Mountain lions

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sekihiker
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Re: Mountain lions

Post by sekihiker » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:09 pm

While driving to the Rancheria Trailhead on August 2, 2017, a cougar leaped across the road in front of my car when I was only a couple of miles from the trailhead. This was my second sighting of a cougar and much briefer than the first when I was stalked. It took a fraction of a second to determine what I was seeing. In less than half a second, I thought deer, then dog, then coyote, and finally COUGAR!

My first sighting made 25 years ago is described at: http://www.sierrahiker.com/RoaringRiver/index.html








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wildhiker
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Re: Mountain lions

Post by wildhiker » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:53 am

I have never seen a mountain lion in the Sierra in nearly 50 years of hiking. The only one I have ever seen was while driving back home from a backpack trip at Henry Coe State Park in the Diablo Range southeast of San Jose. I rounded a blind corner on that narrow road and suddenly a mountain lion with its long tail flying went bounding across the road right in front of the car, presumably chasing something. I was pretty shocked and amazed.

I don't think about or worry about mountain lions while hiking in the Sierra. Except, last summer, while hiking the High Sierra Trail for the first time to Hamilton Lake by myself, I was a little freaked out remembering the youtube video I had seen (posted here on HST) of a mountain lion on the HST. I found myself scanning the big rocks near the trail.

-Phil

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TurboHike
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Re: Mountain lions

Post by TurboHike » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:32 am

wildhiker wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:53 am
I have never seen a mountain lion in the Sierra in nearly 50 years of hiking. The only one I have ever seen was while driving back home from a backpack trip at Henry Coe State Park in the Diablo Range southeast of San Jose. I rounded a blind corner on that narrow road and suddenly a mountain lion with its long tail flying went bounding across the road right in front of the car, presumably chasing something. I was pretty shocked and amazed.

I don't think about or worry about mountain lions while hiking in the Sierra. Except, last summer, while hiking the High Sierra Trail for the first time to Hamilton Lake by myself, I was a little freaked out remembering the youtube video I had seen (posted here on HST) of a mountain lion on the HST. I found myself scanning the big rocks near the trail.

-Phil
I've seen that video too! Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNJxDWX-qes

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John Harper
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Re: Mountain lions

Post by John Harper » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:22 am

I had a big mountain lion run right through my campsite this summer up in Sun Valley, Idaho. I was camped out in the forest, and had heard something up above me on the hill for a few nights. I figured it was probably a deer. One evening, while cooking dinner, I heard the scream of a small animal, looked up the hill and saw a mountain lion barreling down the hill. He blew past me about 10 feet away chasing whatever it was into the bushes and towards Warm Springs Creek. A few seconds later, I heard another scream, so I assume the big cat got what he was after. I just stood there, dumbfounded, for a minute or two. I was not sure whether to stay at that site or move. I just realized that he must have known I was there for a while, and had left me alone. Plus, I assume he had dinner that night already. So, I camped there for two more nights before heading home. I saw a ranger in Sun Valley and he told me that in 10 years he had been up there he had never seen one. He seemed a bit envious, so that was kind of cool.

Image
In this photo of my campsite, you can see the hill where he came down coming across from the left, along the bush line, and into the thick bushes on the right. So, maybe 8 feet from my cot.


John

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AlmostThere
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Re: Mountain lions

Post by AlmostThere » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:27 am

I saw one at Point Reyes, at Coast Camp, which is the second busiest of the camps and always crowded. I think people do not tend to be observant or there would be more sightings of them. You have to be in the right place at the right time looking the right direction, they are fast.

I have seen plenty of tracks over the years. One memorable SAR training we saw bear tracks overlaid by mountain lion tracks and vice versa, as if the two were doing a dance in a muddy back road - it painted a picture of an encounter that ended with the two going different directions.

They are everywhere in California. I grew up in the foothills towns around Sonora, and a high school friend raised Walker coonhounds, which are also used to track bear and lion - her father made money on the side mitigating lions that took to taking livestock. He would average a few lions a year.

No, I'm not particularly concerned about them. I'm sure they have seen me far more often than I have seen them.

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Re: Mountain lions

Post by mrphil » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:02 am

We get them out here at the house all the time. A couple are pretty much in residence. Closest we've ever had one by the house was out by the pool taking a drink. But we mostly hear them calling out for mating, taking down prey occasionally (pigs...brutal sounds!), see them darting across the road when we come in at night, and we come across stashed deer carcasses fairly often. When the deer seasonally change patterns between types of forage and available water, we know the cats are somewhere close by. We don't really think too much about it, but we aren't fools about it either. Most of our precautions have to do with the time of day we hike or run the trails and fire roads. It's all situational awareness, so we also don't wear earbuds, sometimes keep a fixed-blade knife relatively handy in some situations, and give steep upslope drops we pass below a little wider berth than normal, and always a second glance, to avoid possibly getting jumped. If I could find them, I've got some great game camera shots of some really big and beautiful cats. You kind of start taking it for granted, but seeing apex predators is always a thrill. But yeah, they really don't want to see you, or have you see them if it can be avoided, so they bolt. They hate eye contact, which is why some people sew eyes on the back of their hats. Just don't look or act like prey and they'll leave you alone if they see you first. And just like any predator, they'll measure you up, and if they question whether you're going to hurt them more or too badly in the struggle, or they can't ambush you effectively, they avoid it altogether.

Such is living in mountain lion country.

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Re: Mountain lions

Post by LMBSGV » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:31 am

My only sighting in the Sierra was seeing one crossing Tioga Road at dusk. Since I live in West Marin, they are around this area hunting deer. The nearest sighting to my house was a neighbor was doing her daily walk and saw two cross the road in front of her about a quarter mile from my house. Neighbors have had several sightings on the fire roads that run along the ridge, including one finding a fresh deer carcass. When I am out walking, I always pay attention, especially at dusk.

My one actual encounter was one afternoon on the trail to Kehoe Beach in Point Reyes. Up ahead I saw a large tan animal and at first assumed it was a dog since one frequently meets dog walkers there. The animal moved across the trail and up into the brush on the right side. The tail and the catlike way it moved told me this was definitely not a dog. I watched it walk to a spot in the bushes where it sat down and stared directly at me where I was stopped on the trail about thirty feet away. If I hadn’t been watching it, I doubt I would have been able to see it since it blended into the brush. Since I didn’t have a telephone lens, I decided not to take a photo. The cougar and I stared at each other for a few minutes until I finally continued on to the beach.

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Re: Mountain lions

Post by SSSdave » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:52 am

Two huge lions in 2005 McGee Creek.

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=748&p=5207&hilit=lion#p5207

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Re: Mountain lions

Post by Lumbergh21 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:59 pm

I've never seen one, but a fellow cyclist reported seeing one crossing the paved trail up Heart Rate Hill near Keswick Dam. He said he decided to end his ride early and turned around at that point. Also another cyclist that I work with came across a fresh deer carcass one morning a few miles from Keswick closer to Redding.

I have seen scat and tracks in a few places while hiking the PCT between Burney Falls and the Parks Creek Trailhead north of Castle Crags. There was also a report in 2018 from a group camped at Caribou Meadows in the Trinity Alps of a mountain lion circling their camp area for several hours as there were a couple of deer essentially taking refuge among the humans.

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Re: Mountain lions

Post by maverick » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:43 pm

None in the Sierra, seen plenty of paw prints, and have heard its roar echo in a canyon. In the Bay Area, have seen two: one in Pirisima Creek Preserve on a morning hike, crossing over the trail about 50 feet in front of me, the other in Edgewood County Park, this was also during a morning hike, both were adult cats.
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