Cake
  • Log In
  • Sign Up
    • I was hiking yesterday on muddy trails and saw what looked like mountain lion tracks. They have warning signs in the area about them.

      I don't know what it is about them, but they are so scary. I wonder how you can fight them off?

    • It's important to understand that we "share" the country with many types of wild animals. Personally, I fear wild dogs more than most other species, just because a pack of wild dogs tend to have less fear of humans than other species (except, of course, other humans).

      When you see tracks of predatory animals you are in their territory. You may want to explore other venues in the future because you may be at greater risk on that trail.

      Prevention is pretty important to personal protection. Scent and noise are valuable deterrents.

      The Scandinavians have believed for centuries that bells help prevent wildlife encounters and I believe that too. A pair of bells on a lanyard around your neck is a simple and good strategy. Talking in a loud voice, even just talking to yourself, is another tactic, as is singing.

      For scent-based protection I have tested 3 which work for small wildlife, and which may work as a deterrent for large wildlife as well; no guarantees. Peppermint oil extract, fresh-ground black pepper and ammonia.

      Years ago, I was active with my son in the Boy Scouts. One of the places we went to every year was Camp Lowden, a Boy Scout campground. It had a terrible problem with raccoons, and, at the time, we used an old GI issue canvas lean-to tent for provisions. Every night the 'coons would sneak into the tent and get into the provisions. That quickly got old so I grabbed my pepper mill from my own provisions and put a healthy dose around the tent as a scent barrier. While I peppered the tent every morning and every evening afterward, the raccoons stayed away. I also found out that racoons have the cutest sneeze.

      I've used peppermint oil for both mice and squirrel problems. For a residence without family pets, peppermint oil is a good deterrent, and more effective overall than traps or poisons. Peppermint oil is also supposed to be good to help hide food scents on your person, so that may help in some wild animal encounters.

      I've used ammonia now on 2 occasions against outdoor squirrels. In the first case, a squirrel living in a tree near my back door had become aggressive, and it rushed me on a couple of occasions. I used a carpet cleaner, I think it was designed for pet cleanup, and it had a pretty strong ammonia scent. I sprayed the side of the tree closest to the house while the squirrel watched. The squirrel got pretty upset that I had so potently peed the tree, but it left me alone afterward. Later, it must have moved out of the tree, because the nest appeared to be picked apart by birds.
      More recently some squirrels were hiding inside my car, probably in the engine compartment. I purchased some ammonia all-purpose cleaner and sprinkled that around 3-sides of the car. (Always leave an avenue for the animals to leave in.) Watching to see if a reapplication is required.

      Finally, "Bear Spray" is a known deterrent for cougars/mountain lions actively stalking humans, demonstrated here:

    • Thanks ziggy. I wondered about some kind of spray for mountain lions.

      You reminded me of some dog trainers I've known who put ammonia in a spray bottle to to discourage dogs from chasing cars. They say it only takes a few times of squirting ammonia on the dog from the car before they decide chasing cars is not fun.

    • Wow. I wonder if pepper spray will work as well as bear spray? Are they the same thing? It seems pretty simple to get some pepper spray but I don't know if I would be fast enough to use it.

    • It is my understanding that pepper spray and bear spray are similar but different enough that only bear spray is proven effective, both by volume (bear spray is a much larger canister) and by delivery (bear spray is designed to hold a stream to 30 ft, while pepper spray is a close-quarter deterrent.)

      According to this Yellowstone page, https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/bearspray.htm

      Where to Buy
      Bear spray is sold at gift shops, outdoor stores, service stations, and bookstores inside the park, as well as in local communities. Always select an EPA-approved product that is specifically designed to stop bears. Personal defense, jogger defense, law enforcement or military defense sprays may not contain the correct ingredients, or have the proper delivery system, to stop a charging bear.

    • Fortunately, it would appear that both the cougar and the humans reacted in a way which produced minimum fear, and which evoked the best possible outcome to that story.

    • The runner went public with his story about how he defeated the mountain lion. I heard the whole thing took something like 11 minutes.

    • The Dirtbag Diaries podcast had a man on who described a mountain lion that followed him for multiple hours alone on a trail. Apparently, this is something that is not too rare in the PNW. Cats are interested in peoples' headlights and like to follow. My god, that is my worst nightmare scenario, being followed by a cat. That is scarier than a close grizzly bear or rattlesnake encounter.

      He had nothing to defend him, so he put his jells and waterbottles around his neck. Never thought of this, but so smart. Cats most commonly kill people by an ambush attack to the neck from behind.

    • Bear spray is less effective with moutains lions for two reasons. First, they usually attack from behind, often striking with no warning. Second, they don't charge in a straight line. They're more likely to make they're way around a cloud of bear spray.

      The most effective defense is avoidance: a talkative group of people with you in the wilderness bulletproof safety. Cats almost never attack people in groups of three or more.

      If I ever live to defend against an initial mountain lion attack, I plan to use my trekking poles that are almost always in my hands in the wilderness.