Last week I wrote about a bear incident at our home in the Colorado mountains, It was an event that seemed to have some interest among old friends who know me as an East Coast big city guy. Dueling with 500 lb. Bears in the night seems somewhat like a scene from Raiders of The Lost Ark to my old friends in Philly. Not said in my article was the fact that I always have an exit strategy when dealing with the bears on our property. They seldom attack other mammals and sleep about 6 months of the year. Using common sense we do not particularly worry about the bears other than the yearly loss of a bird feeder.
Our mountain lions are another story. We have some resident lions in the neighborhood.
One friend does not go out or the house after dusk without carrying her Lion stick, which is a stout 4 foot long dowel. Asked why she was carrying such a stick she replied “ that damn lion has been prowling around my house almost every other day. If he decides to attack, I want something handy to give him What for.”
I am not exactly sure “what for” is but I think something more than a 4’ broom stick will be needed to give him “what for’. No matter what “what for” exactly is all about.
I have lived in the mountains for 10 years and never have seen a lion. My wife has, every neighbor has and my youngest grandson who lives a few miles below us on the edge of the mountains has seen 4 lions or one lion 4 times.
I worry that the lion has picked me out for some reason. If a lion doesn’t want to be seen you won’t see him. Since I am the only local that hasn’t seen one I figure they are checking me out for special treatment. I am starting to think that I need to be carrying something more than a broomstick when I walk down to the road after dark to get the mail.
Our lion(s) have not eaten any local people recently, but dogs frequently disappear without a trace. Last year our friends and neighbors George and Mary were sitting in their sun room at the end of the day having an after dinner, quiet moment. Their beautiful dog was playing on the deck a few feet away from where they were seated.
Suddenly over the rail a large lion pounced on the 30 lb dog and leaped back over the rail carrying the dog in his jaws. George is a big guy and followed the lion over the rail and into the woods. He never found the lion or any trace of their dog.
A few years ago our friend and neighbor Tamara heard a commotion on her front landing. She opened the door to find her dog being attacked by a young lion. Tamara is not about to let a lion eat any of her living relatives or pets and went after the lion with a broom. I’ve seen Tamara shovel snow and sweep a sidewalk. . Her broom skills came in handy because she beat off the lion, rushed her dog to town for stitching up and he lived for several more years
The grandson who has seen all the lions lives in town surrounded by homes at least ½ mile away from open space. A lion was caught by the Wildlife folks across the street from his house, 100 yards from the street on which he regularly skateboards. A little scary close.
It is well known that the lions are slowly moving down out of the mountains for several reasons. The deer are moving down into residential areas where they are protected from hunting by people. They are not protected from hunting by lions. The lions have found out that dogs and cats are an easy snack now and then on their trip to town for dinner.
My mountain neighbors defending hearth and home with broomsticks also may be a reason for their drift to lower elevations. I think I’d better work on my broomstick skills.
Unlike George charging into the woods after his lion with bare hands I need to think of a better defense/attack technique, just in case I need one