If You Encounter a Mountain Lion
Cougar about to pounce (on a leg of chicken!) - Photo by jurvetson (Flickr)
If you encounter a Mountain lion, here is some advice from someone who has first hand experience, Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton. He says the following:
Firstly he says that Mountain lions don't want to be seen or heard and that attacks on humans are rare in Colorado.
Comment: That begs the question as to why some Mountain lions don't mind being seen and heard. It is probably because they are young and inexperienced and have not learned that humans are to be avoided. Or they are sick and hungry. If they are young it may be because the adults have been hunted and killed. Just a thought. If that is the case then people bring the problem on themselves.
Most of the time that a cougar hears you coming he will take off, Randy says.
Comment: This squares up with what is said in the main article on this page.
Don't approach the mountain lion. In Randy's experience that can lead to problems.
Keep the cougar in your sight, stay calm, speak loudly and firmly and back away but don't turn and run as that provokes the cat's hunting instinct to chase.
Comment In the Sundarbans of Bangladesh people can wear face masks on the back of their heads to protect them from tigers who attack from the rear but not when the person is facing the tiger (Tiger threats).
Make yourself appear a large as possible by raising arms aloft and opening jacket and hold it out.
Comment This reminds me of a Frenchman who learned to live with Cheetahs in Africa as a way of understanding conservation better. In order to protect himself while the cheetahs learned to live with him and respect him he raised his arms wide and high. See: Understand Wild Cats
If the mountain lion does not move away the next step is to throw things at it and yell.
Finally and rarely, if attacked don't play dead but fight back.
Comment I have never encountered a mountain lion but although a large cat and although they can be dangerous they are not the size of an African lion. They are far smaller in fact and often weight about as much as a slender women. I would hope therefore that they could be fought off without recourse to firearms and indiscriminate killing.
If the encounter occurs in town call the local authorities but....
Comment Please don't shoot it....