We are a week away from Spring, can you believe it?! As you're gearing for Spring hikes and camping we want to remind you to stay aware of your surroundings and the wildlife around you; not just for it's beauty but also for safety.
We're in Colorado and although encounters are rare, we have a population of over 6,000 mountain lions. As apart of my nature mindfulness practice I try not to worry but these beautiful wildcats can cause a lot of harm and/or death. In this blog post we're sharing wildlife tips to increase your chances of avoiding and surviving an attach.
Mountain lions can:• Bound up to 40 feet running
• Leap 15 feet up a tree
• Climb over a 12 foot fence
• Travel many miles at 10 mph
• Reach speeds of 50 mph in a sprint
1) Hike With a Group
According to the National Park Service, solitary hikers are 3 times more at risk getting attacked than people in a group. I always make sure to bring my pups Vader and Leia along for an extra sense of safety, never leave the dogs behind. If you are in an area where a mountain lion has been spotted. We recommend adding a bear bell to your dog's collar. The noise of the bell should deter the lion from attacking and send it further into the woods. Mountain lions tend to get close in neighborhoods where there are an abundance of deer.
2) Keep Dogs Close
If you let your dogs off leash on the trail make sure to keep them at a close distance. Before letting them off-leash be absolutely sure they have a 100% recall! If you are able to spot a mountain lion ahead of you, there is a greater chance that you can escape the situation by having control of your dog and walking backwards out of the woods. You want to avoid a situation where your dog surprises or provokes the mountain lion.
3) Make Yourself Big
Calmly raise your arms over your head and look as large as possible. Allow the big cat a chance to leave. Never show aggression towards a mountain lion, Stay calm, never turn your back and walk away from the puma.
4. Look For Track
Mountain lions have a distinctive "M" shaped pad with three lobes on the rear of the heel (dogs only have two lobes).
4) Don't Run!
Pick up small dogs or children to make sure they don't panic and run. Running might trigger an attack from behind, and we definitely don't want that!
5) If Approached Get Agg-ress-ive
Mountain lion attacks sometimes occur with an ambush, but many times the cat is spotted coming towards YOU! If this happens starts waving your arms, scream and go nuts. They are easily intimidated. So this might do the trick. If the attack is unavoidable this is a life or death situation. Detach the leash from your dog and fight back.
6) Throw Whatever is Near
Throw sticks, stones or whatever is near you at the cat. You have to demonstrate who is in charge with these animals. Passive behavior will not work!
Do EVERYTHING in your power to fight. Gouge it's eyes, hit it with a rock, stick or trekking pole. It's either do or die. So make it count!
8) DO NOT PLAY DEAD
The worst outcomes happen when you don't do anything. Unlike bears, who may attack when threatened, mountain lions pounce when they are hungry. Therefore, these predators have designated you as food.
9) Report It
Afterwards tell the police, parks and services, and fish and game immediately. This could save others that may arrive in a similar encounter.
I would absolutely love seeing one of these beautiful creatures in the wild. Not up close and personal of course, but hopefully we can all be just a little more prepared in knowing the correct actions to take. Be safe out there! Happy Trails Roll Dogs!