When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted: A Mountain Lion's Visit to My Game Camera

Published on 14 June 2023 at 08:21

I think it that it is safe to say that mother nature sure is a beautiful thing. Especially when you are in your favorite hunting spot watching deer come and go until the right one comes. The way they move about the forest floor with ease is astonishing, especially when they have no recollection of them even being watched by a hunter. In that situation they are being watched by the hunter, but what happens when the hunter becomes the target of a stalk from a natural predator? Would you hear the predator coming and are you unsuspecting of it just like the game you are hunting?

Thankfully I have never had a "close call" with a natural predator where I was being stalked (that I know of) while out in the wild scouting, hunting, etc. The only exception to this was when I was younger in WI, I was trout fishing in a creek and heard some scratching off to the side of me. I looked over and locked eyes with two black bear cubs that were just hanging out in the tree. My heart dropped because everyone knows if you are stuck between a Sow and her cubs, they aren't too much of a happy camper. Thankfully she came crashing through the Tag Alders from the opposite direction of the cubs. Knowing I was not going to get caught between the two, I hastily made my way back down stream so I wouldn't interrupt them in their natural environment. 

The reason for this article is while checking a game camera set up where I shot my 4x4 buck last archery season, I was getting pretty stoked to see a ton of bucks that were already starting to develop their antlers. Of the 1000 some odd pictures, when I got to picture #936 something caught my eye. I was used to seeing coyotes on the camera, but this one kind of made my hair stand up. When I scrolled to the picture #937 it was clear as day. There was a Mountain Lion probably 15-20 feet from where I was sitting when I had shot my buck last year. It got me thinking, was this cat there last year and watched me make the kill shot on my buck? It was dark out when I was field dressing him, so were they entranced by the smell of fresh blood and organs? Although rare, it made me think, what the hell would I do if a cat where to attack me while in the woods?

According to the Mountain Lion Foundation, there are an average of 6 attacks by mountain lions on humans each year in North America, and less than one fatality every year. However, it's important to note that mountain lions typically avoid humans and attacks are rare. Just like anything else in life though, there is always that miniscule chance of becoming a part of that number. If you are unfortunate enough to come into contact with a pissed off cat, here are some fool-proof precautions to try to scare it off: 

1. Stay calm and stand your ground.
2. Make yourself look bigger by raising your arms or opening your jacket.
3. Speak loudly and firmly in a calm voice.
4. Throw objects at the lion if necessary to deter it from attacking.
5. If the mountain lion attacks, fight back aggressively, using any object you can find and focusing your attack on the lion's face and eyes.

Just like the big cats on Animal Planet, a mountain lion will go for the neck. Hopefully you don't get to this point though. If you are just cover your head and neck and fight like hell and pray to the Almighty One. As mentioned in the list, target their face, especially their eyes. Nothing likes getting their eye poked, so if you can stick a finger or two in the Cats eye, it is sure to most likely feel the pain and back off. Now you may be asking "Oh well I carry a gun in the woods, no cat will mess with me..." Well, if you are "with the shits" in the outdoors world, you most likely have seen the video of the Idaho elk hunter who had a terrifying experience with a mountain lion. If you haven't, I will post the link right here (Mountain Lion stalks elk hunter in Idaho. Saved by Glock27 warning shots. - YouTube) so you can watch it. Now if I was in that situation, I don't know how I would react compared to this fella, but you can see in the video how terrified he is, especially by his tremors. I would like to think I would not have the idea "Oh, I need to film me trying to shoot this cat that is threatening me" but you never know how you would react in certain situations until you are in those exact situations. I feel it would be more effective to have dropped the phone, drew a sturdy aim with both hands, and make effective shots that count, especially when the cat is pouncing at you! At least this guy was able to get it on video and attain 4.3 million likes on YouTube, and he can tell this story and when people say "No Wayyyyy" he can prove them wrong! 

I hope that you all were able to obtain a little information and got a little humor out of this article. As always, stay safe out there! 

a moutnain lion shown on a game camera
hunter holding a whitetail buck he shot

The mountain lion caught on camera standing 10-15 feet from where I was hunting from. 

This is the 4x4 whitetail I was blessed to shoot last archery season, making my first SD buck and first bow buck. He dropped 45 yards from where the cat is pictured on the game camera!

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a year ago

Great article! Thanks for the advice. And awesome pictures.