After the recent attack by a mountain lion near Seattle, Washington on a couple of mountain bikers resulting in one death and another rider seriously injured, how to avoid a mountain lion attack has been at the top of the minds of many outdoorsmen.
Tips for avoiding a mountain lion attack are not unlike tips for avoiding attack by any number of other deadly predators. But there are some specific considerations that need to be kept in mind.
Here are six tips for avoiding and surviving a mountain lion attack.
Remember the odds
First off, it’s important to remember that being attacked by a mountain lion, also known as a cougar, is extremely rare. About as likely as getting bitten by a shark, getting mauled by a mountain lion is less likely than being struck by lighting and that’s pretty rare.
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If you do spot a mountain lion, the chances are that the mountain lion has been stalking you. The best thing to do at this point is make yourself known by making a lot of noise. Yell and scream and wave your arms to make yourself look bigger and fiercer than you really are.
Don’t hike alone
It’s always a good idea to hike with a partner. That way if an animal does get curious, you can seem even larger. With two people working together you will look bigger, sound louder and you can see more at once.
RELATED: How to Avoid a Cougar Attack
Avoid areas with fresh kills
If you come across a dead animal, don’t stick around too long. Dead carcasses, even if it wasn’t directly hunted by a mountain lion, is primer territory for attracting big cats. Unless you’re a photography looking to risk your life for a great shot, stay clear of areas with dead animals.
If the mountain lion continues to approach you, remain calm. I know this is much easier than it sounds when a deadly predator is walking on you, but it’s important not to panic at this point. Continue making noise and consider throwing an object at the animal like a rock or branch. If you run, it can trigger the predator instincts of the animal and it could attack.
Never turn your back
Another good rule of thumb that goes along with not running from the animal is not turning your back. In the same way, maintain constant eye contact with the big cat so it knows you’re onto him. However scary the animal appears, it will likely be extremely cautious.
Carry bear spray or a gun
If noise doesn’t work, now would be a good time bring out the pepper spray or fire a round from the gun you hopefully brought with you into the back country. If worst comes to worst, you can also shoot and kill the animal if it actually attacks you.
Let’s say you forget the bear spray and you don’t believe in guns and now you’ve found yourself in the jaws of a mountain lion. Like a grizzly bear, your best strategy at this point is to fight back with all your might. Several mountain lions have let go of their pray after the victim showed some strength and fought back.
Photo credit: Flickr