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Montana hunters are reminded to be cautious of mountain lions

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds hunters that mountain lions are also in pursuit of prey this time of year and are most active at dawn and dusk.

Lions feeding on a kill are potentially dangerous and should never be approached. A feeding lion in defense of food may suddenly become aggressive. Lions cover unconsumed portions of their kills with soil and litter. These food caches should also be avoided.

Any lion that appears to be habituated to or acting aggressively toward humans should be immediately reported to FWP.

Knowing what to do if you do encounter a mountain lion can reduce the potential for a conflict. Here are a few tips:

Do not approach a lion
Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.

Do not run from a lion
Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Do not turn your back. Make eye contact. If there are small children nearby, pick them up if possible so they don’t panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion.

Do not crouch down or bend over
A person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a 4-legged prey animal. When encountering a mountain lion, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children.

Appear larger
Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Again, pick up small children. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.

If a lion attacks:

If you are unarmed, you can use bear pepper spray to deter the lion. Many potential victims have also fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.

If you have a firearm, and know how to use it safely and effectively, Montana law allows you to kill a mountain lion to defend yourself, another person or a domestic dog. If you do kill a lion in self-defense, you must report it to FWP within 72 hours.