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Thread: Cougars

  1. #11
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Cougars

    I assume the guy used a camera phone. He got out his phone and got close enough to two lion cubs to see them clearly in the video. I remember reading he claimed he thought they were perhaps bobcats or something.

    So he saw lion cubs, got out his phone and got closer to the cubs. He is just dang lucky he still only has one arsehole.

    If I see cubs -- lion or bear...I'm heading the opposite direction ASAP. He was an idiot. He was not being 'stalked'...he was being told to get the hell away.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  2. #12

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    Re: Cougars

    I think this was more of a "go away" bluff than an "I want to eat you" stalk. According to the NYTimes article that accompanied their link to the video the man said that he had just seen 3 or 4 cubs before the encounter with the mother. Cougars, from what I've read, are 'ambush' predators, and this certainly wasn't an ambush. In other cougar/panther news, video of a family of 5 in the Everglades.

  3. #13
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Cougars

    Well, you don't just lay there stooped over, John. All the local "government agencies", as you phrase it, put up signs at the trailheads telling you to look tall and not run. Mtn lions have lived around humans for many thousands of years, and by now instinctively realize we throw hard things, or use sticks as defense. Local Native Americans would put on deer skins with antlers atop in order to infiltrate deer herds close enough to shoot them with a bow. That was probably a worst case scenario if a cougar had been nearby. But I never heard any stories or legends about attacks. Lions were so shy of humans that they were given mythic status in many of those cultures as almost ghosts, silently and secretly inhabiting the forest, and rarely actually seen.

    It must have been really fun to go out hunting back when cougars were the smallest of the big cats around. Right around when you now live, John, there would have been jaguars larger than any now living, lions bigger than African lions, two or three species of saber-toothed cats. But they would have all gotten out of the way if short-faced bears showed up; even the oversized grizzlies of that era would have cleared out.

    We do have a rogue coyote the next town over, which has bitten four people in the same shopping complex so far. DNA saliva tests confirm it's the very same coyote. No rabies, and no serious bites yet. But they are having a hard time trapping it. Very unusual behavior with no natural fear. So you just never know.

  4. #14
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Cougars

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    There's a problem with that throwing rocks advice.
    We're advised to stand upright to make ourselves look as large as possible, but then
    you have to bend over---making yourself appear smaller--- in order to pick up the rocks!
    It sounds like something a government agency would dream up.
    It does sound like a committee finding, way too rational and over-thought.

    On the other hand, one can always hold-up your hat when crouching down for a rock (and why not keep holding your hat up).

    BTW, rocks or no rocks, I have imagined holding-up my hiking stick with a jacket or cap on it!

  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Cougars

    Vaughn, I once accidentally stumbled right smack into the middle of a cougar harem, or more precisely, several potential mates. The huge tom was, at the same time, accidentally cornered by me right in a granite "book" adjacent. And he wasn't amused. Snarling, tail twitching - not a good place to be. So I chambered a round in the rifle, took it off safety, and SLOWLY and cautiously worked my way backwards without losing eye contact.
    Didn't run, didn't show fear - was too soberly scared to do that! The females quickly all ran off. The big tom stayed put until I was well out of the way.

    The only truly belligerent cat I ever had experience with was a cripple that had lost a front leg and was desperately hungry. It was taking penned goats in the area, so I and a friend were hired to deal with it. It did stalk both of us as a potential meal, but, being crippled, had an enormous disadvantage. It did eventually catch up with my friend, who by then was out in the open, waiting for it with a 30-30. End of story. They weren't a protected species back then, and this one would have slowly starved in misery anyway sooner or later.

  6. #16
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Cougars

    I came into the hills a little late, being a city boy and all that. I would probably be amazed at what I did not see in front of my face. Before I start packing mules (all of the 80s) I had done a lot of rough backpacking in the western US and New Zealand. A lot of 10 day solo hikes down into the Grand Canyon, and of course local stuff. But I still had city-trained eyes.

    While I have seen lion on the road into the Yolla Bollys, I missed seeing any in the wilderness. Packing mules, of course did not help -- hunters do the same. We worked the trails, weren't silent about it...any self-respecting lion would decide to be elsewhere. But I have not seen any on my solo hikes there since then either -- but perhaps this June/early July. I should would like to get back up there and see what the fires of last summer did to the place. They just had to let the wilderness burn and hit the edges growing towards people.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  7. #17
    Les
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    Re: Cougars

    Although I'd try not to hurt the animal (if at all possible).... he had millions of rocks to pick and plenty sticks on the way. He could have hurled it near the animal....eliminating the drama....echoing what others said, tho that was my thought before reading.... No idea what he was thinking. Maybe he was too busy gazing at the phone....

    Les

  8. #18
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Cougars

    Rocks and sticks were not going to do the trick with a mom protecting her cubs.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  9. #19

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    Re: Cougars

    The one I saw was crossing the Alaska Highway, somewhere in the Yukon in the snow (it was winter) A magnificent animal!

    In the foothills above our little ranch was wild fig tree where locals claimed a cougar hung out. A lot of livestock and dogs had been killed in the area and I found tracks on our place where there was a poor old horse I was trying to rescue.
    The best I could do was to put that horse down---better than being lion vittles. The coyotes and vultures had that horse down to the bones in less than a week.
    I bleached the skull and have it hanging on the fence in the back yard,
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Cougars

    Animals have different strategies. Two weeks ago I was hiking atop a ridge when I noticed a man with a big dog descending the next ridge right along the edge of thick trees and vegetation. A coyote went absolutely berserk howling and yowling, yipping, and even barking (uncommon for coyotes). I realized it must have been a mom trying to distract the dog away form some nearby denning site. It's that time of year for young pups. Lions tend to use threat displays including partial charges, just like bears. But if you accidentally find yourself just too close, no telling.

    The actual documented fatalities from lion attacks in this state over its entire officially recorded history could probably be counted on one hand. By contrast, there were seven fatalities to infants from Pekinese house dogs in a single year here in the Bay Area alone, and over five hundred case of emergency room treatment for bite attack in SF alone that same year.

    An frail elderly man was attacked in Redwood NP by a lion conspicuously intent on eating him; but the man's wife beat it off with a stick. An infamous case of a jogger being eaten by a lion in the hills outside Sacramento a decade earlier was proven to be a homicide victim merely scavenged by the cat afterwards. Two joggers killed in Colorado were the victims of the same half-tamed young cougar which was released without normal survival skills, yet habituated to people. They're the decathlon champions of the animal world, so need to be respected - only their closest relatives, cheetahs, can sprint faster; only one species of antelope can jump higher, nothing can leap further, either on the run or from a crouching position.

    Up the street, about a mile down the dirt road into the park itself, a co-worker of mine encountered a small cougar twice at a water trough. Rangers must have been aware of its habits too; and since a picnic table is right there, and frequently children playing around, they unhooked the water. The wildlife still has a water source in nearby creek. I was alway more worried about rubber boas getting trampled by horses in that spot. They're such a docile and beautiful snake that they've gotten endangered due to the pet trade. There's no mistaking them - they look just like a miniature anaconda. Pretty small around here; but I've encountered em up to 4 ft long elsewhere. True constrictors - just lay there waiting for some mouse or gopher, and then a sudden suffocating squeeze.

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