As tempting as it is to write how not to become heartbroken by an older woman, this is not that article. Instead, we’ll be talking about actual mountain lions. Although they are rarely found in the United States they do exist especially in the western half of the United States. The eastern half of the United States no longer has Pumas because they went extinct allegedly. Cougars typically eat deer, elk, small mammals, and birds. They like to hunt during the morning hours and at dusk. They tend to hide their prey that they’ve caught covering it with soil or leaves to save for later. So how do you avoid becoming a cougar snack?
- Make sure if you’re going to go hiking or jogging to always have a partner. Having a partner will help you to be able to call 911 and fend off an attack.
- Avoid hunting, hiking, or backpacking in the very early morning hours or at dusk when they’re most likely to be hunting.
- Be noisy as you’re hiking to alert wild animals, including Cougars, of your presence in the area.
- Avoid any areas where you can find a dead elk or deer because that is possibly a cougar kill cache.
Despite taking all of these precautions, let’s assume you end up face to face with a mountain lion. What should you do?
- First, don’t run. Never run from a cougar because that will trigger their prey drive instinct. They will chase you and they’re more adept at running in the area you’re bound to be in.
- Always maintain steady eye contact with the mountain lion. You never want to take your eyes off of a ticked-off apex predator that wants to kill you.
- Quickly pick up any children or pets that are near you so that they are further out of reach from the Puma.
- Stand up tall to make yourself look bigger. Never crouch or squat before the cougar.
- Talk firmly and loudly while you back away slowly to leave the area. Screaming in a panic will not help, but loudly yelling go or back will give the mountain lion this sense you could be a threat.
- If they attack you must fight back. Be sure to protect your head and neck in the process. In our own experience here in Arkansas, they can be easy to frighten. My 7-year-old was outside playing when a cougar came up to her. She didn’t scream, but she punched it in the nose. This sent the cougar fleeing from my 7-year-old daughter. In this instance, the cougar was not acting aggressively, but out of curiosity.
- When a cougar is actually trying to hunt and kill for food, they tend to sneak up on their prey to ambush them. Humans are not usually on the menu for pumas.
- If you do encounter a cougar, it’s a good idea to alert the authorities to where it was. Although calling the police might be the typical response, Fish and Game or wildlife officers should also be notified.
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