Ever have a close call with a deadly wild animal?

Mountain Lion - Often called the Mountain Lion, Puma or Cougar it is the largest wild cat found in the United States.
United States
June 9, 2007 8:20am CST
Back in the early 80's me and my boyfriend moved to Colorado. I had always loved the mountains and the forests of the west since our first family vacation trips out west when I was a kid. We made it a regular routine about once a month to go camping and roughing it for a couple of days. All we brought with us was a tent, sleeping bag and a few necessities. We would fish for our food or whatever else we could catch. One weekend we got our camp set up and went looking for dead trees for firewood. My boyfriend took the ax and went up one side of the hill and I took the saw and headed up the other. I got almost to the top when I heard a very low growling and by the sound I could tell it was a very large cat. To say the least I froze in my tracks. I took a quick look around and couldn't see it so I figured it must be coming from the top of the hill above me just out of sight. I yelled to my boyfriend and asked if he could see me from where he was and he said yes. I said "There's a very big cat growling at me over here, can you see where it is?" He looked and couldn't see it either. I told him I was going to back down the hill going tree to tree and for him to work his was over toward me and meet me at the bottom of the hill. As I backed down the hill the growling got farther and farther away so I knew I it wasn't following me, just watching. When we both got to the bottom of the hill I looked up to the top of the hill and there standing on top of a large boulder was a mountain lion. The boulder was only about 10 ft from where I had been standing when I first heard the growl. Too close for comfort!It didn't stop me from going camping again, but we both learned the lesson of being prepared for such encounters in the future. I started carrying an air horn and we always went for firewood together instead of separating. Has any of you had a close encounter with a large predator out in the wild before?
9 people like this
24 responses
• United States
9 Jun 07
just snakes for me-although i did see fresh scrapes on a tree up on the mountain. i got out of there before i found either mama or baby bear.they couldn't have been too far.
• United States
9 Jun 07
That was very wise of you! Bears scare me worse than anything up in the mountains. They are so huge. That was something we had to be well aware of when we'd go camping too. Lots of snakes where we liked to go camping. We never picked up rocks or sat on rocks without kicking the over first or sweeping around them with a very long stick. Thanks :D
6 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
I don't think this quite qualifies, as a scrape with a large predator, but it scared the living daylights out of me. In the mid 80's my husband and I were newly married and we lived in Southern AZ. The canyons are breathtaking as is the desert landscape. We were camping and hiking the canyons one weekend, and early morning I got out of the tent to find a spot due to the call of nature, I was squatted down and was tinkling when a skunk came out from behind a mesquite tree. I squealed and tried to stand up, and ended up tripping over my shorts as I could not get them pulled up. I sat there on the ground while the skunk stared me down with his tail raised high into the air. I dared not move or breath, I guess this was the right thing to do, after a moment or two, he wondered back off leaving me unscented. Man I got up and ran straight for the tent. I shall never forget the kindness of that old skunk.
5 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
Hey that qualifies as wild encounter! LOL. You did absolutely the right thing. They won't spray unless they feel threatened so as long as you're not moving you're ok. We have a lot of skunks in our area and they used to come around at night searching for scraps. The neighbor's dog would always chase them and get sprayed. Oh the smell was horrible and would stink up the yard for days. WHEWWWW!! He finally learned to keep his dog inside at night.
4 people like this
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
9 Jun 07
Not that I am aware however I am so fond of critters that I would probably talk and sing and then back away or allow it to move on after its curiousity would wane. Am glad you survived this one and that nothing has occured since. We must respect them in their front yards and can only hope we don't take any more from them.
5 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
You are absolutely right. When you're in their yard you have to live on their terms. Which means get the heck out of their way and leave them alone... LOL Thanks :D
4 people like this
@weemam (13377)
9 Jun 07
You must have been terrified , I live in Scotland and I have never had an experience like that nor would I want to lol , The only wild animals I have ever seen were in Edinburgh Zoo and I for one are quite happy for things to stay like that , mind you that is a brilliant story to tell to your children and grandchildren when you have them , good luck xx
4 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
I'll admit I got a pretty impressive surge of adrenaline when I first heard that growl. Things echo so much up in those hills I couldn't tell which direction it was coming from. Heck it could have walked up and bit me on my behind before I ever saw it! LOL Thanks :D
2 people like this
@weemam (13377)
9 Jun 07
Lol if it was anything like me one taste wouldn't have been enough xxx
3 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
not realy the worst thing that ever happened to me was being bit by a black widow spider it was the sickest i have ever been and to thi s day spiders freak me out !
• United States
9 Jun 07
I don't blame you, I got a couple of bad bites from a cousin of the brown recluse and still have huge scars on my leg from it. It's phenomenal the damage that tiny amount of venom can do. I too was very sick for long time and have had health problems ever since. I get a bit nervous when I see a spider in my house. It's funny I used to have a pet tarantula and big spiders still don't bother me, it's the little bitty ones that make me jump!
2 people like this
@inked4life (4227)
• United States
9 Jun 07
yikes...thats scary...the closes I got was when a friend and I were hiking in the Kananaskis area in Alberta..we were on a very off the beaten path trail and walked head on into the path of a grizzly....he was busy digging in the ground for something and obviously didn't hear us coming...we backed up slowly for a couple of paces and then turned heel and ran....probably not the best idea
4 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
Yikes yourself, dang a grizzzz! It's amazing what adrenaline can do to you. I'll bet you never ran so fast in your life. Between a mountain lion and a grizzly bear, I'll take the mountain lion any day at least you've got a fighting chance if it's not too big. With a grizzly you can just put your head between your legs and kiss you butt goodbye... LOL
3 people like this
• Pakistan
9 Jun 07
Yeah i it was early in 2000 when i went to my farm house and while i was walking around the farm house i stopped over something that i thought that it is some piece of wood but suddenly it started to move and then i realize that it is a snake and then i started to run away from that snake and thanks GOD that he never attacked me.
• United States
9 Jun 07
You were very lucky you didn't step on it. So many people get bitten because they didn't realize the snake was there. That's why I don't mind rattlesnakes so much, if you get too close they will make a lot of noise first and give you a chance to get away. But most snakes don't make any noise.
3 people like this
@webeishere (36353)
• United States
9 Jun 07
My dad has a large farm up in Northern Minnesota. As a child I would go into the back woods picking wild blueberries. Well that ended one year very suddenly when I was arouind 20 years old. As I got to the favorite batch of blueberries I set my tubs down and starting wandering looking where the largest area was for getting these deliciuos berries. After I found an area I grabbed my tubs walking a few feet to my area of choice. After a couple minutes and one tub being filled I heard some rustling in the woods further up from me. I sat down being perfectly still as there are bears, wolves,eagles, hawks and other wildlife that wouldn't be pleased with me taking their lunch from their area. After a few seconds the rustling stopped then I heard a THUD sound. Looking to my left there were the cutes little cubs. 2 of them. Maybe 1 yrear old. Then their mother stood up at least 7 feet high. I could not move as I was froze in fear as a young adult. Well she sniffed the air. Let out a couple whimpering growls then nudged her 2 cubs with her nose and left off deep into the woods. I left the berries and tubs running in the opther direction. I have not been into those woods again to pick berries. Ive been back with the 4 wheeler but not for the berries. Let the bears have them from now on I thought. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!~
@webeishere (36353)
• United States
9 Jun 07
Sorry after reading this I realized some may not realize that it was a Black Bear that I encountered. LOL
3 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
Wow that was close call, especially with the cubs! Mama bears are so protective. You probably did the best thing in that case by freezing in your tracks and not making any threatening moves. Thanks for the hair raising story!
3 people like this
@webeishere (36353)
• United States
9 Jun 07
I froze more in awe than shock or fear. I wished I'd have had a camera though. The cubs were so adorable looking.
3 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
I went to visit a friend in Colorado back in '96, and we were out hiking in Rocky Mountain State Park, we seperated for some reason or another, and I found myself in an open field with chest high grass. I started through the field, and I heard a very loud rattle. I'm from the east coast, but I am an avid watcher of all channels nature. I knew that it was some brand of rattlesnake. I froze and waited in place for like 15 minutes before backing out the way I came. I never saw it, but I know I wouldv'e been screwed if I would have continued any further.
• United States
9 Jun 07
There are so many different kinds of snake out there but that rattle is one of the most terrifying sounds there is! You did exactly the right thing. Thanks for your story!
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
9 Jun 07
Good morning Craftcatcher, I used to live in Upstate NY. Once, out hiking with the dog, we lost sight of 'Bear'. We tracked off in the direction he was last seen, and started to hear him barking like crazy. As we got closer, we saw that he'd tree'd a bobcat. I didn't even know there were bobcats in NY. Anyway, we leashed Bear, and high-tailed it outa' there. I now live in New Mexico, and when we first bought our land out in the sticks, I did see the biggest dad gum paw-prints I've ever seen. They were larger than my outstretched hand. Little doubt they were mountain lion. We started fencing our acreage the next weekend. It was quite a chore, but with the fence, and the dogs we never saw the lion, in the flesh ... thankfully. In addition to the mountain lions, we also have many black bear and rattlers, out here. Although the scariest close call here comes from the spiders and scorpions. We have Black Widows, and Brown Recluse both. Ewww, not only are they creepy, but they pack a heck of a wallup when they bite. My neighbor has a big indentation in the top of her hand, where a Recluse bit her last summer. Their venom causes necrosis of the surrounding tissue. So, they had to carve out a piece of her hand to stop the spread of the necrosis.
• United States
9 Jun 07
Oh yes I have some experience (and big scars) from a close cousin of the brown recluse. Wicked little monsters! I love the southwest but it does keep you on your toes. You learn pretty quickly to look for things that you never thought to look for before. Shaking out your shoes, looking under rocks before sitting on them, looking in your mailbox before sticking your hand in. Eventually they become second nature but it's a little daunting at first! Best of luck to you :D Keep your eyes open for critters! LOL
2 people like this
@aprilgrl (4460)
• United States
9 Jun 07
Thanks for sharing your story. I had a bull running after me as I had a red tank top on, I ran like hell and jumped over a fence and I was all scratched up from the fence . I happened to be in a field since I live in a country and saw this big bull starring at me and I did froze for a monment then he was comming after me so I panic and ran like I have never done before.
3 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
You were very lucky! Bulls can be pretty tempermental creatures. I sure wouldn't want to have an encounter with one.
3 people like this
@SKLC_PT (1234)
11 Jun 07
Well you are lucky it growled, it's a sign that it was most probably trying to tell you to go away and not hunting for you maybe it had a litter of kittens nearby and didn't want you near them. If it was hunting you it would not have made a sound. Well I can't remember much and it's no hunting predator but before I was 6 years old and lived in South Africa we had a lot of close encounters with dangerous snakes. Once we nearly got charged by a huge black bull, it was just as big as our large tractor that me my brother my sister and my granddad were on, and it wasn't sure if it wanted to charge us, a magnificent animal, I don't remember the snakes as much but the bull marked me in such a way that I still remember it, if it had charged we might have had serious trouble.
• United States
12 Jun 07
Something that size can definitely make an impression especially one so young. At that age any large animal looks twice their real size and so intimidating. You all were very lucky he didnt' charge, hot tempered beasts they are.. it's all that testosterone.. :D I had an incident with a horse when I was about 6 yrs old. He was a beautiful palomino and to me he was as big as a house. Unfortunately he didn't like children so he knocked me down and gave me a good thump on the chest with his hoof. He wasn't trying to hurt me, just a warning. But I still remember it! Mom said I had a horseshoe mark on my chest for about a week. But I still love horses anyway.. LOL
2 people like this
@SKLC_PT (1234)
12 Jun 07
Some horses can have a temperament, in a way they are still wild animals. I think all animals have their wild side, even the ones we find to make best pets. Even a Yorkshire Terrier that small cute thing can have a wild side, you can notice it in quite a bit of small dogs as they tend to think they are bigger then all the other dogs, I had a few small dogs, once my pikenese wanted to beat up a huge black Labrador, I'm lucky I managed to grab hold of the Labrador and my mom our pikenese, cause even I had a hard time holding the Labrador. And the bigger the animal is the more dangerous it can be if the calling of the wild kicks in and they aren't so tame anymore. I'm going to work with horses, I know they are very nervous animals but some can have some bad attitudes or just certain bad habits, there was a stallion where I volunteered once, he was real tame, but if you were taking him out and he saw a female he could trample you to get to her, luckily I never got into the situation. They said he was like that because one of the teachers that used to be there would tease him with the mares, strutting them in front of him to see his reaction.
2 people like this
@gberlin (3836)
10 Jun 07
I have never had a close encounter like that I I have been hiking in Colorado but it was in the winter. I have been camping many times in Michigan, Maryland, Oregon and have not encountered any wild animals like that. What an adventure!
• United States
10 Jun 07
It was definitely memorable. To this day I can hear that growl in my head like it happened yesterday.
2 people like this
@gberlin (3836)
12 Jun 07
I imagine you will be remembering that growl for the rest of your life. What a great story to tell the grandkids!
1 person likes this
@misheleen73 (6037)
• United States
10 Jun 07
Not me personally, but my husband did. My husband is Cuban and came to the United States via a home made raft. It was 4 large tractor tire innertubes held together by rope. There were 9 people aboard. They had a motor until one of the men cut his leg on the blade while trying to repair it. For the next few days of their 7 day long journey, they had to keep dumping diesel fuel into the water to scare away the sharks that were circling the raft, attracted by the blood fron this man's leg.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Jun 07
Oh wow, how terrifying for them. I can't even fathom being in a situation so desperate that you feel compelled to put your life on the line to escape your own country. It's such a terrible situation for them in Cuba. I hope someday very soon they will have a democratic leadership and not feel that kind of desperation any longer. With being so close to the US and all the trade possibilities available they could have such a wonderful and prosperous life in their own country. It's so sad.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Jun 07
yes, we can all hope for the changes necessary in the years to come. It has been way too long.
1 person likes this
@addysmum (1225)
• Canada
10 Jun 07
About 8 years ago I was living in a mountain community. One day the dogs where barking so I went out to get them, I saw a large rack going through the bushes. Thinking that it was a deer I grabbed my camera and went to the clearing just down from my door. When it came out of the trees it was a very large 10 point bull Elk and he was only about 4 feet away from where I was standing. I pushed the shutter on me camera and got 4 pictures, as I slowly backed away and averted my eyes so as to not make him angry. It was one of the dumbest things I have ever done. My dad was so mad at me, I grew up in the mountains and knew better then to get that close. I just wasn't thinking Elk I was thinking Deer.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Jun 07
Wow that was close, Elk can get a bit testy! It's something when they'll let you get that close and not do anything. Of course you feel like a very lucky fool afterwards buy hey you got away with it! :D Thanks for the story!
1 person likes this
@addysmum (1225)
• Canada
10 Jun 07
I have to say that every time I think about it I think how stupid I was. I didn't have my dogs because I locked them up so I could get a picture. I do have to say that I got 4 really great up close and personal pictures of the elk.
2 people like this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
9 Jun 07
cant say that I have just snakes rattlers and water moccasins
2 people like this
• United States
9 Jun 07
Those qualify as dangerous. I like snakes but I get a little nervous around venomous snakes. Thanks
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
10 Jun 07
yup I know I tend to try not to run up on them any more
2 people like this
@Stiletto (4584)
10 Jun 07
I live in the UK and we don't have any big scary wild animals here. However when I was in West Africa I did go down into a crocodile pit and walked about amongst them. Naively I thought it was just a touristy thing that everyone did and it would be safe - it was only after I climbed back out that I discovered I was the first tourist to do it. I suppose a clue should have been that the boy who walked round with me only had one arm. No wonder the locals were all standing round the top watching me - they probably thought I had sunstroke or something!
2 people like this
• United States
10 Jun 07
Oh Stiletto, I'm sorry but I had to laugh out loud on that one. Yep the one arm should have been a screaming clue! So to the locals you were either incredibly brave or they were waiting for the dinner show to begin. I'm glad you got out of there safely. You've got a lot of guts hon, I'm just glad they didn't end up all over West Africa! LOL.
1 person likes this
• Canada
10 Jun 07
This one time when I was hiking with a large group through a mountain range, we found ourselves on a moose trail. We did not know what it was, but we were lucky we realized it and got off. Moose are not generally forgiving of people on their trails.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Jun 07
You're very lucky you didn't come across one! Moose can get very nasty and they are so huge and powerful.
1 person likes this
@dawnhm6 (48)
• United States
10 Jun 07
Does a 3 inch long garter snake count?! Sorry, I hate snakes. It had me standing on a central air unit for a good 10 minutes!
2 people like this
• United States
10 Jun 07
Hey in my book if you're afraid it counts! Cant' say I'm afraid of snakes but I know a whole lot of people who are and I can sympathize.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (101612)
• United States
9 Jun 07
That is quite exciting, in retrospect. I am sure it was pretty scary at the time. Bravo, that it did not scare you away from the pleasures of camping, but only wised you up. So, would an air horn frighten the cat, or just call someone to help you? You sound pretty smart, to go down backwards so you could watch behind you. I am not sure I would have thought of that.
• United States
10 Jun 07
Hi GardenGerty! I still love camping, though I'm getting to the age where comfort is a little more important to me! LOL. I got the air horn to frighten creatures away. The one I had would hit about 130 decibels which would stop almost anything in its tracks and scare it away. I was never one for carrying weapons but I wanted to be able to defend myself somehow. That was the only non-lethal thing I could think of. Thanks for stopping by hon!
1 person likes this