Cougar encounter

Started Apr 12, 2013 | Discussions
dave gaines
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Cougar encounter
Apr 12, 2013

I was out on a mountain bike ride on a remote road this evening when helicopters started hovering over me. I wondered what was going on, a fire, police puruit on the highway below, ...? They sure weren't reporting on the regrowth of the forest after the 2009 Station Fire. Then 3 California Fish and Game trucks passed me going up the dirt road, which is a locked at the highway. I caught up with them at a turnout about a mile later and this is what they had with them. A mountain lion had invaded the city of Glendale a mile from the forest. They tranquilized it and brought it up into the forest to let it go. When I got there it was sleeping it off. E-5 and 14-54 mm mkI lens.

Sleeping cougar, 120 pound male, full grown

Cougar claws, the first line of attack

I've got a cougar by the tail. This was the only soft part of him. The rest was all fur, bone and muscle.

Cougar Tail

The action end. I love these whiskers.

Sleeping with his eyes wide open

That's as close as I've ever been to a live mountain lion and probably closer than I'll ever be again and live to tell about it.

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Dave

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dt27348
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

Great to see these shots of such a beautiful animal. I do a lot of hillwalking in my home country and I'm pleased to say the wildlife is almost entirely harmless.

Dave

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SirSeth
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

Do you have a gallery link? I can't see the pictures and would really like to. Sounds like a pretty crazy experience.

Best,

Seth

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dharma108
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Re: Cougar encounter-Also can't see photos n/t
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

Dharma

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herebefore
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

You are a lucky man to see what you saw and get those shots...

Well Done YOU!

The only time I was ever close to a Mountain Lion or Cougar, he was crossing the road in front of my truck, close behind a small fawn, and catching up!

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Larry Lynch
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daddyo
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Excellent series Dave!
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

Cougars are beautiful cats up close -- when they are asleep or behind fencing:-)

Nice stuff!

God Bless,

Greg

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dave gaines
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DPR doesn't like photo links? Cougar gallery link
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

I don't know what happened to these links. They worked last night when I uploaded them. This happened to one of my posts yesterday too. What's up DPR?

If you click on the frame where the photo is supposed to be it will sometimes pop up in the viewer mode.

Here's my gallery link to the the photos. The cougar is on top today, followed by other mountain biking and hiking adventures in the San Gabriel Mountains.

http://whaleshark.smugmug.com/Landscapes/San-Gabriel-Mountains/8701442_dZc34T

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dave gaines
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Thanks Greg, you saw the photos...
In reply to daddyo, Apr 12, 2013

daddyo wrote:

Cougars are beautiful cats up close -- when they are asleep or behind fencing:-)

Thanks Greg,

Somehow you saw the photos. Maybe by clicking on the frame.

Yea, cougars are like children. They're so sweet and calm when they're sleeping. It was an amazing experience. I've seen smaller cougars out in the forest before, but never this big. I imagine the big ones have seen me when I didn't even know they were there. I tried to imagine what it would be like to encounter a big male like this.

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dave gaines
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Cougar encounters are rare
In reply to dt27348, Apr 12, 2013

dt27348 wrote:

Great to see these shots of such a beautiful animal. I do a lot of hillwalking in my home country and I'm pleased to say the wildlife is almost entirely harmless.

Hi Dave,

Thanks for looking and commenting. I do a lot of hiking and mountain biking in the local mountains. I have seen mountain lions, deer and bobcats on rare occasions. I've never seen one this big though. Most of what I see is pretty harmless too. And all of these critters move away when they spot us. So Cal is pretty dry and arid. We don't have the abundant plant and animal life they have in the northern US.

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dave gaines
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Cougar encounter & the chase
In reply to herebefore, Apr 12, 2013

Hi Larry,

Thanks. Yes this was a rare occurence. Getting that close was probably a once in a lifetime event. I have seen cougars before, though usually not this big. The last time I saw one was on this same road a few years ago. He/she was a bit smaller and walking out away from me. I looked where she jumped up into the brish but she had dissappeared. The next time I came by a found her tracks circling around deer tracks. Both sets of tracks were turning circles, as if it were part of a dance or stand-off.

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dave gaines
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Re: Also can't see photos - link below
In reply to dharma108, Apr 12, 2013

I posted a gallery link below. You may be able to see them by clicking on the photo square.

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seho
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

I grew up in southern California during the 50s and 60s, not all that far from Glendale, in Whittier.

For those not familiar with the region, Glendale is in the Los Angeles basin, sort of a bedroom community for L.A. You can tell you're there by street signs, not that you can tell otherwise where one community leaves off and another begins.

Like most of the region, Glendale backs up to hills with oaks and scrub of the San Gabriel mountains beyond where the houses stop. Back in the late 60s, a small child sitting on the curb outside his home was attacked and killed by a coyote. Which live everywhere, even denning down in central L.A. vacant lots.

Deer are fairly common up there, as are feral pigs, and once in a while you'd even see a bear wandering around.

Moving to the present, I live about a half-hour south of San Jose. A couple of years ago, we had three mostly-grown mountain lions wandering around in a housing tract next to an elementary school; the kids were inside at the time, but had been out for recess shortly before the cats arrived. Deer and wild pigs, along with wild turkey, bobcat, raccoons, coyote, possum and skunk wander through regularly.

And no, this isn't a rural community; it's more the case that most people don't pay much attention to what's around them most of the time.

I guess this all boils down to we ought to have our cameras with us all the time.

Right?

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dave gaines
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Cougar and wild habitat
In reply to seho, Apr 12, 2013

So true. We build out into the wilderness, encroaching on wild habitat and wonder why we see big cats and bear in our neighborhoods. We need to leave enough space for big cats like this to roam.

Glendale, CA is due north of downtown Los Angeles, about 10 miles by car. The place where the cat was found is on the north end of town in a Glendale community called La Crescenta. The cat was about a mile from the edge of the natural forest. It's about 20 miles max from downtown LA to the San Gabriel Mountains. I live just east of Glendale in Pasadena.

The road I met Cal F&G on is a favorite bike ride and hike of mine just above La Crescenta. From parts of that road you look down on La Crescenta and downtown Los Angeles beyond. On clear days you can also see Long Beach, Catalina Island, the Santa Monica Bay and Santa Barbara Island 40 miles offshore.

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dharma108
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Re: Also can't see photos - link below-Dave
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

Great photos and amazing opportunity. I could see the photos by clicking on the "Original size" link. I think DPR is having some technical problems. Same issues in another thread that was originally posted.

By the way--now two of the photos come up for me--the other two still not popping up.

Thanks, Dharma

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Ulfric M Douglas
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

dave gaines wrote:

...

The action end. I love these whiskers.

Sleeping with his eyes wide open

That's as close as I've ever been to a live mountain lion and probably closer than I'll ever be again and live to tell about it.

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Dave

Cute face!

What did it smell like?

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BigBen08
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to seho, Apr 12, 2013

seho wrote:

Like most of the region, Glendale backs up to hills with oaks and scrub of the San Gabriel mountains beyond where the houses stop. Back in the late 60s, a small child sitting on the curb outside his home was attacked and killed by a coyote. Which live everywhere, even denning down in central L.A. vacant lots.

I'm surprised more people are not attacked/killed by coyotes or mountain lions in the SoCal area. Especially small children. As I recall, several yrs ago a woman jogger was killed by a mountain lion at a wilderness park in Orange County. I live in the flatlands of the San Fernando Valley, and we occasionally see a coyote in our neighborhood.

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BigBen08
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

Dave, great captures! Looks like your were in the right place at the right time.
I watched this story on tv last night. Nice to see close-up photos.

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Gary Blake
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

Dave,

Very nice, now that was a rare opportunity!

Good to see they have a relocate program in place.

Mountain lions were declared extinct in our area (Ontario, Canada) in about 1880 when they had been exterminated by the early settlers.

They now appear to coming back as there have been a few confirmed sightings.

I found some fresh tracks on three different days in the far northern area of Ontario last fall during my trip up north of Lake Superior. They were very fresh and I believe it was seeing or hearing me coming and taking off – I think there would be very little chance of ever being attacked by one of these shy and wary cats.

I will be going back this fall and may invest a day or two in blinds trying to get a shot or two of one in the wild. It would be very nice to see them re-established in the east.

(Don’t know what’s going on with DPR – couldn’t see your photos earlier unless I clicked on view: original size, but now they are showing up as normal. Gallery views take forever to load for me so I don’t even click on them anymore)

Gary

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PBasepeterb
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

I'm thinking that the town of Glendale invaded the puma's territory...it's all a matter of perspective.

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19andrew47
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Re: Cougar encounter
In reply to dave gaines, Apr 12, 2013

Nice story and a great opportunity for you!  I wouldn't want to be around when it comes to though!

Andrew

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