How to Plan Ahead and Stay Safe Hiking in Mountain Lion Country

Mountain lion or cougar country can be a pleasure to explore if you prepare well. There will always be a possible encounter with a cougar. This animal is a native species of this part of the country. That is why planning is necessary. It is the only way you can stay safe while hiking in this region. Here are the details on how to plan and keep safe while hiking in mountain lion country.

Refrain From Hiking at Dusk or Dawn

The hours of dawn and dusk are when wild animals are very active. These are the hours of hunting. Being in the light of sight of a mountain lion will not be safe for you. But if you do want to take your chances, make sure you have the necessary precautions like bells and deterrent sprays. You should also tell someone where you are going and when you should be back.

Be Loud

It is ideal to make noise occasionally. This is very useful when you hike in mountain lion country. Many animals attack when they get startled. The noise you make will allow the cougars and other animals to hear you. They will move away from you before you even get a chance to get close. Singing, wearing a bell, or saying “Hey cougar” every five or so feet is ideal.

Never Feed the Animals

It may seem right to feed wild animals but in the long run, it will hurt them. Wild animals will keep coming back to the places they received food. If you do this in your campsite, they will return to your campsite. When you leave, they will do the same to other hikers. Unfortunately, not all hikers or campers are as compassionate or as kind as you are. Another thing, wild animals are not built to eat human food. Giving them your food will affect their digestion. It may even poison them.

Feeding wild animals will let the predators in the area know that their prey come to your camp. This can ultimately tell them that they can catch prey or get a free meal from you. It will be wise to refrain from feeding any type of animal. This can significantly lower your chances of encountering a mountain lion.

Staying Safe on the Trail

Keep yourself safe when you hike in mountain lion country by practicing the following:

  • Teach the young hikers about cougars
  • Always hike with a companion or a group
  • Group yourselves together when you hike
  • Keep the children beside you all the time
  • Always stay on trails, during hours of daylight
  • Stay away from any wandering mountain lion kittens
  • Keep an eye out for mountain lion scratch piles, claw marks, and scat
  • Leave your pets at home because they are easy prey
  • Set up your campsite away from animal trails, thick brush, and cliffs
  • Prepare to defend yourself if you keep seeing glimpses of a mountain lion
  • Do not keep food outside your tent

Hiking is an opportunity to be closer to nature. But you don’t need to be too close that a mountain lion participates in your adventure. The mentioned tips can help you stay safe and happy from the beginning to the end of your hike.

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