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Topic: Hiker describes hour long stare-down with, ...mountain lion< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 10:01 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hiker Describes Hour-long Stare Down with Mountain Lion

by Outdoor Hub Reporters on February 21, 2013

A relaxing hike quickly took a turn for the worse when Dave Nash was confronted by a mountain lion last week.

The meeting was unexpected. The trail Nash favors near his Rocklin, California home isn’t usually known for cougar sightings, and he never felt threatened before. According to ABC News10, the only precaution he took was a flashlight that had a whistle attachment, something Nash grabbed on a whim. It may have very well saved his life.

Read more here:

http://www.outdoorhub.com/news....in-lion


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 11:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Bummer they had to put the lion down....I wonder if the guy could have backed away or if the lion really was stalking him...hm....

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 11:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sad ending to a mt. lion who developed predatory actions towards humans.  Article says a F&G type shot the animal as it prepared to pounce on him.

I read a similar article in Arizona mag, several years ago now, with a happier ending and the standoff only lasted a few minutes, not in excess of 45.  That incident involved someone more familiar with mt. lions.  

All things considered, what an experience to have for the rest of your life?  Face to face with a top of the chain predator.  Not much could beat that, even with the fear thing.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 12:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In 2002 I was driving from San Francisco to Denver the end of May and had a lion stalking around me cowboy camping with my jeep. I finally had to get some sleep so I gave it a rock barrage and it left the area.

I'm surprised this female had no kittens and exercised this behavior with a grown man. How small was this guy?


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 12:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Regarding the OP, those are very unusual circumstances. They are interesting to read about, good to understand, but nothing much to be concerned about. Incidentally, what many people have confused with "stalking" has actually been merely the cat's curiosity. This case appears to have gone beyond that.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 12:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Pretty close to the mountains surrounding Tahoe, so wonder if it was a juvenile cat, or possible rabid?  Young mountain lions outside of California will even get into major Southwest suburbs and approach the inner city as local police usually need to put one down every couple years when they get trapped by traffic.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 1:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This encounter was interesting to me, as a very similar one was experienced by one of my former employees down in Cuyamaca State Park in San Diego County.  There the lion stalked him for about an hour, and backtracking didn't work.  My employee was about 5'10", thin build, and was carrying a day pack.  After trying to walk back down the trail away from the lion, he basically started going bezerk, throwing anything he could at the lion without bending over too much, and making a racket.  The lion finally left him.  

Yeah, I guess these encounters are rare, but the lion population has exploded in this part of the world, and I hear these stories a lot (probably because of my occupation).  I think a lot of the time the lions are fighting each other for territory and the food therein because I'm not sure there is enough anymore.  Anyway, lions are the main reason I stopped hiking alone in areas where they frequent.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 1:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Most animals developed a healthy fear of humans thanks to tens of thousands of years of continuous hunting.  Not a hunter myself, but I do wonder if the significant decrease in hunting over the last couple of decades have caused current generations of predatory animals to lose their fear for us?

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(Ben2World @ Mar. 06 2013, 1:32 pm)
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Most animals developed a healthy fear of humans thanks to tens of thousands of years of continuous hunting.  Not a hunter myself, but I do wonder if the significant decrease in hunting over the last couple of decades have caused current generations of predatory animals to lose their fear for us?

I think so Ben.  I can tell a huge difference in behavior between bears in the Smokey's and bears in the Cherokee.

Bears in the Cherokee get hunted for about 16 days a year.  Every time I come up on a bear in the Cherokee they run away as fast as they can.

Hunting does put the fear of humans in them IMO.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 2:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Cougars were extirpated or nearly so in many areas due to habitat loss and hunting.  There were bounties placed on cougars and many farmers, ranchers, and guides suplimented their income by hunting cougars.  Conservationists helped abolish these bounties and severely reduces or eliminated hunting of cougars.  Quietly the cougar population grew so that they outstripped their norman habitat and moved into closer contact with humans.  In the meantime, human sprawl has carried people deeper into cougar habitat.  This has invitably led to cougar/human conflicts as the article illustrates.

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(tarol @ Mar. 06 2013, 11:26 am)
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...  Anyway, lions are the main reason I stopped hiking alone in areas where they frequent.

Note to self: no trail-running in California mountains while wearing zebra-stripe Spandex.

Most articles I run into describe mountain bikers and trailrunners as most apt to trigger the big cat's predatory chase instincts.  Chase implies from behind however.  Sounds like the cat's in these instances faced off against humans out on a stroll (the law enforcement officer who took down the cat had a weapon but I doubt the cougar registered that as a threat).  Wonder if a big pack and trekking poles would make them more wary.  


(Ben2World @ Mar. 06 2013, 1:32 pm)
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Most animals developed a healthy fear of humans thanks to tens of thousands of years of continuous hunting.  Not a hunter myself, but I do wonder if the significant decrease in hunting over the last couple of decades have caused current generations of predatory animals to lose their fear for us?


Ah, but would an animal remember a weapon or just that humans have flashy, noisy things that go "bang"?  What is an animal's (especially but not exclusively) preception of "danger"?

The hunted animal is dead and doubt the cubs would survive much in the wild to propagate any sort of learned behavior.  I'm thinking avoidance is more instinctual which may be overruled by hunger temporarily; some biology PhD is going to need to produce a controlled experiment to get definite answers.

The avoidance you and GS speak of just may be due to diminished numbers.  Less predators/area = less chance of running into one.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 3:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(SW Mtn backpacker @ Mar. 06 2013, 11:59 am)
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(Ben2World @ Mar. 06 2013, 1:32 pm)
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Most animals developed a healthy fear of humans thanks to tens of thousands of years of continuous hunting.  Not a hunter myself, but I do wonder if the significant decrease in hunting over the last couple of decades have caused current generations of predatory animals to lose their fear for us?


Ah, but would an animal remember a weapon or just that humans have flashy, noisy things that go "bang"?  What is an animal's (especially but not exclusively) preception of "danger"?

The hunted animal is dead and doubt the cubs would survive much in the wild to propagate any sort of learned behavior.  I'm thinking avoidance is more instinctual which may be overruled by hunger temporarily; some biology PhD is going to need to produce a controlled experiment to get definite answers.

The avoidance you and GS speak of just may be due to diminished numbers.  Less predators/area = less chance of running into one.

Again, not that I really know, but I think when there is continuous hunting over generations -- adult animals will actively avoid humans and that gets passed on to the young -- along with knowledge re. choicer prey selection and requisite hunting skills.

Without hunting... adult animals wouldn't fear / actively avoid humans and would no longer pass that on to their young.  One can imagine an interim period where these adults wouldn't treat us a food either (because they themselves weren't taught by their parents).  But eventually, curiosity leads to contact -- and just like with tigers in India (where hunting is also forbidden) -- once the animals reacquire the experience of just how easy prey humans are -- that knowledge will be passed on...


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 3:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Not far from there, a runner was killed by a mountain lion in 1994.
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(hbfa @ Mar. 06 2013, 12:21 pm)
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Not far from there, a runner was killed by a mountain lion in 1994.

Yes, and putting it in proper perspective, imagine how relieved and happy we'd be here in LA if the last homicide was as far back as 1994!  But the reality is that we have murders here every friggin' day!  And yet, we still venture out onto the streets!

I never quite understand the fear some people have -- to the point of complete or near-complete avoidance because of a rare happenstance.  Do they also think themselves winners every time they buy a lottery ticket?  ???


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(SW Mtn backpacker @ Mar. 06 2013, 11:59 am)
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Ah, but would an animal remember a weapon or just that humans have flashy, noisy things that go "bang"?  What is an animal's (especially but not exclusively) preception of "danger"?

The hunted animal is dead and doubt the cubs would survive much in the wild to propagate any sort of learned behavior.  I'm thinking avoidance is more instinctual which may be overruled by hunger temporarily; some biology PhD is going to need to produce a controlled experiment to get definite answers.

The avoidance you and GS speak of just may be due to diminished numbers.  Less predators/area = less chance of running into one.

Just like humans, there are fearful/shy and bold/curious animals.  The bold/curious animals are the ones more likely to get killed by humans when there is any type of hunting. Without hunting, the bold/curious will not be selected out and thus more likely involved with human/cougar conflict.  This applies to bears, coyotes, wolves, raccoons, etc.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 4:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah saw that on the news the other day.   Hiking during day hours, I've always been more afraid of mountain lions than black bears.   Lions tend to occupy lower elevations below summer hiking elevations and are more shy.   A few years ago a photographer friend and I surprised two big cats that were less than ten feet away, above the McGee Creek Trailhead that made some news.     Locally the huge Henry Coe State Park has many dense gnarly oak and chaparral forests areas their good population easily hides in along with deer to prey on.   In the evening camping solo does creep me out there enough I'll bring along some flashing LEDs to set up around my camp in order to blink all night.  A lion might see the LEDs and wonder if it could be a sign little green men landed again.

My suspicion is only solo hikers really need to worry.   In my case with a usual big tripod in hand, I've hope that is also a strong deterent.  A reason those in such a situation may be wise to look about for large sticks.   And don't forget that cigaret lighter in your pocket capable of lighting the end of a big stick.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 6:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm certainly no expert on mountain lions, but I am thinking if the mountain lion wanted to eat that guy, there would not have been an hour-long stare down.

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(Ben2World @ Mar. 06 2013, 12:24 pm)
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(hbfa @ Mar. 06 2013, 12:21 pm)
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Not far from there, a runner was killed by a mountain lion in 1994.

Yes, and putting it in proper perspective, imagine how relieved and happy we'd be here in LA if the last homicide was as far back as 1994!  But the reality is that we have murders here every friggin' day!  And yet, we still venture out onto the streets!

I never quite understand the fear some people have -- to the point of complete or near-complete avoidance because of a rare happenstance.  Do they also think themselves winners every time they buy a lottery ticket?  ???

I don't see anyone here expressing fear or avoidance.

I only pointed out the previous occurrence because ironically, it's one of few deaths attributed to a mountain lion in California and it occurred just a few miles from this location.
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(Woodswoman @ Mar. 06 2013, 6:28 pm)
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I'm certainly no expert on mountain lions, but I am thinking if the mountain lion wanted to eat that guy, there would not have been an hour-long stare down.

Animals are unpredictable.  A small party backpacking in to a lake in the South San Juan Wilderess about 10 yrs ago.  About a day or so behind this party was a Serria club party coming in.  On the 3rd day they closed on the smaller party ahead of them and in the process scared off a mtn lion.  What the small party told me was the Serria club party could see the tracks off the cat off and on for three days following the small party.  

What was the cat thinking for those 3 days?  Was the cat just playing with the smaller party, or what if one of them wander off to take a dumb towards the cat?  would the cat's intentions change?  

Who can understand the ways of any animal?  Some of their behavior is predictable but  a lot of their behavior is still unpredictable and can go in any direction.  

In populated areas people are the priority and it is best to take the animal out and not take chances.


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(hbfa @ Mar. 06 2013, 4:05 pm)
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I don't see anyone here expressing fear or avoidance.

I only pointed out the previous occurrence because ironically, it's one of few deaths attributed to a mountain lion in California and it occurred just a few miles from this location.

Then you ought to reread an earlier post.   :;):


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(SW Mtn backpacker @ Mar. 06 2013, 2:59 pm)
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Ah, but would an animal remember a weapon or just that humans have flashy, noisy things that go "bang"?  What is an animal's (especially but not exclusively) preception of "danger"?

The hunted animal is dead and doubt the cubs would survive much in the wild to propagate any sort of learned behavior.  I'm thinking avoidance is more instinctual which may be overruled by hunger temporarily; some biology PhD is going to need to produce a controlled experiment to get definite answers.

The avoidance you and GS speak of just may be due to diminished numbers.  Less predators/area = less chance of running into one.

They intuitively know when human behavior poses a threat to them.  They do not have to witness a killing to understand that they are being hunted.

Consider populations of deer in areas that have a lot of human activity, but where the deer have not been hunted in years.  They will mill about in daylight.  You can even walk by relatively close without alarming them.  Start hunting and the entire herd will become nocturnal almost instantly.

However,  I don't think lack of fear causes human confrontation with lions as much as too many lions.  As more lions compete for limited prey, humans can pose an easy meal.  A hungry lion is willing to take greater risks than a well fed lion.  Consider CA where hunting lions has been prohibited for non-biological reasons.  There are too many, and attacks on humans have increased vastly.
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(Ben2World @ Mar. 06 2013, 5:00 pm)
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(hbfa @ Mar. 06 2013, 4:05 pm)
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I don't see anyone here expressing fear or avoidance.

I only pointed out the previous occurrence because ironically, it's one of few deaths attributed to a mountain lion in California and it occurred just a few miles from this location.

Then you ought to reread an earlier post.   :;):

If you're referring to Dave's comments, perhaps I interpreted them differently than you did.  I know from many of his past posts that he has spent a lot of time in the backcountry.  Not the actions of someone looking to avoid mountain lions.  

I took his comments in the context of a greater respect for a mountain lion than a black bear - and I would agree with him on that.  

If I remember correctly, I believe Dave even took the opportunity to photograph a couple mountain lions in McGee Canyon a few years back.  Again, not the actions of someone squirming in fear.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 9:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No, not Dave either.

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(Ben2World @ Mar. 06 2013, 6:01 pm)
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No, not Dave either.

Well, then I missed it.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 9:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are some times and places in LA which a person is probably more likely to encounter muggers and such, just as there are times and places a person is more likely to encounter a cougar in the wild.  When I lived in the Detroit are, the downtown Reneisance Center was just about the safest area in the entire nation.  But not far from there, it could get very dangerous, especially after dark.  That someone would take appropriate precautions when in known cougar areas isn't a matter of surrendering to unreasonable fears, it's called being prudent. It is also what is is advised by many governmental agencies.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 9:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sure, Rumi, to take appropriate precautions.  That I agree.

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Well the only person I can see who has stated she has changed her hiking is Tarol, saying "lions are the main reason I stopped hiking alone in areas where they frequent."  That is exactly the advice given by many government agencies, including the one I cited.  

If not Tarol, then who are you referencing?

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 10:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Government agencies, pffftt!  They warn about real trouble spots alright, but entire realms too.  Bureaucrats get into trouble for failure to warn.  But few lose their jobs for casting too wide.  And so they do.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 06 2013, 11:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well who were you meaning in this thread in posts 20 and 23?  Do you think Tarol is falling prey to unreasonable fear by changing her hiking practices as she stated?  Do you think the advice to hike in groups in cougar territory is unwarranted?  What other advice do they give which is unwarranted?

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(RumiDude @ Mar. 06 2013, 8:13 pm)
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Well who were you meaning in this thread in posts 20 and 23?  Do you think Tarol is falling prey to unreasonable fear by changing her hiking practices as she stated?  Do you think the advice to hike in groups in cougar territory is unwarranted?  What other advice do they give which is unwarranted?

Rumi


Answer to your first question -- No.  Each of us has a different fear / comfort threshold.  Hiking should be fun.  If hiking solo in mountain lion territory is NOT genuinely fun because of perceived danger(s) -- than one should not hike solo in mountain lion territory.  Period.

Answer to your second question -- Yes.  What's the statistics?  Hundreds of people hike in 'mountain lion territory' every week day -- and many more on weekends?  And how many people get mauled?  One in ten years or so?  Sheesh, if Australians take to swimming similarly, NO ONE will be swimming Bondi Beach -- or any beach at all.  You know, Great Whites do suddenly show up and kill -- about once very few years!  

So, blanket warning people away from hiking solo because of TRULY RARE mauling seems a grossly exaggerated response to me -- which doesn't stop bureaucrats  for reasons stated above. But do a comparison and imagine a city where one person gets murdered every 10 years -- and bureaucrats warn the town folk not to venture out on city streets alone on any day!  Wow... I only wish LA can have that level of violence!  We'd all be dancing the streets the whole day and into the night!

And the answer to your third question?  I think we will all do well to take bureaucratic warnings seriously -- and add in our own judgment and common sense.  :;):


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The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.  -- St. Augustine
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