Ran into a mountain lion today

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by golfman44, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    Don't worry Old Man, we're both safe around mountain lions....they won't eat carrion. Our time is better spent looking out for vultures and broken hips.
     
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  2. JayB

    JayB Active Member

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    Serious question: how do you know this? That's not meant to be a hostile question - I'm just curious since all I know comes from news reports and an a bit of a scare I had in the woods ~20 years ago.

    As far as the reports go, it sure seems like there's enough full grown men showing up in the attack-stories to suggest that they will and have attacked full-grown men, and the size/speed/strength of the prey that they take down suggests that they have a pretty good innate capacity to make "kill-or-leave-alone" calculations on the fly.

    In my own case, I had an absolutely horrifying experience where I felt like I was being followed while walking alone through the woods in Southern Oregon under a full moon...which eventually turned into an "I'm absolutely being followed....and it's something methodical and relentless that seems to pause whenever I turn around..and whatever bit of the animal I saw creeping under the bush a ways back, illuminated by that shard of moonlight that passed through the canopy sure looked like the forearm and shoulder of a huge-ass tan housecat...."

    Thankfully I never actually got a good look at it since this all went down within about 100 feet of a road, and started backing up the trail when I heard a logging-truck coming, then made a break for it and hauled ass across the road when I figured I'd be able make it within a whisker of being killed by the truck, but whatever was following me would be reluctant to follow. In hindsight, the odds of getting "eaten" by the grill on the truck were several orders of magnitude higher than whatever was back in the woods, but I was way past responding to anything but instinct and reflexes at that point.

    I also remember thinking "He's laying on the horn - awesome!" as I was bolting through his high-beams, and wondering, shortly thereafter - what he thought of the teenager fully decked out in fly-fishing paraphernalia - rod in hand - exploding out of the blackness, flailing across the road, and diving into the drainage ditch on the other side. Whatever it was, he didn't bother stopping to tell me.
     
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  3. Patrick Allen

    Patrick Allen Active Member

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    What are you talking about Fatty foods rock
     
  4. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    Statistically, mountain lion attacks are extremely rare, and most of the victims have been children.

    Risk is relative. Humans tend to focus on exotic risks (wolf, mountain lion, shark attacks, etc.) and minimize the far more probable mortal risks...like coronary disease, cancer, automobile accidents ...mishaps that occur every day to vast numbers of people.

    Even if you spend a great deal of time in the woods, you're far more likely to die driving there, or in a nursing home.
     
  5. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    Unlike you, young mountain lions are not habituated to such fare as McRib sandwiches and Happy Meals.
     
  6. Patrick Allen

    Patrick Allen Active Member

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    It's all about pizza and beer for me. Can't stand MacDonalds
     
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  7. underachiever

    underachiever !

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    Because in the tens of millions of people who wandered around in mountain lion country over the last 10 years the number of reported attacks can probably be counted on two hands. No doubt the experience you had was frightening but that mountain lion likely had the opportunity to take you out before you were even aware it was around. It's like worrying about a plane crash, only more unlikely.
     
  8. Thomas Mitchell

    Thomas Mitchell Active Member

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  9. mtskibum16

    mtskibum16 Active Member

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    I'm not saying it's that likely, but you made it sound like there is nothing to worry about because we're big tough men. You just said you're armed in the woods - that right there shows a precaution you take to stay safe from whatever. You are alert, confident, and pay attention to your surroundings. All I'm saying is that a mountain lion offers plenty to fear and people should pay attention and be sensitive to that, not that they should be afraid to go in the woods.

    While actual mountain lion attacks might not be super high, I know a lot of people who have had very scary close encounters. My guess is there are a lot of cases where attacks are narrowly avoided.
     
  10. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    I think the answer to JayB's question lies in some of the contradictions found in this thread.

    If, in fact, we are potentially easy prey by mt lions, but virtually never are attacked (as statistics seem to show, with increasing interactions between humans and lions in recent decades), they must simply not think of humans as prey.

    They can't possibly know how we 'taste' for the same reason.
    Predator/prey relationships evolve over many generations. Lions prey on deer and elk, primarily, because that is what they have evolved to prey upon.

    In recent decades, mt. lions have been hunted nearly to extinction by humans, and even now, with reduced hunting pressure, any lion that runs afoul of humans, usually is hunted down and killed, so there is little selection acting to promote humans as prey of mt. lions. If anything, lions probably behave more like prey, carefully keeping an eye on their predator (us), running away if confronted, and only attacking under very rare circumstances, some of which are likely to represent predatory attacks and others self-defense.

    D
     
  11. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Since they quit hunting them with dogs, there are a lot more showing up in the wilds. Most fly fishers always try to get way out in the woods to be away from the crowds, so naturally you are going to see more of them.

    After they quit hunting bears by baiting them, I got used to seeing more of them in the woods of Washington State. I went many years trashing around in the woods there before I came upon any wild animals, before they quit that practice.
     
  12. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    The wildlife was here before the white man showed up. They were here first and we invaded their way of life. The larger predators have a reason to hold a grudge against humans more than they actually do.

    When I'm in the forest, I consider myself in the living room of the wildlife and have the highest respect for their home. I'm the one barging into their living space.
     
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  13. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    I'm with GAT.

    But, if paranoia in the woods becomes an obsession for any of us "outdoorsmen", here's a really cool instruction sheet on a do it yourself beer bottle cap rear view mirror. Now you'll know what's lurking in your tracks waiting for just the right moment before it attacks you;

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Beer-view-mirror/
     
  14. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

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    ?
     
  15. ellis

    ellis New Member

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    Krusty, you called my near catnip friend "ungainly clueless doofus", did you? Well now....you HAVE met him haven't you?
     
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  16. JayB

    JayB Active Member

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    I think it's reasonable to assume that mountain lions will preferentially attack small humans over large humans, but I'm not sure it's reasonable to assume that if you're an average sized man or larger that you should presume that your stature will necessarily prevent a mountain lion from attacking you.

    I spent ~10 years or so doing a ton of technical rock, ice, and alpine climbing and still do a bit of all of the above occasionally, and still do a fair bit of whitewater kayaking, backcountry skiing in avy terrain, etc, etc, so I've had a chance to think about statistical representations of risk versus actual risk quite a bit. If I ever heard a potential climbing partner repeat the line that driving to the base of the mountain was the most dangerous part of climbing I immediately crossed them off of the list of people that I'd climb anything serious with on that basis alone.

    The first obvious conclusion I came to regarding real risks and how to respond to them was that you have to factor in the number of man-hours that people actually spend doing stuff to make meaningful comparisons about how dangerous they are. Not many people die base-jumping every year, but I'd wager that your risk of dieing in an average minute spent base jumping is at least a billion times higher than a minute spent driving. The second is that it's probably a big mistake to dismiss the signals that your senses, intuitions, and experience are sending you about risks that you're actually encountering in-person, in real-time, because there are a bunch of statistics that confirm they don't kill many people each year.

    I'm all for trying to keep things in perspective, but once there's tangible evidence that a mountain lion is nearby I'm not sure assuming that they won't attack you because because there's not many reports of that happening is an approach that I'll be adopting, but then again I'm a guy who almost got killed by a semi-truck while running away from what could have been the world's stealthiest golden retriever or a semi-tame deer or something....
     
  17. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Your best bet is to move to the middle of a large city and stay there.... :) (oh wait, I forgot, a ton more humans are killed by other humans in cities than by the wildlife in the wilds... still, everyone get the hell off my rivers, lakes and out of my forests because they are damned dangerous and I should be the only one stupid enough to venture out there :D)
     
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  18. FinLuver

    FinLuver Active Member

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    Sounds good to me...but I thought that was "MY" river!! :p
     
  19. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    Speaking of mountain climbing risks; in my younger years I did a fair amount of climbing in the Washington Cascades, and Canadian Rockies, and I always crossed off my list of continuing climbing partners those who were slow (nothing like spending a inordinate amount of time traversing below a tottering serac or a face randomly spitting loose rocks).....or those who went through the ritual of digging a snow pit during questionable avalanche conditions but ALWAYS wanted to start an ascent despite every indication the slopes were unstable...mainly because they'd driven so far so climb.

    I should add that while I personally know (knew?) quite a few people who died climbing, lots in car wrecks (including my father), a bunch of old motorcycle riding partners, several to accidental gunshots, and a few in industrial/construction accidents...but not a one to mountain lion attacks (not even via the legendary 'friend of a friend'). In fact, I only knew one man who died in any kind of animal attack....one of his cows killed him when she was birthing a calf.

    So I'm putting the likelihood of cougar attack as slightly higher than a fatal sasquatch attack, and keeping a wary eye out for pregnant open range heifers.

    In fact, these guys terrified me on a recent visit to Black Lake...look at the menacing stare.

    image.jpg
     
  20. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I believe that those are the females of the species. All they want to do is eat and have babies. Those things are all over the back 40 in the summer time.
     

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