BYU-Idaho Radio · What to do if You Encounter a Mountain Lion
Earlier this month, 26-year-old Kyle Burgess was trail running in Utah when he was stalked by a mountain lion for 6 minutes. He recorded this entire experience on his phone.
He was running on Oct. 10, when he saw what he thought were bobcat kittens. He pulled out his phone to record them, and soon realized they were mountain lion cubs.
The mother came out of the bushes and immediately began stalking Burgess. He finally got the cougar to go away after 6 minutes by throwing a rock at her. The emotionally charged video of this experience quickly went viral.
James Brower, the Idaho Fish and Game regional communications manager said when people see a mountain lion, they should not run away or turn their back from the mountain lion.
“Look them in the eye. They do not like to be seen; they’re used to sneaking up on their prey from behind. If they know you are aware of them, that’s a big sign that you’re not afraid of them and that you’re probably going to fight back. They are hopefully not going to attack you,” Brower said.
These were all things Burgess did as he slowly backed away, keeping eye contact with the mountain lion. Brower said the worst thing you can do is seem vulnerable. You do not want to lay on the ground or turn your back. If there are children in your group, he advised you pick them up for their safety.
“Make yourself look as big as you can. If you are wearing a coat, or something you can do to spread your arms out, and just make yourself look?really big. Also, you need to shout, throw stuff at them… rocks, sticks, whatever you’ve got with you,” Brower said.
While Burgess’ experience was very rare, we do have mountain lions in Idaho. In just this year, several mountain lions have been spotted wandering through towns or in neighborhoods.
“It happened several times throughout the year, in places like Hailey, Ketchum, those rural areas. It also happens around Idaho Falls and Rexburg, in our neck of the woods as well,” Brower said. “So, if you spot a mountain?lion that is skulking around yards or on one of those doorbell cameras, please let us know about it. Call your regional office.”?
If you see a mountain lion, call the Idaho Fish and Game Department at (208) 525-7290.