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Mountain lions near Leadville
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Oct 2, 2016
Hey,

This is a warning to those out that way, especially if you go out to Mt Massive. Yesterday evening I had an encounter with a fairly good sized cougar on the way down from Mt massive. I had to throw rocks at it and it was following me for a good 20-30 minutes at dusk. I called forest service and the sherrifs office. Just be careful out there, I guess they are becoming pretty brazen and really testing the boundaries in that neck of the woods. Be extra careful if you are going solo, as I was. Stay woke.
Dirt Squirrel
From Golden , co
Joined Mar 16, 2015
26 points
Oct 2, 2016
Yowza. Which trail?

This is a huge bummer for one whose frequent practice entails scooting down from Massive at dusk.
Rob Dillon
Joined Mar 22, 2002
1,041 points
Oct 2, 2016
I never ran into any while I lived up there but it was always on my mind when I would go on solo runs or ski jaunts. Definitely pretty spooky though, glad your OK! Zak Munro
From VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
Joined Sep 30, 2012
272 points
Oct 2, 2016
It's the one coming out of the parking lot from the mt massive trailhead. It was terrifying. Dirt Squirrel
From Golden , co
Joined Mar 16, 2015
26 points
Oct 2, 2016
Halfmoon. Yikes. Rob Dillon
Joined Mar 22, 2002
1,041 points
Oct 2, 2016
They've probably been watching us for years, we just didn't see them! Cheyenne Chaffee
From North Conway, NH
Joined Aug 23, 2009
68 points
Oct 2, 2016
PLEASE don't freak out! These animals have declined in population because of excessive fear-mongering. "Oh, look. there's a mountain lion, let's shoot it." If this animal had wanted to attack you it would have long before the 20-minute mark. Likely just curious, as cats are in general. You did everything right except for calling the Forest Service and the Sheriff's office. These departments are gun-happy and won't take proper steps to take a less-deadly approach. Martha Perantoni
From Evergreen, CO
Joined Jan 28, 2006
16 points
Oct 2, 2016
Martha, they referred me to the wildlife control people. Their take was "I hope you learned a lesson".
And yes I learned, you can't play in the woods at night here. If I go solo anywhere like that again, animal hot sauce. The gentleman on the phone seemed less than worried about it. Again, the encounter was only really scary because of it being night and I caught the animal following me out. And another point is this, this year alone a lady and her child were attacked by two mountain lions and she pried the jaws off of her child's head near aspen. In another incident, a mountain lion entered a home when it heard a crying child. And lastly, since game herds are becoming smaller, there is suspicion that predatory levels aren't as low as we think. Especially in areas like Leadville, where according to news reports, has a bit of a problem with sightings in and around town.

Anywho, just telling people to be aware of your surroundings and don't freak out if you see one, just be bigger and meaner than it and that usually will do the trick.
Dirt Squirrel
From Golden , co
Joined Mar 16, 2015
26 points
Oct 2, 2016
Dirt Squirrel wrote:
Yesterday evening I had an encounter with a fairly good sized cougar on the way down from Mt massive.


Was she wearing a North face softshell and an REI Flash 18 pack?
Fritz N.
From Durango, CO
Joined Mar 14, 2012
101 points
Oct 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Miniholland
Martha Perantoni wrote:
PLEASE don't freak out! These animals have declined in population because of excessive fear-mongering. "Oh, look. there's a mountain lion, let's shoot it." If this animal had wanted to attack you it would have long before the 20-minute mark. Likely just curious, as cats are in general. You did everything right except for calling the Forest Service and the Sheriff's office. These departments are gun-happy and won't take proper steps to take a less-deadly approach.


I'm some what with you Martha. dont want to hear stories about people being attacked but I especially am tired of hearing stories about lions being hunted and killed just because they were seen. The latter happening much more frequent.
JoeGaribay
From Ventura, Ca
Joined Apr 26, 2014
66 points
Oct 2, 2016
Fritz N. wrote:
Was she wearing a North face softshell and an REI Flash 18 pack?


I shoulda threw my wedding ring at it... I hear Cougars hate those things!
Dirt Squirrel
From Golden , co
Joined Mar 16, 2015
26 points
Oct 3, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Tough Mantle Problem.  Haven't sent yet...
So Martha you're cool with a mountain lion stalking you for 20 minutes? Because I'd be freaked the fuck out. Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
Joined Feb 2, 2009
139 points
Oct 3, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: avocado gully
Martha Perantoni wrote:
PLEASE don't freak out! These animals have declined in population because of excessive fear-mongering. "Oh, look. there's a mountain lion, let's shoot it." If this animal had wanted to attack you it would have long before the 20-minute mark. Likely just curious, as cats are in general.


This lengthy stalking behavior is actually the cat getting to know it's prey. If a cat let's you see them or follows you for a lengthy amount of time an attack is much, much more likely. If you see them you need to be loud and aggressive. If you're alone in a know area of cats exhibiting this behavior, you should be carrying bear spray. It seem to me pretty important to make authorities and trail users alert to this dangerous behavior.
jon weekley
From Denver, Co
Joined May 22, 2010
71 points
Oct 4, 2016
I've a few days to think about my encounter and to those who are saying "don't hurt that beautiful animal" I agree. He was doing his cat self... BUT, like the great philosophizer Mike Tyson once said "everybody has a plan until they are punched in the face". So, just think about that. Wanna get "punched in the face by a cougar"? Then be completely unaware of your surroundings, play at night, etc... But you should probably be aggressive and mean and big with those guys if you do encounter one and it's not really affected by your presence. It's about becoming an "inconvenient meal" for them. And whatever you do, don't run. Dirt Squirrel
From Golden , co
Joined Mar 16, 2015
26 points
Oct 4, 2016
Dirt, stop being a pussy. ;-) Tomaz
From Lakewood, Colorado
Joined Apr 15, 2008
6 points
Oct 5, 2016
This is absolutely terrifying. I spend a lot of time running alone at dusk/night. Granted it is in the front range, but it is good to always be aware of your surroundings.

Anyone have suggestions for keeping lions away? Do you need to make a lot of noise to keep lions away from you? Or are they pretty much always aware that you are cruising through?

Glad you are OK DirtSquirrel
trice
Joined Mar 9, 2014
20 points
Oct 5, 2016
trice wrote:
This is absolutely terrifying. I spend a lot of time running alone at dusk/night. Granted it is in the front range, but it is good to always be aware of your surroundings. Anyone have suggestions for keeping lions away? Do you need to make a lot of noise to keep lions away from you? Or are they pretty much always aware that you are cruising through? Glad you are OK DirtSquirrel


I believe that hiking poles could be a deterrent. The cat could perceive you as being more formidable. Also, take bear spray in a holster.

However, if a Cougar does attack, there will be much less warning than with a bear attack. When I am hiking alone, I think three dimensionally and turn around occasionally in wooded sections to look behind me and look up into trees. Also, Mountain Lions don't hibernate.
KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Joined Mar 22, 2006
85 points
Oct 5, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Bocan
Fritz N. wrote:
Was she wearing a North face softshell and an REI Flash 18 pack?


I've seen that one...she's quite brazen at this time of year.

I was just up in Tennessee pass over the weekend and camp with a handful of cougars, but alas I wasn't attacked by any. My roommate was though.

Check out this video of some rangers getting a cougar out of a trap. Balls of steel I tell you.

amazingpandph.com/wild-cougar-...
Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Joined Feb 15, 2006
1,377 points
Oct 5, 2016

Troubleshoot This: Stalked by a Cougar


backpacker.com/survival/troubl...

>> Assess “Most attacks are surprises, so often there’s no chance to be proactive,” warns biologist Rick Hopkins. Cats are most active from dusk to dawn, and they follow their prey. If you’re in deer or elk territory, stay especially alert. If you see a mountain lion and it’s hissing, crouching, or flattening its ears, it may be preparing to pounce.

>> Make space Attacks are most likely in rocky and brushy terrain, where cats can stay hidden. If you corner one, slowly back away to give it an escape route. If you see cubs, move into open terrain.

>> Stand your ground Cougars are not usually aggressive, so they’ll likely leave you alone if you don’t run, but quick movements may trigger predatory instincts.

>> Act large Wave your arms or poles, shout, and throw stones or sticks (if you can grab them without crouching or turning your back).

>> Fight back If a cougar lunges, use anything you have (bear spray, knives, sticks) to defend against the attack or to strike it (aim for the eyes and nose). Keep fighting.

Gut check “If cougars saw people as food, there’d be hundreds of attacks a year instead of one or two. Don’t act like prey, and you won’t be a victim.” —Rick Hopkins

Safety in Numbers Mountain lion attacks on multiple hikers are very rare; walk with a friend.

======================

Mountain Lion Safety


nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/mtn...

A glimpse of one of these magnificent cats would be a vacation highlight, but you need to take precautions to protect you and your children from an accidental encounter.

  • Don’t hike alone.
  • Make noise to avoid surprising a lion and keep children close to you at all times.
  • If you do encounter a lion, do not run. Talk calmly, avert your gaze, stand tall, and back away. Unlike with bears, if attack seems imminent, act aggressively. Do not crouch and do not turn away. Lions may be scared away by being struck with rocks or sticks, or by being kicked or hit.

Lions are primarily nocturnal, but they have attacked in broad daylight. They rarely prey on humans, but such behavior occasionally does occur. Children and small adults are particularly vulnerable. Report all mountain lion encounters immediately!
Kent Richards
Joined Jan 10, 2009
81 points
Oct 5, 2016
How to defend against a stalking Cougar:

returnofkings.com/63256/5-thin...
Redyns
Joined Apr 11, 2011
16 points
Administrator
Oct 6, 2016
Rob Gordon wrote:
So Martha you're cool with a mountain lion stalking you for 20 minutes? Because I'd be freaked the fuck out.


This is paranoia. Cougars don't "stalk". They conceal themselves, usually in a high place (boulder next to the trail) and then jump down. If the cat is actually hunting you, you'll never see it until it's too late.
John Byrnes
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Dec 11, 2007
451 points
Administrator
Oct 6, 2016
Dirt Squirrel wrote:
Martha, they referred me to the wildlife control people. Their take was "I hope you learned a lesson". And yes I learned, you can't play in the woods at night here. If I go solo anywhere like that again, animal hot sauce. The gentleman on the phone seemed less than worried about it. Again, the encounter was only really scary because of it being night and I caught the animal following me out. And another point is this, this year alone a lady and her child were attacked by two mountain lions and she pried the jaws off of her child's head near aspen. In another incident, a mountain lion entered a home when it heard a crying child. And lastly, since game herds are becoming smaller, there is suspicion that predatory levels aren't as low as we think. Especially in areas like Leadville, where according to news reports, has a bit of a problem with sightings in and around town. Anywho, just telling people to be aware of your surroundings and don't freak out if you see one, just be bigger and meaner than it and that usually will do the trick.


You actually BELIEVE what you hear via the Media? Any cougar encounter is an unmissable opportunity to look directly into the camera and spread paranoia. Do you actually believe a mother "pried the jaws off her child's head"?? Not only is it physically impossible (even in humans the jaw muscles are the strongest in the body) but she'd have to CATCH it first! And then the cat isn't gonna claw the shit out of her? NFW.

Not only does the media deal in hyperbole, but witnesses do too.

I remember about 10 years ago a media story about a man who was "viciously attacked and killed" by a cat outside of Idaho Springs. The Media was all over it. I happened to have a friend who grew up in I.S.

The REAL story is that this 17-year-old-boy, with all his teen-age hubris, was a runner and ran up a certain trail regularly. He often saw a cat and taunted it every time, bragging to his friends about poking it with a stick. This went on for month or so until the cat tired of this asshole and killed him to get some peace and quiet.

If you saw a cat, be happy. You have an experience that few people have; not because they didn't live to tell but because even though cats in CO are quite plentiful, they are smart and generally don't let you see them. Children, of course, can't be left alone.

Oh, and where did you get the information that "game herds are becoming smaller"?
John Byrnes
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Dec 11, 2007
451 points
Oct 6, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Function over fashion.  My newest pair of climbing...
John Byrnes wrote:
This is paranoia. Cougars don't "stalk". They conceal themselves, usually in a high place (boulder next to the trail) and then jump down. If the cat is actually hunting you, you'll never see it until it's too late.


Considering myself and Lee Smith were stalked by a cougar while night skiing near Jones Pass, I'm going to disagree with you here. Once we finally stopped, the cougar made a couple of advances at us that left us waving our skis at it and doing whatever we could to scare it away. Stalk and ambush. Its what they do.

I called DOW the next day and will continue to take that action with them or the appropriate land manager if it happens again.

When has a mountain lion in the back country been killed just for being seen by any of these agencies? Educate me because I am not aware of a single situation around here.

But like dirt says, you definitely want to be aggressive and mean when you see one coming at you.

Holy shit.
Legs Magillicutty
From Littleton
Joined May 28, 2002
839 points
Oct 6, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: On the Grand.
I definitely start moving my neck a lot when it starts to get dark and I'm alone anywhere in the hills. The worst part is that your mind can play tricks on you, so you think you see or hear something. If they can smell fear, we probably reek.

Sure, normal mountain lion behavioral patterns would mean that you wouldn't know you were being hunted until it was on your back trying to snap your neck with it's canines. However, we know that animal behaviors are becoming less "normal" as they're forced to adapt to new environmental changes.

Honestly, it sounds like it was stalking the OP, and that maybe it thought that OP wouldn't put up much of a fight so it wouldn't have to expend additional energy by stealthily concealing its movements (no offense meant). Who knows though, which is why you assume the worst and do whatever you can to make it clear that you will not be taken easily.

Agreed, we shouldn't be offing them just because they become more visible, but we will have to figure something out if they start learning that humans are pretty easy prey. Maybe we just need to all start bringing spray bottles and making 'pssst' noises when we see them misbehaving (cat owner joke). Or a laser pointer to distract them...(insert laser sight grip gun reference here).
Tony T.
From Denver, CO
Joined Jul 29, 2009
71 points
Oct 6, 2016
John Byrnes wrote:
You actually BELIEVE what you hear via the Media? Any cougar encounter is an unmissable opportunity to look directly into the camera and spread paranoia. Do you actually believe a mother "pried the jaws off her child's head"?? Not only is it physically impossible (even in humans the jaw muscles are the strongest in the body) but she'd have to CATCH it first! And then the cat isn't gonna claw the shit out of her? NFW. Not only does the media deal in hyperbole, but witnesses do too. I remember about 10 years ago a media story about a man who was "viciously attacked and killed" by a cat outside of Idaho Springs. The Media was all over it. I happened to have a friend who grew up in I.S. The REAL story is that this 17-year-old-boy, with all his teen-age hubris, was a runner and ran up a certain trail regularly. He often saw a cat and taunted it every time, bragging to his friends about poking it with a stick. This went on for month or so until the cat tired of this asshole and killed him to get some peace and quiet. If you saw a cat, be happy. You have an experience that few people have; not because they didn't live to tell but because even though cats in CO are quite plentiful, they are smart and generally don't let you see them. Children, of course, can't be left alone. Oh, and where did you get the information that "game herds are becoming smaller"?


John, Here's a reliable news source you might believe. It's called Faux news.
foxnews.com/us/2016/06/21/colo...

In the off chance you want to see what the "crazies" also have to say:
cnn.com/2016/06/18/us/colorado...

I think she did get clawed up. It also appears as though they were Juvenile cats.
As far as "Prying open" that might be hyperbole... but Adrenaline can cause an increase in strength called "hysterical strength". Imagine the teenage girl lifting a car up off her dad as he's pinned beneath it and you get the idea. Also I was followed for a good distance catching reflections of it's eyes from bushes as I shined my light up hill and continued to throw rocks? I bet if I turned around and ran, I might be typing this from the safety of the ICU. What would you call that behavior at night? Stalking? I really just tried to warn people about the presence of these animals and what I did that worked (correct actions). If you want to get into a tit for tat about stalking vs. not stalking, etc... go ask the damn cat what he was thinking. Jesus.
Dirt Squirrel
From Golden , co
Joined Mar 16, 2015
26 points
Oct 6, 2016
Regarding stalking vs not stalking, there's plenty of "official-like" ;-) literature on the web -- including some national park websites -- that claims mountain lions do stalk prey. In spite of the park service's shortcomings, I'd expect them to have biologists who are up on this kind of thing.

Big Bend National Park website.

Mountain lions have the largest hind legs in the cat family which allows them to stalk prey then attack with short bursts of speed and great leaping ability. ... Preferring habitat with dense brush, trees, and rocky ledges, mountain lions can ambush as well as stalk.

Rocky Mountain National Park website

Mountain lions can sprint to chase down prey over short distances, but they are better built for the ambush. They stalk prey quietly through trees, boulders or other covered areas. They move until they reach a striking distance of 30 feet or less, and leap on to their target's back with a suffocating neck bite.
Kent Richards
Joined Jan 10, 2009
81 points


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