So I guess that my morning run made me cougar bait. I was low on inspiration getting out the door this morning so I put on my Ipod, cranked the tunes and started my run. It was still dark so I was wearing my headlamp. Since I don't think cars and ipods mix I took to the trail around a local lake and then out another closed road up to the area of the first reported sighting. I then headed off road again across the college campus and along the remote closed road that winds through the forested area between the campus and the lake.
Michelle mentioned the cougar sighting in her blog as well and got a very informative reply from Mehgan which follows:
I'm a self-proclaimed mountain lion expert. I've seen 2 lions while trail running/hiking. One followed my dog and I for several miles.Some things I've learned from the real experts:
1. Lions hanging out in developed areas are the most dangerous kind. They are typically either juveniles who've been kicked out of their mother's territory, trying to figure out the ways of the world and experimenting with food choices, or old males and females looking for easy bites to eat. Lions are innately reclusive, so when the behavior deviates from this, it's not particularly safe.
2. Many attack victims never see the lion prior to the attack. Lions stalk and attack their prey. If you glimpse the lion while you're out and about, it's less likely to actually attack you.
3. If you see a lion, though, make lots of noise, look big, and act agressively towards it. Make eye contact with it, stare at it. And, by all means, don't run or make fast movements (movements that resemble prey behavior). Generally, they just run away when they realize what they've gotten themselves into.
4. Carrying pepper spray or something like that isn't really necessary with lions. If they attack you, you probably won't know it until they are on you. Then it's just a physical battle. Lots of people have survived attacks by fighting like hell.
5. If the sighting continued to be in a concentrated location, it likely means there is something around that area that the lion likes/wants/is trying to get (house cats? dogs?). If the sightings spread out over a larger area, then the lion is just roaming around. If the sightings stop, the lion has likely moved on, realizing there's nothing god around. No lion will willingly make a developed area its permanent territory.
6. It really is safety in numbers when it comes to lions. Though they have attacked people in groups, you are much less likely to get attacked in a group than when you are while alone. Attacks on groups of people seem to occur when the group is spread apart, not tight together.If it were me, I'd exercise a few days patience and see how it pans out. I'd continue running with company only during this time.
If the sightings stop in a few days, you're likely safe to proceed on normally.After my scary mountain lion encounter, I was afraid to be alone out running/hiking for the longest time. Living in fear really sucked, though, so I decided I needed to move on and use the same amount of caution I use with any other hazard. So scary, good luck! Thinking of you!Meghan www.running-blogs.com/meghan
You have to watch out for these type of cougar attacks too! http://www.cougardate.com/cougar/main.html