Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

1 - 20 of 53 Posts

·
MassiveAttack
Joined
·
157 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What would be the best thing to do when encoutering a mountain lion?

While riding, the thought always passes through my mind about running into mountain lion. I ask myself on every ride what I would do....

Wondering if any of you can share some expereinces or advice on what to do when running into one.

Would Mace work if one was to attack you?

Preserves post that if attacked one should fight back... I would rather just shot it with mace and increase my chances of getting away unhurt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
Well, Mountain Lion attacks are EXTREMELY rare, correct me if I'm wrong, but they happen even less than Shark attacks. Anyhow. When encountering a Mountain Lion, unlike a Grizzly Bear, MAKE YOUR PRESENCE KNOWN, stand as tall as you can, put your hands in the air, hiss and scream at it.
 

·
Old man on a bike
Joined
·
12,383 Posts
If you can stand there calmly enough to get out the

mace and spray it accurately enough as a mountain lion attacks you, you go guy. I know one guy who was stalked by a lion as he climbed a fire road; the lion didn't sneak attack but rather got in front of him, and he, no doubt aided by a massive infusion of adrenaline, immediately turned around and rode down as fast as he could and got away. He carried a gun for a while after that.

Most of the books say make noise, be as big as you can and put the bike in between you and the lion...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
571 Posts
There is no guaranteed formula for what to do, but the following list of things are generally considered to be things you can do to ward off a potentially aggressive big cat:

1. Do not run away. Predator instinct may kick in and no matter how fast you are on that bike, a mtn lion is faster. Even a 12 pound house cat can out run a human, nonetheless a 180 mountain lion.

2. Maintain eye contact at all times.

3. Put bike in front of you if possible to use as potential shield.

4. Make yourself appear as big as possible. Wave your arms over your head. If there is more than one person in your group, stand close to one another to appear as one large beast. Pickup small children or have them stand close to you, smaller prey is tempting to mountain lions.

5. Make noise. Wave your arms and roar. Make yourself seem threatening. Yell "cougar" to let others now on the trail incase they can come to your aid.

6. Throw rocks or any object.

With all that said, there some other tips on the prevention side. For one thing, it's common for mountain lions to be active from dusk to dawn. So riding during the day reduces your risk because the big cats are resting and seeking shelter from the heat. Riding with a friend is also safer. The rider in Whiting Ranch survived her attack because her friend was there to pull her back from the mountain lion that had her by the face. Also, big cats are known to sometimes track prey for days. So if you are riding the same trail day in and day at the same time, this may put you at risk because the it may notice your pattern. Some riders put fake eyes on the back of their helmets to fool any mtn lion that thinks it can sneak up on the person.

The mtn lion attacks in Whiting Ranch led to alot of paranoia here in Socal, which in a way was good because it brought public awareness to how one should react when encountering a mtn lion.

Remember, there is a higher risk of you dying while your drving in your car to the trailhead.

But like many assumptions and believed notions, there are exceptions and scenarios that occur outside the norm of mtn lion behavior. For example, the rider that was killed in Whiting Ranch was believed to have been killed in the 3-4pm hour, well before the notion that they hunt at dusk. But the above list is a good thing to be aware of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Fight back

If you're face-to-face with it, do what others on this thread have said... whatever you can do to disconcert it and induce it to think twice and leave.

If you tangle with it, fight like hell. I gather that Cougars are mainly neck and skull-bite killers, so keep it away from your head, neck and throat. If you carry a knife, it should be non-folding, or able to be opened with one hand. (Myself, I'd pick folding. I wouldn't want to take the sort of tumble we bike riders do while carrying a sheath knife on my person. Carrying a sheath knife along the seat tube might be OK though, but it wouldn't be handy when you're not on the bike.) One guy suffered serious, permanent damage to his head and face because he needed both hands to open his knife. I think he lost an eye when the cougar bit his skull. He did kill the cat, but I saw a photo of him... you don't want to end up like that.

One thing to remember: if you are actually fighting it, don't expect to be able to run it off. You have to be able to kill it, and that means having a weapon. There's a misperception that cougars are skittish, shy animals. In fact they are bold and distainful of us. For example, someone left a tavern at night and was riding his bike down a blacktop road. He listened to a steady clicking behind him, and eventually realized that something was chasing him, just before he was dragged down from behind and found himself grappling with a cougar. After a while a car came along, and stopped, but the car and headlights affected the cougar not at all. The driver got out and tried to get the cat off the fellow on the ground, but it wouldn't budge. As I remember it, the cat didn't leave until the driver picked up the bike and started hitting the cougar with it. (Or it could have been that even that didn't work, and the cougar only left after the driver got something solid from the car trunk to beat it with. If you google the topic you'll probably come across the report for this attack.) Anyway, the point is that the cougar was outnumbered 3:1 by two full-grown men and an automobile, and didn't give a damn.

If a cougar tackles you from behind you won't have seen it first and won't have the standoff distance to use your spray. So, I'd say that a knife but no spray is OK, but spray with no knife isn't.

If it happens to any of us I hope we have our ff helmet on at the time...
 

·
Trail Rider
Joined
·
914 Posts
Here is my experience

I have been riding in SOCAL for about 15 years. I've run into 2 mountain lions. One was from a far distance(sight) on a hillside. It saw me and hid behind a bush. It walked away. The other time, I was riding a fast DH run in Cuyamaca State Park. I went around a corner and there in the middle of the fire road was a big cat standing there. It was surprised and immediately ran away down the trail. I slowed to keep some distance and then continued, thinking it went off the trail to escape. As I picked up speed and continued, I was surprised to find that it continued down the fire road for quite a distance(dust trail). Unless I was going full speed DH, there was no way I could out run that cat on my bike. It was that quick!
After the fires in this area, I don't ride alone anymore up in the Park.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
You have 2 thumbs.
Eyeballs pop like juicy grapes if you press hard enough....

Just get them before it finds your throat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
837 Posts
You won't know...

If a Mt lioin wants to attack you you will not see it coming. That said, it is more likely you will be struck by lightning while underwater than it is that a Mt lion will attack you.

Think aboutr it, humans are big, bigger than a Mt lion. They can find much easier meals. They won't mess with a person unless they are threatened or starving and have no other choice.

Worry about pinch flats, urban sprawl and lightning strikes. All are way more likely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
debaucherous said:
If a Mt lioin wants to attack you you will not see it coming. That said, it is more likely you will be struck by lightning while underwater than it is that a Mt lion will attack you.

Think aboutr it, humans are big, bigger than a Mt lion. They can find much easier meals. They won't mess with a person unless they are threatened or starving and have no other choice.

Worry about pinch flats, urban sprawl and lightning strikes. All are way more likely.
That's right!
Don't consider the rare chance because it just won't happen to you, it never happened to anyone else either.

When it is all thunder and lightening you get out of the pool and you don't go golfing.

There have been a number of attacks in CA in the past few years on people.
It used to be pets but seems a couple five folks each year or more are running into the lions and they ARE often starving since they are protected and there are more of them possibly on less land as a result. While a lot of the prey animals are smaller than the cats they won't pass up larger prey if it is in the right place at the right time and easy meat.

If you don't need the precautions you didn't waste much in terms of planning and effort but if you NEED them and didn't take the time and effort ahead of time you are SOL!

You make the choice to be head in the sand, sheepeople or not and the responsibility belongs to no one but yourself!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
Be extremely carefull with mace. It could blow back in your face, it has a very limited range, in the heat of the moment when the lion does get close enough to use the mace it may be on instinct only and still be able to damage you.

The standard things to do are to look into the eyes of the lion (you look above bears), stand behind your bike, make a fuss, throw rocks, shoot at it...


And to the guy that is talking about humans being bigger than mountain lions...in some cases (not all) the poundage may be in the favor of the human...but the muscle mass, teeth, and claws are solidly in the lion's favor...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
debaucherous said:
If a Mt lioin wants to attack you you will not see it coming
That's only what happens some of the time. What about when the lion follows people for miles and they are aware of it? What about when that lion starts getting aggressive? It's happened plenty of times before, and it will continue to happen. Every lion encounter is not a stalk-from behind. The only truth there is that in your situation, you will not be able to do much, if anything, but this does not make up all of the encounters.
 

·
life is a barrel o'fun
Joined
·
2,502 Posts
believe it or not

We had a tiger scare here in Queens: Got loose while being transported with a local circus, and for a while, it strolled through a park, alongside a highway and pounced on a car, causing a minor pile-up.

People who were walking by the park saw it casually strolling by, and they simply were in awe. I'm glad nobody got hurt (directly) and that people weren't running around in a blind panic. Guess it was after the tiger's lunch!

The only thing that got people nervous, was the trainer running after the tiger (which probably caused it to keep moving) and yelling, "Whatever you do- DON'T RUN!!" :rolleyes: Eventually, they got Apollo to get back in his cage. Though he seemed reluctant, he didn't put up a fight, and didn't even need a tranquilizer.

Sad to think that mountain lions are driven to killing humans for food. Here in NYC, they could always grab a pretzel or hot dog.
 

·
Don't worry, be happy!
Joined
·
8,141 Posts
The Beast in the Garden by David Barron is an excellent book about mountain lions in contemprorary urban/suburban and rural settings. It's non fiction, and essentially a study of what happened in Boulder CO with too many deer, lots of people moving into what was formerly lion territory, and the ensuing conflicts. It's fairly balanced, looking at the lions, the animal lovers, the bounty hunters, Boulder politics and lion incidents with both humor and facts. It's also an easy read, you could read it in a weekend. He does a lot to educate and dispel a lot of myths about cougars.

https://images.amazon.com/images/P/0393058077.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

formica
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,879 Posts
I just carry a steak and offer it to them. :^) If that doesn't work I put my faith in being a Clyde and my Emerson Knife.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,931 Posts
thesacrifice said:
Well, Mountain Lion attacks are EXTREMELY rare, correct me if I'm wrong, but they happen even less than Shark attacks. Anyhow. When encountering a Mountain Lion, unlike a Grizzly Bear, MAKE YOUR PRESENCE KNOWN, stand as tall as you can, put your hands in the air, hiss and scream at it.
Grizzlies get upset when you surprise them, that's why people wear bear bells.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
837 Posts
Huh?

archer said:
That's right!
Don't consider the rare chance because it just won't happen to you, it never happened to anyone else either.

When it is all thunder and lightening you get out of the pool and you don't go golfing.

There have been a number of attacks in CA in the past few years on people.
It used to be pets but seems a couple five folks each year or more are running into the lions and they ARE often starving since they are protected and there are more of them possibly on less land as a result. While a lot of the prey animals are smaller than the cats they won't pass up larger prey if it is in the right place at the right time and easy meat.

If you don't need the precautions you didn't waste much in terms of planning and effort but if you NEED them and didn't take the time and effort ahead of time you are SOL!

You make the choice to be head in the sand, sheepeople or not and the responsibility belongs to no one but yourself!
I'm not clear what the point of your rambling diatribe is. I think what you are trying to say is, "just because an event is extremely unlikely does not mean it will not happen." To which , I agree. But, paranoia never fixed anything. Live your life in fear if you want.

As far as I know there have been 2 attacks in CA this year. According to http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06000.html there are 35,484,453 people in CA. That makes the odds of being attacked by a Mt Lion in CA over a 12 month period approximately 1/17,700,000. Live in irrational fear, just don't advocate that others do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
571 Posts
Christine said:
...Sad to think that mountain lions are driven to killing humans for food. Here in NYC, they could always grab a pretzel or hot dog.
Too funny!

Hopefully it'll go for one of the hot dog carts that roast instead of boiling the dogs in two week old hot dog water.

I miss NYC and being able to walk out at 2am and get a plate of street meat and rice.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,131 Posts
debaucherous said:
I'm not clear what the point of your rambling diatribe is. I think what you are trying to say is, "just because an event is extremely unlikely does not mean it will not happen." To which , I agree. But, paranoia never fixed anything. Live your life in fear if you want.

As far as I know there have been 2 attacks in CA this year. According to http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06000.html there are 35,484,453 people in CA. That makes the odds of being attacked by a Mt Lion in CA over a 12 month period approximately 1/17,700,000. Live in irrational fear, just don't advocate that others do.

holy meaningless numbers batman!

tell me this, does it serve any purpose to include the population that does not go mountain biking into the forest in that figure? It's just like getting hit by lightning. Sure, given the chances of a random strike of lightning comming out of a clear day to hit you in a building or wherever you may be.....yeah, almost nil. Go out in a thunderstorm though where lightning is hitting all over the place...those odds go up a lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
i've hit one with a rock...

while hiking the "west coast trail" on vancouver island a number of years ago. We had just completed a tough day of hiking, had set up our tents and were going to go for a dip in the creek when 2 of the pretty cats strolled by on the far side of our little campsite, nearly causing us to soil ourselves. They weren't at all interested in us and continued on to the creek to drink. by this time we had followed to try to see where they went and watched them from about 30 feet away, drinking from the creek. some sort of self preservation kicked in and we started yelling and making noise. i started throwing rocks at them to discourage them sticking around. Not that it would ever happen again, but i actually managed to hit the one with its had down at the water with a rock about the size of a fastball. The interesting thing is that the impact didn't have any effect on the cat at all and it kept on drinking while its friend(mate?) casually looked around. they moved on shortly after that, but sleeping was a bit tougher that night.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,593 Posts
The point of my rambling diatribe is quite close to what you posted except as jm notes you are comparing apples and oranges when you bring lightening strikes up as more probable. To a shut-in neither is exactly likely.

I'm not sure what the stats are for this year regarding attacks. I'm pretty sure it would depend on who compiles those states as to what gets counted. After all if the cat breaks off a stalk or agressive behaviour before contact it isn't really an attack is it? (At the risk of additional rambling I recall an incident from last year where a cat wouldn't break off and was shot with a .30-30. Even though they are protected the shot was deemed justified and no charges were made. I'm not sure if that went down as an attack or not.)

There is rather a large difference between being prepared for an event that is not likely, being paranoid and simply ignoring the low order possibilities.

Perhaps I should reduce the sarcasm a tad.
 
1 - 20 of 53 Posts
Top