potential prey encounter boils down to:

How much energy/calories will I gain from eating this creature?
How much energy/calories will it take to kill this creature?
What are the chances that I will be injured trying to kill this creature, impairing my ability to secure energy/calories in the future?

This is why lions give up on a gazelle they've been stalking if they can't run it to ground in 4 or 5 seconds from their attack (too much energy burned on what turned out to be a low percentage kill). This is why lions prefer going after fast gazelles, rather than big, slow, dangerous water buffaloes and elephants (lots of calories to be gained in the success case, but a lot of calories burned to get the kill and significant chance of injury). This is why cheetahs need a 90% hit rate when they do decide to go after prey (running 60 mph has a huge energy/calorie bill).

And this is why mountain lions typically (typically!) choose not to go after humans. A good calorie reward if successful, but probably too much work/energy burn and too much risk, especially if there's two of the hairless apes. Obviously it doesn't always work this way, and if there are cubs to protect, all that calorie shit gets thrown out the window, so look out.

Lucien said...

Yellowstone National Park recommends wearing bear bells and carrying pepper spray when hiking, in case of bear encounters. They also recommend examining any spoor you find on the trail to determine what kind(s) of bear may be nearby.

Black bear: Spoor will contain remnants of nuts, berries.
Brown bear: Spoor will contain fish bones, some animal remnants..
Grizzly bear: Spoor will contain bear bells, pepper spray.

mikeski said...

That's why when I go hiking in lion or bear country I always carry a harshly worded letter from my attorney. As soon as they see the letterhead, those beasts are instantly splitsville, man.

That works on great white sharks when you swim in the Atlantic, too. Though you have to laminate the letter.

And they aren't scared of it... it's just professional courtesy.

mikeski said...

Yellowstone National Park recommends wearing bear bells and carrying pepper spray when hiking, in case of bear encounters. They also recommend examining any spoor you find on the trail to determine what kind(s) of bear may be nearby. [...]

Relatedly, you can also identify a bear that is chasing you if you attempt to climb a tree.

If it climbs up after you and eats you, it was a black bear.
If it pushes the tree over and eats you, it was a grizzly.

Lucien said...

Mikeski - well played sir, well played.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Earnest Prole said...
BL: Yikes!
8/10/17, 10:49 AM


Right? The point is, of course, that nobody* can catch a cougar or a bear or a whatever, so if you're at arm's length, it's presumably because the animal approached and attacked you, at which point, presumably, you are entitled to defend yourself, which a power head or "bang stick" would allow you to do. Should also make it tough to miss...

For the unaware,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powerhead


*okay, maybe Usain Bolt.

Freeman Hunt said...

One of my sons and I had a conversation about bears the other day.

"Mom, what do you do if a bear starts coming toward you?"
"If it's a black bear, you make yourself look big. It will probably leave."
"What if it's a grizzly bear?"
"Hopefully you brought a big gun in that case."
"What if you didn't?"
"I guess you can do whatever you want. It would be a good time to pray and get right with God."
"Ha ha ha! Because it's going to kill you?"
"Yes, probably."

Earnest Prole said...

Like you I'm entirely in favor of self-defense. What I'm against is indiscriminate killing. In California, a state of 40 million, there have been sixteen confirmed attacks in the last hundred years. It's safe to say far more people have been killed in accidents involving house cats, and somehow we still manage to live with them.