Defending Against a Mountain Lion Attack

Defending Against a Mountain Lion Attack

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Make Your Presence Known

The best defense against a potential attack is to make yourself as big as possible.  You also want to assert your dominance by standing up straight, locking your eyes with the lion and making as much noise as possible.  You can enlarge your presence by wearing a jacket or sweatshirt and holding it open, picking up gear or even pets or children.  You want to be as big of a threat to the lion while also protecting the smaller people and pets around you.

Make a lot of noise by yelling for help and screaming as loud as possible.  This will attract attention while also differentiating yourself from the sounds that other prey make.  Take a stick and swat it in the air in front of you, jump up and down, kick up dirt and make all kinds of ruckus while never turning your back to the lion or averting eye contact.

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Stand Your Ground

The worst possible thing that you can do is to either quickly move towards or away from a mountain lion.  Keep your distance, continue to make noise and enlarge your presence and slowly start to walk backwards or to the side.  Aim for an opening or area in which you or the lion can use to escape if you have one cornered.  Remember, slow and steady movements will help you to remain in control of the situation while avoiding sending signals to the animal that you are either afraid or aggressive.

Remember that lions will stalk prey by slowly moving about, getting into a pouncing position or casting a long stare.  It can take a while before they decide to flee or attack, and you can tell by their body language what they intend to do in most cases.  You must be willing to go the distance and wait until you discover what the lion will do.

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The Attack

Mountain lions tend to pounce on prey, tackle them and gouge their mid-sections with their claws before trying to bite the throat and snap the neck.  The best position to be during an attack is on your back in a fetal position.  You can use your legs as leverage and hands to grab the lion’s throat to keep it from biting.  Be prepared to be gouged by their claws and potentially bit as well.  The most important thing to do is to protect your torso and throat.  You can do this by hitting the lion with large rock, stick, spear or even back or fanny pack.

If you have a knife, keep it in your dominant hand and be prepared to use it quickly and effectively.  Aim for the rib cage or sides of the body.  You will probably need to stab the lion numerous times before it backs off.  You can also grab its neck and squeeze hard with your free hand.  Remember that this will be a life and death struggle, so don’t hold back and be willing to fight dirty until the bitter end.

Many attacks will end once the lion either becomes injured or discovers that you will fight back.  However, this is not always the case.  Always have something in your hand that you can use to protect yourself and injure the animal.

Be careful when hiking, climbing or camping in areas that are prime habitats for mountain lions.  Try to have a gun with you as your first line of defense.  However, if you get in a situation, follow these guidelines and be prepared to do whatever it takes to overpower the lion and prevail.  Finally, consider carrying some pepper spray with you.  You can spray it on the lion during the attack and it can be effective.  However, it is almost a foregone conclusion that you will also get sprayed as you wrestle with the animal.  Be prepared to work and fight through the pain until the attack is over.


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