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Authorities Respond To Area Where Hiker Spotted Mountain Lion On Lookout Mountain

By Anna Maria Basquez

(CBS4) - Wildlife authorities were on the trails in the Golden area Saturday after a mountain lion was spotted by a hiker with a dog on a trail on Lookout Mountain.

Dispatch reports just after 10:30 a.m. stated someone walking a dog was stopped by a mountain lion taking notice of them and then continuing on its way up a trail. The party reportedly asked officers by phone what to do to prevent an attack.

The mountain lion sighting took place at 1678 Lookout Mountain Road, state parks officials confirmed. The area is in the Windy Saddle Park, a park popular to hanggliders and para gliders, boasting Mount Zion, Chimney Gulch and Beaver Brook trails, among others.

"Our wildlife officer spoke with the reporting party," said Jason Clay, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "He said it sounded like the mountain lion likely had a deer catch near the trail and that is why it was more visible. Colorado State Patrol had told us that Jefferson County rangers or deputies were on the way to the site."

Jenny Fulton, spokeswoman for Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, said normally the deputies don't respond unless there's a problem with a mountain lion "like it's causing trouble or it's at somebody's house or it's aggressive and attacking animals and people. If someone looks out and sees a mountain lion, we wouldn't do anything for that."

People who see a mountain lion would be advised to try to get away from it, not to draw attention to yourself and leave it alone, Fulton said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife gives the following advice to those who encounter a mountain lion (from its website):
Remember: Every situation is different with respect to the lion, the terrain, the people, and their activity.
• Go in groups when you walk or hike in mountain lion country, and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
• Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
• Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly.
• Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion's instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
• Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you're wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won't panic and run.
• If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
• Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up!
"People rarely get more than a brief glimpse of a mountain lion in the wild," according to a statement by the CPW on its website. "Lion attacks on people are rare, with fewer than a dozen fatalities in North America in more than 100 years. Most of the attacks were by young lions, perhaps forced out to hunt on their own and not yet living in established areas. Young lions may key in on easy prey, like pets and small children."

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