Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:04 pm

Jim Davies wrote:According to this, there are probably 3-7 thousand mountain lions in the state, in 58,000 square miles of habitat, so it's closer to one per 10 square miles statewide.

I personally doubt it's that high. And the population, at least around here, based on the sounds at night and the tracks during the day, is evaporating. :(

The Colorado Wildlife Commission appears unwilling to protect female mountain lions or significantly reduce overall hunting quotas.

This really needs to change.

What am I missing? They re-introduce wolves, but can't seem to protect the indigenous cats?
And then they talk about closing an entire section of land because of some fish of questionable genetics??

Jefferson Airplane had it right: "You are the Crown of Creation. And you got nowhere to go."

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby Sugar Madison » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:49 pm

I've seen 5 in 9 years, so I guess I'm lucky.

The most spectacular was a lion that dragged a full-sized mule deer (still alive) across the road in front of my car, on the road Cottonwood lake. It was around 10 pm and I was returning to the campground up there. Rounded a corner as the lion dragged the deer into the road. It proceeded to bite and hold it's neck for several minutes (choking it, as Tory said) before my car finally scared it away. The deer was completely limp in the road. We turned off the car and headlights, in the hope it would return. After a few minutes we turned the lights back on, and to our surprise, the deer was standing up. It stood there, very shaky, for a moment, then limped off, then walked, then ran into the woods. We went over to the attack site to see the damage: NO blood anywhere, but the deer had shed TONS of it's hair. Not sure if that was some type of fear response or what, but it was interesting.

My take away from watching that: the kill is *not* fast. At all. Fight back! The deer didn't fight *at all*... it had totally given up. Poke the damn thing in the eyes, scream, kick, stab it with a stick, shoot it, shed all your back hair, whatever. And hope for a car to come. :-D

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby susanjoypaul » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:12 am

Sugar Madison wrote:And hope for a car to come. :-D

And *really* hope the car doesn't turn its headlights off to lure the cat back out!

I've seen a lot of animal tracks, especially bear and mountain lion, but I have never seen a mountain lion in the wild. And I do a lot of long, quiet, solo hikes. Honestly, I never worry about them, because I know the odds of being attacked are so low, and I also know that they are so much faster than I am, so moving in one direction or the other probably won't make any difference if they're hungry and bent on attack. I just continue on. If I *was* attacked it sure seems that fighting back (as mentioned in the previous post) would be the best option for survival.

I remember reading a story about a grizzly bear attack a couple of years ago, and the writer noted that you should carry pepper spray in the wild "just in case," but you need to have it at the ready so you can grab it and use it instantly - not have to rummage around in your pack for it, or unclip it from something. Maybe a small can of the stuff on a retractable cord on your shoulder strap would be a good option. If I ever decide to start worrying about it (and I might after reading this thread) maybe that's what I'll do. And get a whistle to go with it.

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby Waggs » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:57 am

Gloves are optional. Mittens mandatory - S. Gladbach

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby powhound » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:55 pm

Like other people, I've never seen a mountain lion in almost thirty years of hiking in Colorado. But I am pretty sure they have been watching me. Twice in the last two years I have been hiking with my dog and had the same situation occur. We have come across a recent kill. The first time it was a dismembered deer and the second being the unlucky critter pictured below. I believe it is a young gray fox.

My dog rarely misses an opportunity to investigate and/or roll in anything smelly and disgusting that he comes across in the wild. However, in both these instances he was disinterested in the dead animal. Instead he was sniffing the ground in the area, and was especially interested in sticking his nose up and catching a scent in the air. This led me to think the attacker (lion/coyote/bobcat?) heard our approach, left the scene, and was perhaps watching us from nearby.

Anyway, I was wondering if any of you mountain lion experts could give me your opinion as to whether this one looks like a lion kill. Reading this thread, I learned two things that could indicate it was. The fox appears to have been attacked at the back of the neck. Also there are a few sticks over it, as if the cat was just beginning to cover it.

About 15 feet away, in the mud next to a shallow pool in a stream, there were many tracks. Most had claws, so I assume they were canine. This one, pictured below, was without claws and was about 3 inches across. I looked at some examples of tracks online, but for my untrained eye it is hard to tell.

Also, I'll ask the original OP question for this thread again. What would you do? Was I (adult man with a 75 pound dog) in any danger? Are lions (if it was) protective of their kill? Was I foolish to hang out and photograph the "crime" scene ... or should I have immediately retreated?
Gray fox.JPG
Gray fox.JPG (126.19 KiB) Viewed 768 times
Tracks.JPG (50.06 KiB) Viewed 768 times

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby RxMike » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:43 pm

Coyote.Lions.jpg (142.68 KiB) Viewed 732 times

Saw this on the National Elk Refuge website. Thought it was so cool! A pack of coyotes chased a couple of young mountain lions up a fence.
The rest of the pics can be found at:

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby jaymz » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:22 pm

I'm no expert, but a quick glance at my tracks guide tells me that looks more like a coyote. The track in your photo looks to be in pretty wet mud, so it's hard to compare. But with a coyote, the toes are more comparable in size to the heel than with a lion, whose toes are smaller (you could probably fit 3-4 lion's toes in its heel print, but only 2 coyote toes in its heel print).
I'll gladly stand corrected by those more in the know, though!

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby DaveSwink » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:00 am

Just an opinion about a muddy print, but I agree that it looks like a coyote track. The dead fox looks like it has been dead a while but it does not look partially eaten so it is likely not a mountain lion kill. I do get very nervous whenever I come onto carrion. I look around hastily and back well away. :shock:

Very cool pics of the young mountain lions cornered by the coyotes. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby PaliKona » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:05 pm

General Mtn lion question: do they generally stay in one area? The reason I ask is someone I know saw one while hiking at Apex a few days ago. Is it likely it's still around?

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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby justiner » Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:18 pm

I live with two people who work for OSMP building trails. They come back with lots of interesting stories. Yesterday's was about seeing a Bobcat pounce on its prey, then eat it in four bites.

It was a mouse.
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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby JenGa » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:56 pm

PaliKona wrote:General Mtn lion question: do they generally stay in one area? The reason I ask is someone I know saw one while hiking at Apex a few days ago. Is it likely it's still around?


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Re: Mountain Lion Question - What would you do?

Postby onebyone » Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:09 pm

To answer your question, yes and no. I have seen about 20+ mtn lions in the wild and have tracked them hundreds of times. So even tracking them in fresh snow, a sighting is still very rare, like a 5% chance.
I have noticed the cats, particularly females, will stay in the same area for a number of months, then seem to disappear. Do they look for new territory, a mate, or flee an aggressive male or get killed is anybody's guess. Probably all the above. I have found that there is truly no real predictable pattern. About 1/3 of my sightings were right smack in the middle of the day and I've seen them hunting in the middle of the day as well. There are a lot in Boulder County. The DOW allows hunting solely to increase deer and elk populations. This is not to preserve deer populations, but to preserve the hunting industry. I'm not against hunting. However, I'm against using dogs to tree lions, which are then blown away sitting in a tree. But like I said, it's all about the money.


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