A couple of weeks ago, Andy Zipser wrote an article about more wildlife moving into urban areas. Today, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department released the following press release, which is a perfect example of Zipser’s article. Although it is not aimed directly at RVers (but it does specifically mention campgrounds), the message applies!
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officers are warning residents in Grand Lake of increased mountain lion activity after the death of one dog and injuries to two others since December.
CPW was alerted to the latest incident around 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 23. The dog and its owner were returning home from a walk when the mountain lion lunged, grabbing the dog off the porch steps. The dog owner was able to scare the mountain lion, getting it to let go of the dog and run off. The injured dog was taken to a local veterinarian.
Wildlife officers located the wild animal by following tracks in the snow to a tree located near the home. Based on information about the incident from the dog owner, the wildlife officer determined there was a threat to human health and safety, and made the decision to euthanize the mountain lion. The lion was determined to be a sub-adult (between the ages of 1.5 – 2 years) female.
The first incident occurred on the evening of Dec. 19, 2022. After letting her dog out around 10 p.m., the dog owner heard her dog make a noise. While opening the door to see what was going on, the owner hit the mountain lion with the door, causing it to drop the dog and run off. The dog was injured but survived.
On Thursday, Jan. 19, wildlife officers responded to reports of another lion that killed a dog as it and its owner were returning from a walk. The dog was off-leash, in close proximity behind the owner, when a female adult mountain lion (around 7 years) grabbed the dog from under a porch.
After attempts to scare off the animal were unsuccessful, the mountain lion was shot and killed by the dog owner’s husband. After investigating, the responding wildlife officer determined there was a threat to human health and safety and did not ticket the dog owner.
The Dec. 19 and Jan. 19 incidents occurred in the same area west of Shadow Mountain Reservoir.
If you must let your pet out between dusk through dawn when mountain lions are most active, check the area and make your presence known by turning lights on and making noise before letting your pet out. The goal is to make a mountain lion feel as uncomfortable and unwanted as possible so they will leave. Keep a close eye on them and never leave them out overnight.
When walking your dogs, especially in campgrounds, keep them leashed until you enter your home. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract mountain lions.
What to do if you encounter a mountain lion
S- Stop. Do not run!
M- Make yourself look big.
A- Announce your presence in an authoritative voice: “LEAVE ME ALONE, LION!”
R- Retreat by backing away slowly.
T- Tell an adult about the encounter.
If you see a mountain lion, haze it away from your property by making loud noises – setting off your car alarm, banging pots and pans together, blowing a whistle or air horn, etc.
To report a mountain lion sighting or encounter in Grand and Summit counties, contact the Hot Sulphur Springs CPW office at 970-725-2600. For after-hours wildlife emergencies, you can also contact the Colorado State Patrol at 970-824-6501 and they will forward your report on to wildlife officers.
Keep them away from your home and campsite
- Do not feed wildlife. Feeding one species will bring in the entire food chain. Remove bird feeders. Birdseed will attract numerous small game and deer to your yard, which will in turn invite mountain lions.
- Don’t feed pets outside; this can attract raccoons and other animals that are prey for mountain lions.
- Supervise your pet when outside, especially dusk through dawn.
- Keep your pets under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract mountain lions. Bring pets in at night. If you leave your pets outside, keep them in a kennel with a secure top.
- If deer are lingering on your property, you can haze them away (yell, use air horn, alarms, etc.) to minimize the chance of a mountain lion encounter in your yard. If you have deer, you will have mountain lions. Same goes for raccoons.
Add this to the list of to-do’s:
Support scientific wildlife management, as practiced by most state Departments of Wildlife/Natural Resources. Emotions around wildlife abound, but in a modern society the trained science professionals who develop programs to keep populations in balance are best suited to design and execute solutions.