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How to stay safe if you encounter a mountain lion

Posted at 1:31 PM, Sep 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-15 20:55:31-04

BOZEMAN — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is investigating a mountain lion sighting near the M trail in Bozeman.

Although sightings are rare, mountain lions are In the Bridger Mountain Range. Bear and mountain lion safety go hand and hand.

"Traveling with more than one person. You hear the phrase, ‘there’s safety in numbers.’ That’s true in a lot of ways," said Morgan Jacobsen, Region III Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Information and Education Manager.

You definitely want to know warning signs that a cat is in the area.

"Where it’s possible for a cougar to hang around, is if it’s on a kill or animal that it’s killed or if there are cubs around," Jacobsen said.

If you should stumble across a mountain lion, experts say to be firm and confident.

"Don’t run away because running can sometimes trigger a predatory chase or response from the animal. If you have children with you, pick them up, keep them with you don’t let them run away for the same reason." Jacobsen explained.

If you cross paths with a bear, you slowly back away. You need to behave differently when interacting with a cougar.

"Make noise, make yourself look big and aggressive, and try and scare it away," Jacobsen said.

It’s also a good idea to keep your pets close so they don’t spook a mountain lion this season.

Both bears and mountain lion tend to more active when they’re preparing for the winter. Cat sightings are also more common from hunters at this time of year.

But don't be disappointed if you miss spotting a big cat. From the FWP website:

"Most Montanans live all their lives without a glimpse of a mountain lion, much less a confrontation with one. Many who have seen a lion describe the experience as catching a fleeting glimpse of something that is more shadow than reality."