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Published on: Mar. 20, 2012

mountain lions in Missouri and encourages all citizens to report sightings, physical evidence or other incidents so they can be thoroughly investigated. To make a report, contact your nearest MDC regional office or visit our website at

What To Do

A summary of black bear and mountain lion predatory behavior and suggested associated human responses
Bear or mountain lion far away and moving away or in a tree Secretive and avoidance no threat Keep children where they can be observed, slowly back away
Bear or mountain lion more than 100 yards away, various positions and movements, attention directed away from people Indifference no threat Remain calm, don’t cevend animal, ensure animal has an escape route. Avoid rapid movements, running, loud, excited talk. Alert animal of your presence, slowly back away.
Bear stands on hind legs Attempting to see or smell no threat Alert bear of your presence, slowly back away
Bear or mountain lion 50 yards away, various body positions, intent attention toward people, following behavior Curiosity Slight for adults given proper response Hold small children; keep older children close to an adult. Do not turn your back on animal. Assume standing position. Look for sticks, rocks or other weapons and pick them up, using an aggressive posture while doing so. Make this a negative experience for the animal.
Bear vocalizing in form of huffs, snorts, jaw popping Bear feels threatened or stressed Slight threat with appropriate human response Do not crowd or feed animal, slowly back away.
Mountain lion closer than 50 yards, intense staring at humans, hiding, creeping or crouching Assessing success of attack Human threat All of the above steps, plus place older children behind adults. If a safer location or one above the mountain lion is available, go there. Do not run. Raise hands and other objects such as jackets above head so as to present image of bulk as high as possible. Prepare to defend yourself.
Bear approaches or follows person despite efforts to harass it away Bear probably looking for food, may have been fed by humans in past Human threat Raise arms, open coat to appear large, make loud noises, throw rocks and objects at bear, slowly back away
Mountain lion or black bear actually attacks and makes physical contact Defensive or predatory reaction Human threat Prepare to defend yourself in close combat. Pepper spray may be effective if animal is close enough and downwind. Fight back; if you have weapons, use them. Make menacing noises. If you have any chance of averting it, it is by acting aggressively toward the animal.

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