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Thread: What would you have done?

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    Naznet Owner Dave McClung's Avatar

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    What would you have done?

    Linda and I often walk in a wash near our Arizona home. This time of the year, the sand in the wash is very dry, so tracks don't last long before they become blurred. If a track is distinct, it isn't very old.

    Today, we came across these tracks. What would you have done? What do you think we did?

    PS. I didn't think to put something beside the tracks to provide perspective of the size. They are almost certainly cougar tracks -- possibly a very large Bob Cat.Click image for larger version

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    Senior Member Bill Morrison's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    Which one of you can run the fastest?

    BILL
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    Re: What would you have done?

    Well, if it is a cougar, it is reason enough to take precautions! At least make sure you have a nice walking stick with you.

    If it was a bobcat, not much of a problem. When we lived in Gavilan Hills south of Riverside, CA, over the 6 years, I saw 7 bobcats. One was resting on a hillside close to the trail. Several good pics!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Friend,

    Wes
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    Senior Member Emiko Cothran's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    I probably would have gotten out my camera... but I am not very smart about thing like this.
    If I had Alora with me I may have taken her home, because she is unpredictable and small enough to look like a morsel.

    I have heard you make as much noise as possible and the puma will avoid you on it's own.
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    Host Book, Movie & GA forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    I've done a fair bit of hiking, but cougars are so rare, I'll be honest and say I've never really bothered to read up on their habits and how to operate around them. I know how to take precautions in bear country, but I'm just guessing cougars are less put off by noise and probably less willing to be scared by people, at least one or two people on their own. Having spent a lot of time with domesticated cats, I would not expect myself to be smarter than a giant wild one the way I would with a bear.
    ...just my $.02.
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    If I thought that they might be Cougar tracks, I think I might circle back and head home. Not necessarily because I was in danger, but I have seen a Panther in the wild and they are incredibly agile and powerful animals. My sighting was a few years back now, but it is still vivid, I remember thinking that this animal could easily have eaten me while still alive.

    I'm guessing that the tracks were facing away from you as shown in the picture, I would be less concerned if the tracks were in the opposite direction.

    I'm guessing that you two headed back home. Although I'm also guessing that the urge was there to get a picture?
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

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    Senior Member Diane Likens's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    I think I'd be hightailing it home.
    Wherever I am, God is, and all is well.
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    I'm going to cover my bet. I've been thinking about this, and I wouldn't be really surprised to see Dave post a picture of this animal here in the next couple of days.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
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    Laughing Diane Likens, Wes Smith, Gina Stevenson, Greg Gates - thanks for this funny post

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    Re: What would you have done?

    I don't know what I would have done, I think it might depend on other factors when I encountered the tracks. If I were with a small child or an adult with some physical limitations, I think I would lead them back to a safe location. However, if I were alone, or with other healthy adults I think I might be more likely to try to get a glimpse of the animal.

    But, then, I've never encountered a cougar in the wild, my dad has though. When he was a young teenager, he worked on a farm after school. After he finished his work he walked about four miles to get home, much of this trek was through a wooded country road. He described that one night, when he was about halfway home he hard foot steps in the woods one evening after dark. He stopped walking and the footsteps stopped. He started walking and the foot steps started. This went on for several minutes until one time when he stopped, he turned and saw through the moonlight a large cougar staring at him. After he gathered his senses, he walked backwards the rest of the way home (about two miles), even after he couldn't see the cougar anymore, because someone had told him that cougars don't attack prey from the front. He didn't know if that was true, but he did make it home.

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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Morrison View Post
    Which one of you can run the fastest?

    BILL
    Good point, you don't really have to be the fastest person in the group, but you really don't want to be the slowest.

    FYI - I'm sure everyone knows this but running from a predator that is not yet chasing you is a bad idea. In fact sometimes if they are coming at you and you can't get to safety before they catch you, making yourself big, making lots of noise and moving toward them is the best idea. This is not the behavior of prey so it confuses them and will sometimes break their attack.
    It is not enough to be right, you have to be like Jesus.

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    Naznet Owner Dave McClung's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    I'm going to cover my bet. I've been thinking about this, and I wouldn't be really surprised to see Dave post a picture of this animal here in the next couple of days.
    I really wish I could post a picture, but we didn't find the cat. But, you are right about what we did -- we took our camera and went looking for the cougar. The reason we are convinced it was cougar tracks is we saw a cougar in the same wash a couple of years ago. We know they are in the area. Cougars in southern Arizona don't bother people. Cougars are not rare, but it is unusual to actually see one. They are mostly nocturnal.

    Last week we saw a bobcat in the same area. That time, the only camera I had was my cell phone and the picture didn't come out well enough to share. At the same time we saw the bobcat, we examined the tracks it left. The bobcat tracks were about 1/3 the size of the tracks we saw yesterday.

    I have found it interesting how people react to wild animals. Over the years, I have seen many. I have learned to respect them but not fear them. The closest I have come to being harmed was when a javelina almost ran over me. Linda and I were hiking on a narrow trail. We came around a corner and spooked a javelina that was asleep on the trail. Instead of running away, it ran in our direction. I stepped behind a small tree and the javelina ran on past.

    To answer someone else's question, if one is confronted by a cougar, don't run. Stand your ground and prepare to fight it off. If you have hiking poles raise them above you head. Some of the experts suggest holding you arms above your head to attempt to look larger. The theory is that cougars attack people only when they confuse them for their natural prey -- small animals. If you are attacked by a cougar, fight back. Some people have survived cougar attacks by gouging their eyes.
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    If I thought that they might be Cougar tracks, I think I might circle back and head home. Not necessarily because I was in danger, but I have seen a Panther in the wild and they are incredibly agile and powerful animals. My sighting was a few years back now, but it is still vivid, I remember thinking that this animal could easily have eaten me while still alive.

    I'm guessing that the tracks were facing away from you as shown in the picture, I would be less concerned if the tracks were in the opposite direction.

    I'm guessing that you two headed back home. Although I'm also guessing that the urge was there to get a picture?
    The cougar I can see is much less scary than the one I know is there but can't see. Attack is pretty unlikely as we don't' much resemble or act like prey but the outcome would be devastating (for me) if it were to happen so... If I can't see the cat, I'm moving toward home at a walking pace... via the path with the most wide open spaces and my head on a swivel. And in an urban environment like Dave describes I'm calling animal control when I get home. - While a cougar is unlikely to attack me, pets and small children are much more like prey.
    It is not enough to be right, you have to be like Jesus.

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    Thanks Jim Chabot, Diane Likens, Dave McClung, Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave McClung View Post
    I really wish I could post a picture, but we didn't find the cat. But, you are right about what we did -- we took our camera and went looking for the cougar. The reason we are convinced it was cougar tracks is we saw a cougar in the same wash a couple of years ago. We know they are in the area. Cougars in southern Arizona don't bother people. Cougars are not rare, but it is unusual to actually see one. They are mostly nocturnal.

    Last week we saw a bobcat in the same area. That time, the only camera I had was my cell phone and the picture didn't come out well enough to share. At the same time we saw the bobcat, we examined the tracks it left. The bobcat tracks were about 1/3 the size of the tracks we saw yesterday.

    I have found it interesting how people react to wild animals. Over the years, I have seen many. I have learned to respect them but not fear them. The closest I have come to being harmed was when a javelina almost ran over me. Linda and I were hiking on a narrow trail. We came around a corner and spooked a javelina that was asleep on the trail. Instead of running away, it ran in our direction. I stepped behind a small tree and the javelina ran on past.

    To answer someone else's question, if one is confronted by a cougar, don't run. Stand your ground and prepare to fight it off. If you have hiking poles raise them above you head. Some of the experts suggest holding you arms above your head to attempt to look larger. The theory is that cougars attack people only when they confuse them for their natural prey -- small animals. If you are attacked by a cougar, fight back. Some people have survived cougar attacks by gouging their eyes.
    Good advice for sure. When you run away from an animal it confirms it adds to the thought that you are prey. I'm usually not afraid of animals, like you say, they do need to be respected, if they feel threatened things can get dangerous in a hurry.

    I should tell you that I've been trying to get a good picture of a moose since you mentioned that they are one of the harder animals to get a picture of, I think it's been a few years now. Even though I see them almost every day when riding, I have to admit that a good picture is still eluding me. I do have a decent picture of one stopping to have lunch in a small pond, but that's an easy one. A little over a month ago, I thought that I could get the picture to make you proud, but nothing. I came around a corner to see two young bulls knocking their antlers together, it was around the time of the shed. When they saw me, they stopped and turned to look right at me. I couldn't believe it, not one but two bullwinkles perfectly posed. I got out my phone and there they were, gone!

    I do have a go pro camera with a helmet mount and a four hour battery, I need to get in the habit of wearing it. For some strange reason I can't get my brain to comprehend that digital film is free.

    Someday I'll get the moose picture.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    The cougar I can see is much less scary than the one I know is there but can't see. Attack is pretty unlikely as we don't' much resemble or act like prey but the outcome would be devastating (for me) if it were to happen so... If I can't see the cat, I'm moving toward home at a walking pace... via the path with the most wide open spaces and my head on a swivel. And in an urban environment like Dave describes I'm calling animal control when I get home. - While a cougar is unlikely to attack me, pets and small children are much more like prey.
    A friend of mine cured me of the habit of looking around for fear. We were snorkeling around a reef near the prison in Aruba and he noticed that I kept looking around and behind me. I told him that I was worried about sharks. He said no need to worry, they are so fast that you will never see it coming. After seeing a panther jog across in front of me one day, I'm convinced that I would never see one of them coming either, if it was intent on attacking from behind.

    What's animal control.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
    Thanks Dave McClung - "thanks" for this post

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    Naznet Owner Dave McClung's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    The cougar I can see is much less scary than the one I know is there but can't see. Attack is pretty unlikely as we don't' much resemble or act like prey but the outcome would be devastating (for me) if it were to happen so... If I can't see the cat, I'm moving toward home at a walking pace... via the path with the most wide open spaces and my head on a swivel. And in an urban environment like Dave describes I'm calling animal control when I get home. - While a cougar is unlikely to attack me, pets and small children are much more like prey.
    From what I have read, a healthy cougar is very unlikely to attack a human. Most attacks on humans are from cougars that are so unhealthy that they have difficulty catching their normal prey. One can't really tell whether or not a cougar is healthy by looking at it, so I don't know how useful that information is. I suppose it should cause some concern in my situation because it is unusual for healthy cougars to be around where people live.
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    Re: What would you have done?

    We have to watch out for them and for bears every time we go outside the house.

    Never ever run from a mountain lion. That is like slapping an eat me please sign on your back, as you just made yourself prey. Get out of the wash as noisily as possible as they like the higher ground when hunting. Make yourself look big by holding your jacket sides out, picking up brush, anything to increase your size appearance. Be noisy and SLOWLY and with your eyeballs peeled exit the area.
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    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    No big cats in my country, but up north there's lots of crocs. I remember once we were fishing near a mangrove swamp when a mate I was fishing with nudged me and said..... "hey Dave, what do they look like to you?" I looked and saw what appeared to be a long deep furrow with tracks on either side of it not far from where we were fishing (I'd guestimate that the croc would have been about 4-5 metres long by the size of the "tracks") so needless to say we quickly found another place a bit higher up from the water's edge.
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    Naznet Owner Dave McClung's Avatar

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    Re: What would you have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Graham View Post
    No big cats in my country, but up north there's lots of crocs. I remember once we were fishing near a mangrove swamp when a mate I was fishing with nudged me and said..... "hey Dave, what do they look like to you?" I looked and saw what appeared to be a long deep furrow with tracks on either side of it not far from where we were fishing (I'd guestimate that the croc would have been about 4-5 metres long by the size of the "tracks") so needless to say we quickly found another place a bit higher up from the water's edge.
    We don't have crocs, but we have some pretty big alligators. One time I was fishing in a lake in south Louisiana. We were in a small flat bottomed aluminum boat when a big alligator came up and banged the bottom of the boat. I don't think he was really trying to get us, but he wanted us to know that we were in his territory. I didn't put my hand in the water.
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    Re: What would you have done?

    Years ago my Dad was fishing in the Okefenokee Swamp (GA/FL border) with another Naz pastor. They were having some motor problems and the other guy was working to try to get things going. Dad decided to stand up in the boat and cast - the guy got the motor started and you know the rest. Dad used to say that he remembered the gators they'd been seeing all along the stream and, "I was back in that boat before I even got wet."
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