View Full Version : Mountian Lion. Would a whistle be a good idea?

05-14-2007, 11:47 PM
At the end of this month I will be in the Pagosa Springs (CO) area visiting my dad. We will be taking my 3 1/2 year old daughter fishing near his home and up at the Williams Creek Resivior. My dad had one mountian lion (and two black bear visits) walk across his driveway and onto his porch late one night about a month ago.

My question is:

Would it be a good thing to instruct my 3 1/2 year old daughter to blow her whistle IF she ever saw a mountian lion? I have been teaching her "DO NOT RUN!!" IF she sees a mountian lion.

I have been told that Mountian Lions MAY think the whistle (Fox 40 or Storm)is a wounded animal and it may inspire the lion to attack.

Anyway my daughter will be carying her whistle, a small photon flashlight, and an safety orange hankerchief on her anytime we are outside. She will also be wearing bright colored clothes.

May dad and I will be VERY close (within 10 feet) to her ANYTIME we are outside, especially when away from his home. I will also be packing a Glock 22 40 cal pistol, and a rifle or slug filled shotgun may be near in a vehicle. He also has two dogs that help keep an eye out for the other critters.

I know as my grandmother used to say, "THER IS NOTHING LIKE CLOSE ADULT SUPERVISION" when it comes to children.

Your input is appreciated.


05-15-2007, 06:53 AM
Your grandmothe is correct. I think all of your other ideas are solid. We have a few cats in our area and the large vocal dags have reduced cat tracks on out property to zero, they still travel the opposite side of the cayon.

05-15-2007, 08:56 AM
Happy children enjoying the bounty of the Wilderness miles from the trailhead...note the whistle, strictly adhered to buddy system, and <u>always</u> close proximity of an <u>always</u> well-armed adult.


05-15-2007, 09:46 AM
BEST thing I bought my boys for such a trip were hunter orange boonie hats. Sun protection AND you could see them a mile away, literally.

Grandma was right (as usual). BUT make sure you teach your daughter to hug a tree just in case. and always have a jacket. http://www.gpsar.org/hugatree.html

My opinion is that a storm or fox40 would be painful to a cat's hearing at close range and trigger fight or flight--which one would depend on the cat.

05-15-2007, 10:27 AM
That is a great link for people with kids. Nice sheet to set down and discuss the topic with your kids...wish I had it when my kids were younger. Some may be applicable today.


05-15-2007, 11:09 AM
I would want solids in my .40 if it might be turned against a Mtn Lion. Thats alot of thick muscle to penetrate.

Jim N
05-15-2007, 11:31 AM
Statistically, your kids are far safer under the watchful eye of a cougar than they are in the presence of other humans. I worry more about the punks racing around in their hopped up cars than I do about the big cats which roam our neighborhood.

05-15-2007, 11:32 AM
Typically lions are taken with small caliber handguns (read TC's) or rifles to protect the hides for mounting. Lions are not that tough (as compared to a bear or elk). Of course I knew a guy that shot bears for years with a 45 ACP. He said the secret was to get in close.....400 yards sounds about right /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif


idaho lad
05-15-2007, 01:03 PM
It's rare, but once in a while someone does get nail by a lion or bear. Even coyotes have attacked children in urban areas.

I really like the ideas set forth by everyone, and the precautions, and if I had children of my own, I'd be following them as well as staying close to the kids.

A couple of summers ago while driving the radio had an annoucement from the Ad council on drowning being one of the leading causes of childhood accidental deaths. There were a lot of boating and pool related deaths. So water/swimming/safety would be high on the list of things to watch.

Jim N
05-15-2007, 01:58 PM
I can tell you that a real threat to children, rotweilers, can be dealt with by a .40 judiciously applied.

05-15-2007, 02:08 PM
So can pit bulls. Guaranteed.

idaho lad
05-15-2007, 04:34 PM
I've seen one of those big poodles that was mean and attacked an old lady in Montana.

I've been bitten by heeler dogs before. I hate heelers. Good thing is they are all speed and no power.

Woods Walker
05-15-2007, 05:27 PM
I don't know anything about Mountain lions but if they hunt anything like other cats I bet one would take out a child before he/she even knows the cat is near. Stalking and lighting fast attacks are what all cats seem to excel at. Than there is the issue of the serrated teeth and retractable claws. Seems like they are natural born kills not that this makes them bad or evil. The whistle would never get used. Thinking the old method of keeping little ones near adults in areas with large predators would be the best bet. Works for nearly everything else in nature.

I agree with Bushcraft on the gun thing too. Why not and worth it's weight in gold if needed to deal with ALL Predators 4 legged or the more dangerous 2 legged variety. So many sickos running around that stalk Children.

Ed C
05-15-2007, 06:03 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: inFALable</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I would want solids in my .40 if it might be turned against a Mtn Lion. Thats alot of thick muscle to penetrate. </div></div>

Cougars are soft you can kill them with a 22lr.

05-15-2007, 06:38 PM
Well almost anything can be killed with a .22. But killing isn't stopping. A stop can be from breaking down load bearing bones or hitting the off switch (brain/spinal cord). Most personal protection JHP's are quite soft. When it comes to stopping a charge I want to be able to shoot all way through the animal.

Ed C
05-15-2007, 06:50 PM
Then by golly that is what you should do /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

Dale Lindsley
05-15-2007, 07:44 PM
I've never read an account of a cougar attack on a human where the human was not solo. Has anyone else heard of a cougar attack on someone in a group? I think keeping children close is the best bet.

Woods Walker
05-15-2007, 07:53 PM

I heard someplace that they tend to take animals less than 120 lbs but don't know. Seems that most of the attacks are on women hikers etc. But "most" must be a small number. Betting things like the car ride to the trailhead is far more dangerous than a cougar attack but than again what fun is there in talking about a car crash? Now bears, cougars, snakes, wolves and the ever-present danger of lightning seem far more entertaining and action packed. /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/grin.gif

Jim N
05-15-2007, 08:33 PM
WW - You are right. Being taken out by exploading hemmoroids does not gather you the same kind of press that going down while fighting off packs of ferocious beasties will bring you /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

Woods Walker
05-15-2007, 09:13 PM

Then there is the animals NEVER intentionally attack human stuff that seems to be pushed by some people who lost their objectivity. I was watching a show on National Geographic about some women that got killed by Alligators last year in Florida. People came up with totally crazy reasons why the attacks were not attacks but if fact savaging or something else. It involved a women jogging. With very weak evidence they concluded that this athletic women decided to stop right in the middle of jogging that she did every day to take drugs under a canal overpass. She passed out and the animal was just savaging. First off being primarily a scavenger myself I took offense to way they stated “just savaging". Secondly they had no real proof she was there but so what. On the flip side the actress playing the role of the jogger looked nice and she did a good reenactment of this story.

The other woman was for seemingly no reason commenting suicide and the last women was attacked in water. They could not claim it was suicide etc as she was swimming with other people but somehow she was at fault for you guessed it swimming. I don't think someone is at fault for swimming in a well known swimming hole just like the animal is not at fault as this is a human judgement that means nothing to the gator. Than there was that landscaper that was taken 15 feet from the water. Even though a witness said she was taken far from the edge and physical evidence stated this happened they claimed she was right near the edge. A nearly fanatical religious overlooking of facts. Same holds true for the guy killed by two wolves that got habituated to humans. The tracks showed one wolf following the guy and another wolf cutting him off by a frozen lake. Than they both ran him down. They tried to blame the guy for running even with the tracks showing the wolves tracking him and a few days before moved on two guys within 30 feet and they had photos to prove it. But somehow some way a bear was tossed into the mix and now "we may never know what happened". /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/crazy.gif Than there was that special with the bull shark lover swimming with the sharks and feed them in shallow water. One shark tore off his calf muscle. To explain this they created a video recreation of a remora fish going for some food that this clown was tossing into the waer. A shark went after the remora. So the attack was an “accident and unintentional”. Too bad no one seen this so-called opps the shark bit your leg rather than the remora near the leg event in the same detail as shown on TV. Just a guess made true with TV magic. The guy went back to doing the same stupid stuff and someone got hit again.

I think that any attack is just plain old very very very bad luck. The numbers just don't add up unless we are talking about insects and rats. Both are in a fight to see which one can kill the most humans and take over the world. My money is on the bugs. Tell you what scares me. Last week I was flyfishing and a 4-foot stone slab came lose and smacked my leg as I tried to scramble up a deeply undercut stream bank. Just like the car crash to the trail accidents on the trail are a much bigger risk but don’t seem to make good copy. For the first time in two years I used my FAK for something rather than a splinter. Just got a nasty bloody scrape. I lucked out big time. My buddy on the other hand was not so lucky as he almost stepped on a snake the other day flyfishing. Of course nearly crapping his paints was the only real risk but you should have heard the story./images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/eek.gif /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/laugh.gif

Still even though I know the chance is nearly zero and DWI drunks and seemingly meteor impacts if I am to believe the latest special I seen on the boob tube are all far greater risk to children. But even knowing this if my little nephew was in cougar country the silly Mountian lion would be on my mind. Must be hard wired into the human brain. This little guy would be on the losing end of a fight with even a possum. /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/frown.gif

Colorado Kid
05-15-2007, 09:42 PM
A few years ago up the Cache la Poudre river a small child (3yrs?) ran ahead of his parents and disappeared. They think a cat was watching and got him when he was out of sight of his parents.

A few years before that in Estes Park a cat treed a small man on an evening run for the entire night. He told me that he could hear the cat trying to climb high enough to get him. This guy, Moses, was smaller than the cat.
Washington Post (7/13/97)

Here is a site of confirmed Mountain Lion attacks

Jim N
05-15-2007, 09:53 PM
WW - Seems like no matter what the odds, someone will win the lottery.

I have a acquaintence who accidentally killed his brother in law while bowhunting outside of Eugene many years back. He had overshot a deer & his arrow cleared a hill & parked itself in his brother in laws chest a good way down the backside of the hill ... they had not seen each other all day. Imagine the odds. I guess when your time is up, it's up.

There are many ways life tries to reduce us to compost. Seems the more mundane they are, the more effective. Glad you did not end up under that slab!

Woods Walker
05-15-2007, 11:04 PM
I am betting with my luck that one day lighting cooks my bones than a fight breaks out between a wolf pack, both brown and black bears and a lone cougar for the meat. For good measure a rattlesnake somehow crawled into my tent and gotten off a few bites before the lightning strike. The slab falling was so unexpected. I stepped on the darn thing and the whole world moved. Never in a million year looking at it would I have guess the thing was ready to go.

05-16-2007, 12:21 AM

05-16-2007, 06:15 AM
My suggestion would be that you avoid the whistle thing all together. First, we don't know what the result would be. Second, you are the only one who can protect her at age 3. She is really not responsible to protect herself at that age. Her job is to be carefree and enjoy the outdoors and her parents. Yes she should learn how to obey her parents and be generally aware of her own safety, but you don't want her thinking there is a mountain lion around every bush waiting to tear her to pieces. Just keep a close watch on her and have fun. The orange hat and the glock are great ideas to accomplish all that by the way.

Buck W
05-16-2007, 08:40 AM
Dale, while generally one is less likely to be attacked when traveling in groups there are exceptions. Last fall the husband of a couple hiking together in Prairie Creek State Park in extreme northern California (where I grew up) was attacked by a small female cougar. The aggressive and courageous actions of his wife saved his life. I have heard or read of other instances of this occurring, but they are much rarer than attacks on solo individual.

05-16-2007, 09:29 AM
I'm not sure the whistle would do much good unless she was away from you, and to alert you, and I think at 3 years old thats something you should avoid..

And you never know where you might find a lion. I hunt coyotes with my dogs. I do it a little different than most, I call them in while I'm on horse back and the dogs catch them. I only do it from October to March when the pelts are prime and you have to be in kinda open country to catch them. Anyway at the end of last year I was out in the desert trying to get some video of how I do it. The dogs took off through the brush.. I just assumed it was a coyote when I got to them this what I found..





The pictures came off the video so there not very good. It was about a 75 pound female she was full grown they don't get as big out here in the desert but she was tough.

Buck W
05-16-2007, 09:34 AM
Cowboyvon. That's quite something!!

Very few horses will take a cougar draped over the saddle. For eons the cougar mantra has been 'horse, it's what's for dinner' I see by the rubber on the horn that you do some roping.

05-17-2007, 07:18 AM
One may want to tell the mt biker in Cali that mt lions don't attack humans...or eat them. I am sure it was a crazy cat and not just hungry.

I would think that a good dog would help as well. They have senses that we can only wish that we had. A Lab or ??? that grows up with a youngster will lay down it's life to protect a young one. I have seen this time and time again with black labs as well as german shepards and other dogs. They seem to mother the kids (it usually has been a female dog).


idaho lad
05-17-2007, 02:29 PM
The dog protection thing can be quite true. I had a male pit bull as a kid that loved people, really loved horses and sleeping under them, and loved to play and chase other animal and people.

He was gentle around almost anyone, but if something strange or threatening came my way my gentle bull became a lion, even if someone started yelling at me, it pissed him off.

For some weird reason he was extremely protetive of me and my dad's belgium horse.

05-17-2007, 05:56 PM

What breed are your dogs?


05-17-2007, 07:43 PM

BOY HOWDY!!! Is your blind horse named Anosmia?!?!?! /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/grin.gif

Just kidding...That is one hell of a horse you've got there Cowboyvon! Whistle me impressed with your horse and horsemanship!

I've got a pretty little bay mare that got raked on her neck pretty good by a lion when she almost three. A dog she knows yes, but there's no way she'd put up with a big bloody cat draped across the saddle. Way cool.

05-18-2007, 06:23 AM
The dogs are sight hounds ... but they do use there nose some but depend more on there eyes to catch. We call them wolf hounds, coyote hounds or if they have a lot hair stag hounds.

They all have some greyhound in them and probably some Borzoi or Scottish Deerhound. They have been bred for years in the plain states to catch coyotes.

Most of the time they use jump boxes on trucks and drive around until they spot a coyote, then they will put the gas on and try to get close enough to get a good start for the dogs, and jump them out. I do that some on the of farms around here but not often.

Our country is a little too brushy and rough for that so I started going out on horse back with an electronic call. I try to lure coyotes out into an open area where the dogs can get a good start.


This is Joe... he's getting some age on him but he loves to catch coyotes..


I ride and train some young horses and rope so this works well with that. There is nothing like sitting on one all day to get them right and being out there alone they develop a lot of trust in you.


Kevin B
05-18-2007, 06:38 AM
cowboy, I read an article it has to be 10 years or more ago about "gaze hounds" that described your hunts and your dogs to a T. I knew what they were just by looking at them. The article described gaze, or sight hounds as a greyhound, substantially larger, heavier and more durable. Looks like fun.

05-18-2007, 08:27 AM
In college I had a friend that used greyhounds to chase and airdales to finish coyotes. He drove the roads and had levers to open the side that was closest to the coyote. The greyhounds would run down the coyote and knock it to the ground. When it turned to fight the airdale would hit it full speed and finish the fight. Never really wanted to go on a hunt with him as there wasn't too much hunting to be had. Might have been more interested if I had some dogs to throw into the mix.


05-18-2007, 08:41 AM
Neat story, and photos, Cowboyvon. Welcome.

05-18-2007, 10:01 AM
Horses, dogs and dead coyotes what's not to like!

05-18-2007, 03:17 PM
Great pictures, Joe is looking good. Like Kevin said, sounds like fun. If you are inclined to talk about your dogs some more how about starting a new topic.


06-08-2007, 01:06 AM
We are back from our trip. Did not see any mountian lions. We DID see a wolf, deer, rabbits, crows, lizard, varmit, and caught lots of crappie and one big trout! The weather was great.

ray porter
06-08-2007, 06:23 AM
oh boy wolves in the weminuche where i hunt. ray

06-08-2007, 09:06 AM
There are no wolves in Colorado, everybody knows that ;-)

I ran across one in the west elks in 93 or so. Most likely just passing through at that point.