Ran into a mountain lion today

JayB

Active Member
#62
Unless you're a small child, or tiny woman, there's nothing to fear about mountain lions. You've all had them follow you, out of feline curiousity, but were completely unaware. The cat knew all you big lugs were more trouble than you're worth, and simply couldn't believe that a large animal would move through the woods like ungainly clueless doofus.
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.
 

Krusty

Active Member
#64
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.
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.
 
#67
Serious question: how do you know this?
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.
 
#69
I dunno...I'm always armed, spent the last half century wandering around in cat country, and my only unpleasant run-ins have been with humans. But I guess I just don't have the right attitude.
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.
 
#70
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
 

Old Man

Just an Old Man
#71
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.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#72
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.
 

Greg Armstrong

OldRodsHaveMoreFun
#73
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.
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/