Going through the electronica of the outdoors world, I ran across an interesting post on BellaOnline. It deals with what you need to do to prevent a bad encounter with a mountain lion.
Mountain lion sightings have been a hot topic here in Oklahoma, mostly because you have one side swearing they’ve seen the creatures and others citing a lack of proof.
I’ve been told that there are mountain lions in the Wichita Mountains. And late last year, in Atoka County, a landowner caught one on film prowling about his hunting lands.
They may not be as common as black bears, which we know number in the hundreds in southeastern Oklahoma. But it appears that in some fashion, these predators seem to be spreading east, finding suitable habitats in the wooded hills of southern Oklahoma.
If mountain lions take root here, they’ll become the second largest predators in Oklahoma, behind only the black bear. Male mountain lions can grow to 160 pounds while females can reach 110 pounds. Unlike black bears, the mountain lion’s diet is exclusively meat. They generally avoid people and are rarely seen. But like any wild animal, they take advantage of any opportunity to feed themselves and their young. Particularly tempting targets include pets and children, though attacks on adult humans do occur.
That said, it’s not a bad idea for hikers, backpackers, campers, hunters and anglers to learn a little about what to do to avoid a bad encounter with mountain lions.
BellaOnline listed these tips, courtesy of the Government of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Web site:
To prevent encounters
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Learn to recognize signs of mountain lion’s presence (tracks, scat and markings).
- Watch for signs of kill sites (especially flocks of scavenger birds, like crows and vultures, feeding on carrion).
- Travel in groups and make noise in sheltered areas with poor visibility.
- Walk your dog during daylight hours, on a leash.
If you do encounter a mountain lion
- Face the animal, avoiding eye contact, and slowly back away.
- Try to leave space for the animal to escape.
- Pick up small children and pets.
- Stay calm and talk in a firm voice.
- If the cougar approaches, throw sticks or rocks and act aggressively.
- If you come in contact with the animal, fight back.
Chances are, you’ll never see a mountain lion in the wild. They’re pretty elusive. But if you do, be careful and try to enjoy (as best you can) such a rare moment.