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Flash Gordon
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 2:44 pm 
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5000 Road outside of Granite Falls

I was hiking at night this last Saturday and about 4 miles into the hike came up on 3 mountain lions. about 30 feet away.
I thought it was scary.
I wanted no part of them. Nope! Hike is over!
Backed up slowly. Head on a swivel and very bright flashlight scanning everywhere for the rest of the way back to my car
Dog never noticed them at all.

I am a super big chicken sh##. Most frightened I have been... pretty much ever. And they didn't even do anything.

Mountain lions are my boogey man.

Ambush predators be scary, yo. Especially in the dark.

I figure the were a mother and babies - but they all seemed about the same size. Probably at least 60 pounds each.
They were bigger than my dumb 50 pound yellow lab that was oblivious. If 'babies' - they are probably ready to move out of moms basement

I have always been worried / scared about running into a mountain lion. And never even considered three of them
In my mind, I always thought if I ever saw one an attack would be imminent
I was like "oh sh##, this is going down right now and I do NOT like this!

I think I was level headed, but in almost full panic mode for about 20 minutes.
LOL now, of course
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RichP
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 2:57 pm 
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I had a recent encounter where I believe was being circled by a mountain lion. I never saw it but freshly made tracks kept appearing in the snow ahead of me. I had that feeling of being stalked.  eek.gif

I backed out and returned on another day to complete the hike.

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Anne Elk
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 3:00 pm 
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FlashG - the MLH has been my regular haunt for many years, but am not familiar with the "500 Road" - where exactly is that?
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Flash Gordon
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 3:10 pm 
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Sorry!  5000 road

It is about 4 1/2 miles out of Granite Falls toward Monroe.  Off Menzell Lake Road.  It goes towards Spada Lake, but never really gets there (washed out about 8 miles in)
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Anne Elk
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 3:27 pm 
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OK, no wonder I didn't recognize it - I was thinking you meant somewhere off the Mt. Loop Hwy itself.  Nonetheless, good to know they've been spotted there.  I don't recall any cat reports or incidents in that area.  I've never carried bear spray on my hikes there, but might reconsider.  Seems to be more reporting of mtn lion incidents these last few years, than bear attacks.  Wonder what's up with that.
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wildcat
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 4:46 pm 
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I can relate to mountain lions being my boogey man.  They terrify my at night, and I've never actually even seen one. No shame in that (I hope).
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DigitalJanitor
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 5:12 pm 
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I encountered one at night years ago and wound up having to throw rocks at it and cuss a lot, trying to make sure it wouldn't cheap shot my little dog team from behind when we turned around. The dogs were GSPs so it would have been one heck of a battle, but... I'd rather not have the vet bills, thanks.  shakehead.gif

Yeah, it will charge your adrenaline a bit, lol. My hands were shaking like I'd had 18 cups of coffee afterwards!

The only thing I'd change about our encounter was carrying an air horn, which I still need to add to my kit. I have a notion one loud blast would have sent that cat to the horizon- which would have made me feel a whole lot better right about then.

Here in KittCo it's reasonable to expect that there's a cat around anywhere there's deer and/or elk. Which is pretty much everywhere. As far as I'm concerned it's not a matter of 'if they're there', it's a matter of 'did you see each other or did they just see you', and this is probably happening at a considerably higher frequency than most people realize.

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Chief Joseph
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 5:37 pm 
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It seems that Mountain Lion populations might be increasing? Last July, in the meadow next to our house was a large female just sunning herself, not a care in the world, 50' from the house.

The Wild Turkey population has exploded here in recent years, so it stands to reason that there will be more Cougs around these parts.

That reminds me, I need to pick up a bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed bourbon next trip into town.

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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 6:26 pm 
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DigitalJanitor wrote:
As far as I'm concerned it's not a matter of 'if they're there', it's a matter of 'did you see each other or did they just see you', and this is probably happening at a considerably higher frequency than most people realize.

This is what I figure as well.  If you spend a decent amount of time out hiking, it's just about a given that at some point you were in very close proximity to a cougar without even knowing it.  We have plenty of them in Washington.  Attacks are so rare as to be almost non-existent.  I think cases where people see cat tracks following their own is more a matter of curiosity than stalking behavior.  If we were on their menu, there would be a lot more attacks.


Only time I've actually seen one (other than in a zoo) was along the MLH, around Red Bridge area I think.  There were people car camping all over around there, like there usually are.  It was really early in the morning as I was driving thru.  There was a critter on the side of the road, about the same color but too low to the ground to be a deer.  It disappeared almost immediately.  The last thing I saw was  LONG, thick tail with a black tip.  Absolutely nothing else it could've been.  All the dozens of campers snoozing right by there were completely oblivious a cougar was in their midst.
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Anne Elk
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 8:08 pm 
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Interesting speculative article from Outside re the fatal cougar attack last year near North Bend: What really caused Washington's cougar attack. Some key stats:

Quote:
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reports that, as of 2015, thereís about 1,800 to 2,100 adult cougars in the state, spread out at about two cats per 39 square miles in areas of suitable habitat.   ...

North Bend, Washington, the town where the attack took place, lies at the foot of the Cascades. Itís surrounded by dense forest and itís nearly quadrupled its population since 1980. Washington state has grown from 4.1 million to 7.4 million residents in that same time.   The Outdoor Industry Association reports that 72 percent of Washington residents participate in outdoor recreation activities each year.

Just about all the small towns on the west side of the Cascade foothills in King & Snohomish Counties have experienced a similar trajectory in the last 30+ years.  We're crowding the kitties, and other wild critters.
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captain jack
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 8:15 pm 
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Its the eyes that give me the heeby jeebies.
Big, red, and they throw back a glow, like cats eyes when you hit them with a light.
Looks like a devil.
Makes you think about stuff, like not getting chewed on.
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tmatlack
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PostFri Mar 22, 2019 4:44 am 
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Anne and Flash,

I taught in Granite for many years and used to have a mtn. bike loop from Scotty Rd. up over shoulder of Pilchuck at Lake Julia, then down to 5000 back to car.  I once saw a truck, loaded with Walker hounds, up at Lake Julia.  Must have had a key for gates.  Lion hunter, I was thinkin'.

That was long time ago.  The 5000 was still open to vehicles and no washout to Spada.

Tom
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Schroder
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PostFri Mar 22, 2019 8:45 am 
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The old Pilchuck River Main Line? I've seen several cougar up there in the past. Lots of bear as well.
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Anne Elk
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PostFri Mar 22, 2019 9:52 am 
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Chief Joseph wrote:
Last July, in the meadow next to our house was a large female just sunning herself, not a care in the world, 50' from the house.

CJ - was that at your Verlot location, or your "east side" hangout?
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Chief Joseph
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PostFri Mar 22, 2019 11:04 am 
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Just about a 3 miles west of Priest Lake. A neighbor told me last fall that he saw a Cougar right by my place, but he might have been high...there was also a report of someone hitting and killing a Cougar with a car near Sand Hill and the Cougar supposedly weighed 250 lbs! They must also have been high, I think the record is around 200-210.

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