The San Luis valley is located in Southern Colorado high up in the beautiful Rocky Mountains! Our club members are comprised of avid Outdoor Adventurers and Environmental Activists. We came together as a group to create an environment where we can enjoy our magnificent surroundings and work together to preserve and protect this incredible area.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
GSD Safety Tip - Mountain Lion Encounter
SAFETY TIPS - July 2016
Are Not Alone When Working Alone in the Field
It can be easy to become complacent about
the wild animals that are living in the outdoors where we work when you are
going out day after day.Unlike some
areas with several large predators, the Black Hills National Forest of South
Dakota and Wyoming has only one large predator of concern for field going
personnel.That predator is the mountain
lion and recently, while conducting Black-backed Woodpecker surveys, I found
myself within a football field’s distance from four (a mother and three older
juveniles)!Initially, I only saw the
mother as I was coming up the ridge and that made me stop in my tracks.I then quickly realized that she had 3
juveniles with her.The training I
received on what to do in such an encounter kicked in and the situation ended
in a non-aggressive manner with myself and the animals going on our own
way.Having this encounter has motivated
me to share and reinforce the “what to do” list in the event of a mountain lion
encounter.The following information was
found on www.mountainlion.org
1.Make yourself appear as large as possible.
Make yourself appear larger by standing
close to any other members of a field crew you may be with.Open your jacket or other outer
garments.Raise your arms and wave them
Yell, shout, or bang something against a
tree.Speak slowly, firmly, and loudly
to disrupt and discourage predatory behavior.
3.Act like a predator yourself.
Maintain eye contact.NEVER run past or from a mountain lion.NEVER bend over or crouch down.Aggressively wave your raised arms, throw
stones or branches, all without turning away.
4.Slowly create distance.
Assess the situation.Consider whether you may be between the lion
and its kittens, or between the lion and its prey or cache.Back slowly to a spot that gives the mountain
lion a path to get away, never turning away from the animal.Give the mountain lions the time and ability to
If attacked, FIGHT BACK!Protect your neck and throat.People have successfully utilized rocks,
jackets, tree branches, walking sticks, packs, and even bare hands to turn away
mountain lions. Never “play dead” to try and stop a mountain lion attack.
During my encounter, I stopped moving forward
after initially seeing what turned out to be the mother mountain lion.I immediately started to observe the lion’s
movements and saw there were three additional smaller lions (which I determined
to be her juveniles).At this point, the
group of four lions was walking across my field of view and not towards me, so
I decided to maintain my position.The
wind was in my favor and I remember being glad for that.As they were working across my field of view,
I decided to pull out my cell phone and record video so that if they were to
start approaching me, I might have a record of anything that might happen.Because the lions were a decent distance away
and did not appear to know I was there or take interest in me, I decided to not
draw attention to myself by making noise.It wasn’t until I saw the video from my phone afterwards that I realized
the adult lion looked in my direction before deciding to continue on.Several minutes after the lions passed out of
view, I slowly hiked back to the truck.
Special Thanks to Brian
Dickerson, Wildlife Biologist at the Rapid City Lab for sharing his story
and writing this month’s safety tip.You
can view Brian’s video of the encounter at: