What To Do When You Suddenly Encounter A Mountain Lion
Be on the lookout! There have been several mountain lion sightings in southern Utah. Although mountain lions usually prefer more wooded areas, the precipitation and colder temperatures bring all wildlife down the mountains and that includes the natural predator's.
Mountain lion numbers are still on the rise in Utah. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources show a population increase from 2019 to 2021. There is about a 14% increase in mountain lion population every year in Utah and officials are trying to keep that in check by allowing hunting.
Reports from Brian Head and Cedar Canyon to New Harmony and Leeds prove that the mountain lions are not in hiding. Several reports from Brian Head have alluded to more than one mountain lion in the area. Many tracks have been found. In the Dry Lakes area there is a pit and tracks where it is thought that a mountain lion dragged something in. Several eye witnesses say they have seen a momma mountain lion, with at least 3 kittens on a few of the snowmobile trails.
Do NOT move too quickly and do NOT get too close to wildlife to photos or any other reason. If you are going out to adventure in the mountains be sure to travel slower, be careful and stay away from wildlife. Do NOT go near dead animals. Mountain lions are protective of any prey caught, so steer clear especially when you see mommas with kittens. Mountain lions usually do not go near groups of people. Do NOT travel alone. It is wise to travel with friends, know where you are going on the trails and tell people where you are going to adventure.
In case of a stalking encounter, make yourself look bigger and more intimidating. Do NOT run away, this could trigger an attack. Do NOT squat or bend over. Do NOT turn your back on the mountain lion. Back away slowly and give direct eye contact. Throw rocks and sticks and make a ton of noise. In case of attack, fight back! Cover your neck and head and try to stay on your feet. If you are knocked down, do everything you can to get back on your feet while protecting your head and neck. Take a whistle with you and always travel with some sort of self defense and a first aid kit. Be safe!
If you have seen a mountain lion in southern Utah recently, let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org
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Gallery Credit: Mikey Foley