Hiking is a fantastic hobby for preppers. It lets you disconnect from society and embrace the majesty of nature. Not to mention its good exercise. But depending on where you live, you might run into mountain lions.
Also known as cougars, mountain lions are large cats that roam the woods and mountains of North America. Territorial and predatory, a bad encounter with one can be lethal. And if you’re an avid hiker, you’ll likely run into one eventually. But not all is lost. There are things you can do to help ensure that a stand down with a cougar doesn’t turn poorly.
You Can Avoid Them
The easiest way to survive a mountain lion encounter is to not have one. This can be done in a number of ways.
- Don’t hike in known areas. Research the area you intend to hike. Does it have warnings about them? If so, maybe choose somewhere else.
- Take the advice of locals. If there are mountain lions in the area, there will be local hikers and authorities that will tell you advice. This ranges from “stay on the trail” to “don’t hike during this time”
- Use tracker skills. If you can track, you can notice things like droppings, footprints, and other signs of a mountain lion being in the area. If you can notice these, you can know when you’re no longer in a safe place.
How To Scare a Mountain Lion
Let’s say it’s too late to avoid an encounter. The overall goal then is, believe it or not, to intimidate the cat while still looking calm. Here’s what hikers recommend.
- Don’t Run. Predators are used to this and are far more experienced at chasing down prey. This will likely trigger their attack response.
- Look Large. If you have a jacket on, spread it out like a child would to look like Batman. This makes you look larger. The bigger you seem, the more intimidating.
- Be noisy. Blow the emergency whistle, Scream loudly. Be noisy. This helps you seem intimidating and unafraid.
- Maintain Eye Contact. A mountain lion may be wanting a chance to pounce, like when you look away. Keep contact and don’t look away.
- Back away slowly. Be sure to maintain that eye contact. You don’t want to scare off the mountain lion, just intimidate it enough to let it leave you be.
A human CAN fight against a mountain lion if attacked. A self defence tool would be tremendously helpful. Just don’t attack them recklessly. Many states have laws about killing wildlife if not in defence.