1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Mtn Lion encounter, Buffalo Peaks W. in CO

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by bigndn, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. bigndn

    bigndn

    Messages:
    4,147
    Media:
    35
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    44
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    Eagle, ID
    Written by a wilderness ranger about events on 07/22/2005 on the Rich Ck Trail in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness. :eek: This is one reason I have/carry firearms.


    I showed up at the Rich Creek Trailhead at about 12:30 P.M. on a sunny and unusually hot day. My intention was to hike the Rich Ck. and Rough and Tumbling loop. This is a 13.5 mile loop, in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness, popular with backpackers. After checking the register and eating some lunch I was on my way. It was about 4 miles up the trail before I decided to look for a place to camp for the night. I left the trail and started up a hillside. After looking around for a while I found a spot that would work well.
    The Rich Ck. valley sits at about 11,000 ft. It has wide open areas, patches of pines and aspen mixed in with many small rocky cliff areas on the side slopes. I found a good spot on the western side to set up my one man tent. When I set up my tent I was most concerned with the weather moving over the ridge from the west. I set it up in a spot with some protection from weather but also hidden out of sight of the trail. I was pearched on a rock outcropping with big views up and down the valley.
    By time I set up my tent the weather had broken up and it was hot again. I left camp and continued up the trail almost to Buffalo Meadows. After working on some illeagal camp sites, I checked in with the Leadville Ranger District, turned around and hiked back down to camp. I returned to camp at about 5:45 P.M. When I returned I prepared my dinner at a site about 100 ft. from my tent. After dinner I went and hung my food in a tree at least 200 ft. away from my tent As the sun creeped up the opposite slope I went out on to the rock outcropping to read my book. About 2 pages in to it I decided to reteat to my tent because the bugs were so thick. My tent is really small so I didn’t want to head in, but I had enough of the bugs that evening.
    I was only about 5-10 minutes in to my book when I began to here noises. I didn’t here any noises loud enough to really bother me . I would stop reading for 5 seconds, listen for a moment, then return to reading. This happened 3-4 times before I heard a noise that had me dropping my book and scrambling for my tent zipper. I opened my tent only to see a mountain lion approximately 10 ft. in front of my tent. I quickly realized laying down in my tent was not where I wanted to be, so I slowly stood up. I was very calm trying to not make sudden movements or look at it in the eyes. Once I stood up I saw 3 more Mountain lions, 1 to my left and 2 to my right, behind a couple of trees, about 30 ft. away.
    I new I had to make my self look big, so I reached down and grabbed my sleeping bag and raised it in to the air. My full sized shovel was leaning on a fallen tree about 5 ft. behind me so I also backed up to grab that. After I started to bang my shovel on a rock 2 of the lions slowly walked away and another one came running towards me. The lion that ran at me grabbed my sleeping bag out of my hand, damaging the bag. I took my shovel and struck the lion on the back. The lion then scurried away to meet the other lions which were heading for some thicker trees about 100 ft. away. After they went in to the trees I considered my options. I new I was at least moving my camp so I started to throw stuff on my pack.
    I decided to leave my food hanging in the tree and maybe some other stuff in camp to move quickly and get out of there. I started to move down to the trail when 3 of the lions came bounding down the hill to follow me. I was making a lot of noise to try to scare them away, but it didn’t seem to bother them. I at this point decided to call for my partner on the radio to make him aware. He was camped in the Mt. Massive Wilderness and had already turned his radio off for the evening. After calling for anyone out there, John Markalunas came back and offered any support he could, including a helicopter. He monitored my progress all the way back to the office. I was thankful for Johns support. After about 20 min. of being followed I crossed a creek and waited to see if they would cross with me, but I didn’t see them for a couple minutes so I started to run for the trailhead. I was getting nervous because I was running out of light. Once I started to run I made some distance and made it back to the truck as the light was fading away. I called Pueblo dispatch from the truck, told them I was safe and procceded to the office.
     
  2. DenverCruiser

    DenverCruiser

    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    36
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Location:
    Woodstock, GA
  3. Jman

    Jman

    Messages:
    1,548
    Likes Received:
    176
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2003
    Location:
    If ya don't know, I ain't tellin'
    Oh, chit! Time to check the pack for some fresh shorts!

    Hmmm, next time he might be armed, huh?
     
  4. T Y L E R

    T Y L E R

    Messages:
    2,597
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    I thought rangers in the US were all armed?

    Question: If it were dark, would his best move still have been to move camp? Explain..



    TY
     
  5. mabrodis

    mabrodis

    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Hmm...I don't know alot about Mtn Lion behavior but I don't think they are normally that aggressive...either maybe hungry, maybe they had modified their behavior (i.e a previous hiker was easy to get food from, let's try this one), or maybe the mob mentality, being all together makes the whole more aggressive I would imagine.

    That is pretty scary stuff, I am surprised the guy didn't have atleast something to protect himself. Normally I would think you'd carry atleast bear mace, which would work on any animal I believe.

    I can't help of thinking how cool it would have been to see the lions though, not in a instance like that, but in general to see that many lions it would be cool.....as long as they aren't after you..
     
  6. Doc

    Doc

    Messages:
    5,923
    Media:
    33
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    415
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Utah
    I can just see you running from the lions Brodis, dropping bits of toffee to slow them down and appease them with.

    You don't have to be the fastest guy in the group, just faster than one of them.

    But this guy was on his own, and if hiking/tenting by myself I'd definately have a firearm with me.
     
  7. mabrodis

    mabrodis

    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Hmmm...as comical as that image is, I don't think I would have a chance of outrunning one...well maybe if I ran off a cliff...heheh...I out-ran you sucka, ofcourse I would most likely fall to my death, but I beat it! :D

    Guy definetly should have had something to protect himself. I know lots of people don't like to carry firearms, not 'gun' people, etc...but bear mace works great from what I hear, and also can teach animals to not come around people for fear of getting mace'd again...

    Incidents like this are very rare though...noises like that when camping are usually something mundane, like your buddy taking a piss on the side of your tent to be funny, or a squirrel dropping pinecones onto your tent, etc.
     
  8. TJDIV

    TJDIV Back in The U.P.

    Messages:
    2,063
    Media:
    9
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Upper Michigan
    Sounds to me like young "teen" lions maybe?

    Carry a ****ing gun if you're going out there. Seriously. All preservationism aside....preserve yourself first for God's sake.

    IMO = Dumbass.
     
  9. bigndn

    bigndn

    Messages:
    4,147
    Media:
    35
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    44
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    Eagle, ID
    It's probably agency policy that no one except for LEO's can carry firearms, we even need to be certified to carry Bear Spray.
     
  10. GeoRoss

    GeoRoss

    Messages:
    1,876
    Likes Received:
    1,170
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2004
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    This is why I prefer to work/hike with someone, who runs slower than I do :) .

    I guess I need to readdress this and work with 3 other partners now that Mt. Lions now appear to work in packs.

    In reality, this is extremely bizzare behavior. The aggressiveness is one thing, but having 3 lions together is very odd. They must have been fairly young or the guy saw an adult mom who hadn't run off last years kits. Usually they are solitary.

    Ross
     
  11. T Y L E R

    T Y L E R

    Messages:
    2,597
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003

    I love the way bear spray is capitalized. Must be the way it is on that wall hanging certificate eh? :D



    Just joshin with ya~




    TY
     
  12. Doc

    Doc

    Messages:
    5,923
    Media:
    33
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    415
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Utah
    Actually, if it's a state park it would be illegal to carry a gun there in Iowa, not sure on other states. So you'd have to carry something else besides a firearm. If you got caught with a firearm in a state park you can kiss your CWP good bye.
     
  13. tabraha

    tabraha Hello My Name is: TAD SILVER Star

    Messages:
    2,485
    Likes Received:
    599
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Is a taser considered a firearm?
     
  14. bigndn

    bigndn

    Messages:
    4,147
    Media:
    35
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    44
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    Eagle, ID
    LOL, I need to quit writing so many documents........before I go blind.
     
  15. mabrodis

    mabrodis

    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    It's not writing the documents that makes you go blind, it's that other thing you're doing... :D
     
  16. Jman

    Jman

    Messages:
    1,548
    Likes Received:
    176
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2003
    Location:
    If ya don't know, I ain't tellin'
    Balzac wrote some of his best work doing "that other thing you're doing"--of course, he also was hopped up on tons of coffee, and had the name "Balzac" :flipoff2:
     
  17. gulp3000

    gulp3000

    Messages:
    569
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    Almost for sure it had to be a mother and some teenagers as stated above a couple times. Very rare for lions to act aggresive towards humans and multiple lions together is almost always a mother and offspring. Sick, starving or adolescent lions are usually the culprit, but occasionally a healthy lion decides we are on the dinner menu.

    The odds of being killed or injured by a lion are incredibly slim. The odds of seeing a lion are pretty slim, even for folks who spend a lot of time in lion habitat. I've spent many days in prime lion country for 25+ years, and I've only seen three eventhough the tracks and sign reveal that I've crossed paths with them probably hundreds of times. Sharks attacks happen, but it's probably not necessary for everyone at the beach to take a bangstick with them (although it would be a very polite beach). That said, a sidearm is always great to have along. I just got a Ruger .45 LC Blackhawk with the Bisley grip for an upcoming Kodiak trip. Is it great Brown Bear medicine? No, but it's better than a wrist rocket and easier to carry than a shotgun while bowhunting Blacktails.

    Lions are amazing animals. While tracking a big tom in fresh snow last year, a friend that guides lion hunters came across a healthy 6x6 bull recently killed. The tracks showed where the cat stalked 2 bulls, sprinted the last 60 feet and rode one of the bulls down a ridge, finally getting it down after quite a struggle. He then dragged the dead bull (700+ pounds) about 50 feet into a small wash to feed. Not bad for a cat that weighs under 200 pounds.
     
  18. Doc

    Doc

    Messages:
    5,923
    Media:
    33
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    415
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Utah
    No, but in Iowa they both fall under the "dangerous weapons" catagory and are subject to the same laws.
     
  19. Cube Dweller

    Cube Dweller Moderator

    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    11
    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    22 Acacia Avenue
    Last year a mtn lion got a mtn biker in a park in SoCal. It was NOT in the mtns, it was someplace in the valley from what I recall.

    Here in the Sacto area foothills we get them- one got a jogger a few years ago in the Auburn State Recreation area. Various "experts" quoted in articles about the attacks say that:

    1. Mtn lions are growing braver and more aggressive as humans move into their territory.
    2. Most people attacked by mtn lions would not have time to pull a weapon.

    Cali banned mtn lion hunting about 10-15 years ago. That, combined with people moving into more rural areas has increased the cat/human interaction. I've seen deer carcasses that were either killed by a mtn lion or black bear where I (and tons of other people) mtn bike. This is also near the Western States 100 trail for you ultra running psychos.

    Since my kid was born I don't ride alone up there in the early morning or evening hours. If I was hiking/camping up there I would pack heat and a shovel ;)
     
  20. T Y L E R

    T Y L E R

    Messages:
    2,597
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003

    Hah .. heat to whack the cat with, and a shovel to bury the drawers you crapped moments before.



    :doh:


    I agree with that report that they're fast .. duh. I see lots of black bears in the wild here, and will amble by and chat 'em up most the time. I unsnap my buck guide, but I know thats a token move. An adult black will get to me , and about 5 feet beyond me before I can even gasp. Ask me how I know .... :rolleyes: :eek: :eek: