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Encounter a Cougar while hiking ...what would your scouts do?

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  1. Don't approach the murder kitten like this guy did.
  2. Note that her kittens were nearby which puts her in defensive mode.
  3. Get big, get loud, don't run away. You can't out run it and running away puts the cougar in predator mode.
  4. DO NOT BEND DOWN! Note when this guy bends down the cougar charges. It makes you look small.
  5. Find a branch or something you can grab and throw without bending down. He eventually threw rocks and the cougar ran off. If you have trekking poles, water bottles, etc. throw them.
  6. Put the damn phone away so you have both hands free.
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2 hours ago, 69RoadRunner said:
  1. Put the damn phone away so you have both hands free.

"Now see, this? This part? That's where the cougar started to gnaw on my leg. Sorta painful, but just look at how amazing the wide angle lens is on that iPhone 12! Amazing, right? That's not a red filter, that's my blood smearing on the phone case, but can I just tell you that the phone never broke? I mean my leg did in multiple places, but the phone? Not. A. Scratch!"

Edited by CynicalScouter
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2 hours ago, 69RoadRunner said:
  • Don't approach the murder kitten like this guy did.
  • Note that her kittens were nearby which puts her in defensive mode.
  • Get big, get loud, don't run away. You can't out run it and running away puts the cougar in predator mode.
  • DO NOT BEND DOWN! Note when this guy bends down the cougar charges. It makes you look small.
  • Find a branch or something you can grab and throw without bending down. He eventually threw rocks and the cougar ran off. If you have trekking poles, water bottles, etc. throw them.
  • Put the damn phone away so you have both hands free.

7.  Don't hike alone in cougar / bear country.

8.  After the encounter, wipe.

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57 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

7.  Don't hike alone in cougar / bear country.

8.  After the encounter, wipe.

This is an extremely rare encounter. Cougars avoid humans. You could frequently hike that area and not see one in 10 years. The presence of the kittens is the only reason he saw the cougar. People safely hike alone in bear/cougar territory all the time. Look at the people who thru-hike the AT, PCT and CDT. Most go solo.

Might want to wait for the hands to stop shaking before wiping or you'll just create a bigger mess.😲

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Glad there is a video attached.  Otherwise, I might have referred them to YP guiidelines.

 

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1 hour ago, 69RoadRunner said:

This is an extremely rare encounter. Cougars avoid humans. You could frequently hike that area and not see one in 10 years. The presence of the kittens is the only reason he saw the cougar. People safely hike alone in bear/cougar territory all the time. Look at the people who thru-hike the AT, PCT and CDT. Most go solo.

Might want to wait for the hands to stop shaking before wiping or you'll just create a bigger mess.😲

It is an encounter though that may become more common. Cougar populations are increasing and the species has expanded. Dispersing young adults are being reliably if intermittently sighted in any number of unlikely states from Illinois to Louisiana to Connecticut. In Utah where this incident took place the cougar population has tripled in recent years.  Black bear populations are also on the increase in many states. Since the U.S. population is also increasing and Covid is causing more people to look for more remote trails, this video is a good reminder to be prepared. 

 

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46 minutes ago, yknot said:

It is an encounter though that may become more common. Cougar populations are increasing and the species has expanded. Dispersing young adults are being reliably if intermittently sighted in any number of unlikely states from Illinois to Louisiana to Connecticut. In Utah where this incident took place the cougar population has tripled in recent years.  Black bear populations are also on the increase in many states. Since the U.S. population is also increasing and Covid is causing more people to look for more remote trails, this video is a good reminder to be prepared. ...

The National Park Service has put really good information on what to do at trailheads. When we were with small kids (ages 4-14), I read every inch of that board. Then, ten yards in, where some tops were felled, I grabbed the gnarliest, knobbiest walking stick I could find. The littlest one was between two adults at all times.

There were dozens (if not hundreds) of others on the trail, but in case a catamount was watching, I wanted to be sure she got the idea that we were treating ours like she would treat hers.

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23 minutes ago, qwazse said:

The National Park Service has put really good information on what to do at trailheads. When we were with small kids (ages 4-14), I read every inch of that board. Then, ten yards in, where some tops were felled, I grabbed the gnarliest, knobbiest walking stick I could find. The littlest one was between two adults at all times.

There were dozens (if not hundreds) of others on the trail, but in case a catamount was watching, I wanted to be sure she got the idea that we were treating ours like she would treat hers.

I wouldn't hike anywhere without a stick or a pole. We don't really have mountain lions around here but we do have bear. There are also a lot of people who hike with their dogs off leash and they are not all friendly. We have also had a number of cases of rabid animals attacking hikers. That's another issue scouts could use more consistent education about.  

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13 minutes ago, yknot said:

I wouldn't hike anywhere without a stick or a pole. We don't really have mountain lions around here but we do have bear. There are also a lot of people who hike with their dogs off leash and they are not all friendly. We have also had a number of cases of rabid animals attacking hikers. That's another issue scouts could use more consistent education about.  

Interesting comment.  Harks back to the early days of Scouting and one of the requirements.  What to do about a rabid dog?  That was actually an issue in those days.

 

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As a bicycle rider who spends a lot of time on county roads, I have passed a couple of bobcats and wondered how fast I needed to go just in case I looked like lunch. Just my luck the chase would start while riding up hill. :unsure:

Barry

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Interesting thread to see from this side of the Atlantic. We have no dangerous wildlife! The only advice we really have to give our scouts is don't wave you arms around wasps and in farming areas don't get between cows and their young. Other than that it's pretty safe. Quite scary to see stuff like this!

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4 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

or a painter?

 

6 hours ago, qwazse said:

catamount

Painter may have come from a derivation of the French word le panthere, or it could have been a reference to the black paintbrush like tip of their very long tails. Catamount is a garbled version of the Spanish Gato Monte, meaning Mountain Cat. Cougar is a French translation of a Brazilian Portuguese name. Puma is also pretty well known and derived from Spanish. Ghost Cat, Shadow Cat, Mountain Screamer, Fire Cat are all obviously more Appalachian names. My favorite is Long Tail, which was the name the Erie Nation gave to it and to themselves.  Apart from what they are, these animals are also a fascinating bit of natural history. 

 

 

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