What should you do if you encounter a cougar?


If you see a cougar, you are one of the few to have seen this elusive creature! Do not approach, but face the animal, speak firmly, wave your arms and back away.

Cougars, also called mountain lions, are large animals, often over 100 pounds, with long rope-like tails. They are usually reddish-tan to gray-brown, with black markings on the face and tail tip. Report all cougar sightings to a ranger. The cougar is a potentially dangerous animal, although attacks on humans are rare. If you see a cougar:

  • Do not approach, especially one that is near a recent prey-kill or has kittens.
  • Stop, stay calm and do not turn your back. Do not run.
  • Face the animal, stand upright, talk calmly and firmly to the cougar and give it a way to escape if you can.
  • Do all you can to appear larger. For example, open your jacket and raise and wave your arms.
  • Pick up small children immediately so they won’t panic, flee or make rapid movements.
  • If the cougar becomes more aggressive, become more aggressive toward it. Convince the animal that you are not prey, but a danger to it.
  • Fight back if attacked.