Outdoors

Hear Him Roar: Hiker Scares Off Mountain Lion in Close Encounter on Pyramid Lake Trail

A 21-year-old man who came face-to-face with a mountain lion on a Southern California hiking trail had only seconds to react, so he roared at the animal to scare it away.

Dutch Furrow encountered the big cat on a hike at Pyramid Lake, located north of Los Angeles. He thinks the mountain lion was a cub and was worried the mom was nearby.

"I was like, you know, just in full survival mode," he said.

And so, he roared.

Faro captured the wild scene on camera. His video shows the mountain lion running toward him before it veers off into brush when Faro roared.

Experts said he had the right idea.

If you find yourself in this situation, you should stay calm, hold your ground.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife receives hundreds of mountain lion sighting reports each year. Few result in mountain lions being identified as posing an imminent threat to public safety, the department said. Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare and their nature is to avoid humans.

More than half of California is considered mountain lion habitat. They generally are found wherever they can find deer, one of their primary food sources.

Here's a full list of recommendations from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife of what to do during a mountain lion encounter:

  • Do not hike, bike, or jog alone. Stay alert on trails.
  • Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active – dawn, dusk, and at night.
  • Keep a close watch on small children.
  • Off leash dogs on trails are at increased risk of becoming prey for a mountain lion.
  • Never approach a mountain lion. Give them an escape route.
  • DO NOT RUN. Stay calm. Running may trigger chase, catch and kill response. Do not turn your back. Face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms, or opening your jacket if wearing one; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.
  • Do not crouch down or bend over. Squatting puts you in a vulnerable position of appearing much like a 4-legged prey animal.
  • Be vocal; however, speak calmly and do not use high pitched tones or high pitch screams. 
  • Teach others how to behave during an encounter. Anyone who runs may initiate an attack.
  • If a lion attacks, fight back. Research on mountain lion attacks suggests that many potential victims have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, garden tools, even an ink pen or bare hands. Try to stay on your feet. If knocked down, try to protect head and neck. 
  • If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 911.
  • Report unusual mountain lion behavior to your local CDFW regional office.
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