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If you cannot avoid a confrontation with a mountain lion, here are some ways to minimize the situation.

  • Make and maintain eye contact. Face toward any mountain lion that you encounter, keep your eyes directly on it, and do not look away until and unless it is gone. Doing this keeps you facing the cat, and they prefer to attack the head and neck area from the rear. (This will not work with bears.)
  • Do not crouch, bend over, squat, or lie down. Stand up straight because an upright human does not resemble of any of their usual prey and also appears to be large. Although it can be awkward, do not bend over or turn around if you are picking up small children or finding rocks or sticks for weapons.
  • Make yourself appear as large as possible. Raise your arms, open your coat, place children on your shoulders, stand on a rock, or use any other method that is available. Wave your arms above your head slowly and talk in a loud, firm voice to convince the mountain lion you are not prey and may even be a danger to it.
  • Find or devise a weapon. Look for a stout walking stick or rocks that are at arm height and you don‘t have to bend over to pick up.
  • Fight back if attacked.
    • Remember that when a mountain lion is within 50 yards of you, has its ears pinned back, and is silently moving toward you or attempting to sneak around you, it could attack at any time. Prepare to defend yourself using anything available as a weapon—throw rocks or sticks, yell, growl, and smile to show your teeth.
    • If a mountain lion does attack, fight back with any means available. Never attempt to “play dead,” since the cat is not trying to scare you away but is hunting you as a prey animal. Very few people can actually defeat a mountain lion by hand, but you can hopefully make it decide to go look for an easier meal.
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