If You Encounter a Mountain Lion
- When you go afield in Missouri, keep in mind that your chance of having a dangerous encounter with a mountain lion is very small—almost nonexistent.
- You, your pets, or your livestock are at much greater risk from automobiles, stray dogs, and lightning strikes than from mountain lions.
- If you DO directly encounter a mountain lion in Missouri, responding appropriately may improve your chances of survival.
- Before going afield, study the table below to learn the differences between threatening and nonthreatening behavior and appropriate responses to each.
- If you see a mountain lion in Missouri, please report it.
|Behavior/Activity||Meaning||Human Risk||Appropriate Human Response|
|More than 100 yards away and moving away||Avoidance||Negligible||Keep children where they can be observed.|
|100–50 yards away; various positions and movements; attention away from people||Indifference||Negligible||Remain calm; do not approach. Avoid rapid movements or running. Make your presence known then slowly back away / leave the area.|
|In a tree (including treed by dogs)||Avoidance||Minor/None||Leash dogs; move away from tree until out of sight and allow animal to escape.|
|100–50 yards away; various or changing positions; ears up; attention toward people and/or following people||Curiosity||Slight for Adults; Serious for Unaccompanied Children||Hold small children; keep older children close. Assume standing position; do not turn your back. Look for sticks, rocks, or other weapons and pick them up using an aggressive posture; do your best to appear large and threatening.|
|50–25 yards away; intense staring and hiding coupled with crouching and/or creeping toward people||Considering/Positioning for Attack||Serious||Move slowly to get behind trees or boulders, but don't lose sight of the animal. Make menacing sounds; throw things if animal is close enough to hit.|
|25 yards or closer; tail twitching; body and head low to ground; rear legs may be gently pumping or treading up and down||Pre‐Attack/Attack Imminent||Extreme||Prepare to defend yourself using whatever weapons are available (including lethal). Pepper spray may be effective if animal is close and downwind. If animal attacks, fight back!|