mountain lion
Brian McKinney/YouTube

VIDEO: California Hikers Come Face to Face with Mountain Lion

We can't think of anything more chilling than an impromptu staredown with a predatory cat.

The mountain lion is a predatory cat that relies on stalking and ambush to take down prey, generally deer or livestock. And although rare, fatal attacks on humans have happened, the last occurring nine years ago in Pinos Altos, New Mexico.

Earlier this month, while hiking the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park, California, Brian McKinney and Sam Vonderheide spotted a mountain lion ahead of them on the trail, traveling in the same direction. Now most people would slowly back away at this point, but this pair decided to foolishly follow it. What happened next will make the hair on your neck rise.

Here's the footage McKinney shot:

As you just saw, this mountain lion quickly climbed to higher ground, almost waiting for the pair of hikers to arrive. If anything, it is the perfect spot to launch a pounce.

Luckily for these two hikers nothing more than a stare down occurred, and we're left with a video to watch showing a pretty cool experience. Scary as all heck... but cool just the same. Obviously they might not have made the right decision to follow it, but slowly backing up was a step in the right direction.

If you do encounter a mountain lion, here's what you should (and shouldn't) do:

  • Never approach a cougar. Although cougars will normally avoid a confrontation, all cougars are unpredictable. Cougars feeding on a kill may be dangerous.
  • Always give a cougar an avenue of escape.
  • Stay calm. Talk to the cougar in a confident voice.
  • Pick all children up off the ground immediately. Children frighten easily and their rapid movements may provoke an attack.
  • Do not run. Try to back away from the cougar slowly. Sudden movement or flight may trigger an instinctive attack.
  • Do not turn your back on the cougar. Face the cougar and remain upright.
  • Do all you can to enlarge your image. Don't crouch down or try to hide. Pick up sticks or branches and wave them about.

Tips Courtesy of Ministry of Environment, British Columbia.

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