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in: Manly Skills, Outdoors, Survival, Visual Guides

April 15, 2016 Last updated: January 1, 2020

How to Survive a Mountain Lion Encounter

mountain lion on the trail illustration diagram

Spotting large predators in the wild is a thrill for any hiker or outdoorsmen, but coming face-to-face with a 220-pound cat can turn a walk in the woods into a fight for your life. Also known as cougars in some parts of the country, mountain lions tend to attack when cornered, or when they believe you might be a reasonable piece of prey. The key to avoiding a deadly encounter on the trail starts with a calm reaction.

  1. Avoid the urge to run, as it may trigger a mountain lion’s attacking instinct.
  2. Make yourself appear as large as possible. Use clothing, gear, and motion to increase your size.
  3. Create lots of loud noise. Emergency whistles, radios, or simple shouts can help intimidate the mountain lion.
  4. Establish and maintain eye contact to help distinguish you from prey.
  5. Slowly create distance between you and the mountain lion.
  6. Fight back if attacked. Use anything available as a weapon to defend yourself. 

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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

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