"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Friday, January 13, 2012

(Mountain) Lions, No Tigers, and Bears!

A week or so ago I read in the paper that a mountain lion was trapped and later released near Centerville,  Mo. located in the Southeast corner of the Mark Twain National Forest.  Mountain lions and bears have been rumored to live in Missouri for some time now and the evidence has mostly been anecdotal until recent years when mountain lions have been caught on camera and now in a trap.  The recent capture is a reminder to be safe and take precautions while out in remote locations.  I have read that an encounter with these animals is a rare occurrence but it does happen here is what to you should do.

For black bears according to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (It came up first on google) you should:

  • If the bear is not paying any attention to you, slowly and quietly back away while watching the bear to make sure it isn't following you
  • Do not approach the bear to get a better look
  • If the bear obviously knows you are there, raise your arms to let the bear know you are a human. Make yourself look as big as possible. Speak in a firm but non-threatening voice while looking at the bear and backing away
  • Watch the bear to gauge its reaction to you. Generally, the noisier the bear is, the less dangerous it is, providing you don't approach the bear. If a bear huffs, pops its jaw or stomps its paws on the ground, it wants you to back away and give it space
  • If a bear closely approaches you, drop any food you are carrying and continue backing up
  • If the bear continues to try to approach, stand your ground and be aggressive - use your whistle or air horn, yell, stand tall, wave your arms and throw objects
  • If a bear keeps advancing and is getting close, continue to stand your ground. Use your bear pepper spray and anything else to threaten or distract the bear - bears will often first test to see if it is safe to approach you
  • Do not run or climb a tree. Bears can run faster and climb better than you
  • If the bear makes contact, fight back with everything you have


    For mountain lions according to the Missouri Department of Conservation you should:

    • STOP. Back away slowly if you can do so safely. Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the mountain lion, stand upright and maintain eye contact.
    • DO NOT APPROACH A MOUNTAIN LION, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
    • STAY CALM. Talk to it in a calm, yet firm voice.
    • DO ALL YOU CAN TO APPEAR LARGER. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.
    • If the mountain lion behaves aggressively, THROW STONES, BRANCHES OR WHATEVER YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. You want to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may, in fact, be a danger to it.
    • FIGHT BACK if a mountain lion attacks. Mountain lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and bare hands. Remain standing or try to get back up.
    Now you know what to do in the unlikely occurrence that you encounter one of these animals.  Remember they aren't looking to eat you but they can be dangerous and unpredictable.


    1. Thanks for the info Patrick. I always wonder if there are any mountain lions at SIUE. Loved the bear video!

    2. So where did you get the bear suit?