Big cat sightings put areas on notice
Mountain lions, we know from irrefutable evidence, have again taken up residence in central and western North Dakota. It means possible encounters with big cats. And circumstances dictate that people young and old be aware of the possibility of r...
Mountain lions, we know from irrefutable evidence, have again taken up residence in central and western North Dakota. It means possible encounters with big cats. And circumstances dictate that people young and old be aware of the possibility of running into a mountain lion. And they need to know what to do if that happens.
Stop. Do not run. Do not challenge the mountain lion or cougar. Make yourself look bigger by opening your coat or extending your arms -- never bend over or crouch down -- doing so resembles four-legged prey. Don't turn your back to a cougar; it exposes your neck, the part of the body mountain lions normally go for first. If attacked, fight back with whatever is available; rocks, sticks, fists and go for the eyes. Outside of the home, clear brush that could hide mountain lions or their prey; rabbits, raccoons, etc. Keep pets secured at night and do not leave pet food out. It can attract smaller animals which, in turn, can attract mountain lions. Always supervise young children when they are at play outdoors.
There has been a recent, apparent mountain lion sighting locally; and incidents at the USDA research center southwest of Mandan suggesting the presence of a big cat.
A 14-year-old Bismarck boy on a bicycle reported seeing a mountain lion in the area of 3540 N. 19th St. on Thursday. The sighting was not confirmed. However, it's the same area. within the city limits, where a Bismarck police officer shot a mountain lion last November.
At the USDA research center, which abuts Mandan on the southwest, a mountain lion is suspected of recently killing eight or nine sheep. North Dakota Game and Fish Department Wildlife Chief Randy Kreil said four trail cameras were installed in the area but were not triggered by a mountain lion. And, a number of U.S. Wildlife Service staffers camped out in the area for two nights with vision equipment and dogs, but they did not find a mountain lion.
Layer this information on the following from the Associated Press: There have been 53 mountain lion deaths reported in the state since 2004. Thirty-two were killed by hunters, nine were caught in traps, five were killed to protect property or people, four were killed illegally and three were found dead. The first week of June, an adult male mountain lion was shot and killed near Mandaree.
And while most of the mountain lions have been found west of the Missouri River, the cats have some presence to the east as well.
The mountain lion numbers here make the case for awareness and caution.
North Dakotans love the outdoors. With that love comes a degree of risk. But being sensible and knowledgeable about mountain lions, or boating on the Missouri River, or hiking in the Badlands, reduces that risk and makes for safe enjoyment of the wonderful place in which we live.