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April 17, 2006

Mountain Lion Attacks Boy in Boulder

This past weekend, a 7 year old was attacked by a mountain lion on Mount Flagstaff. (Google Earth marker). He was last in a line of about 7 people that were all hiking together. He was attacked within 150 feet of the parking lot. The 80 pound mountain lion started dragging the boy away, when the family noticed and fought off the mountain lion. All of the hikers were unarmed, and therefore unable to kill the mountain lion.

The common factor that all victims of fatal mountain lion attacks share is that they were all unarmed.

Mountain Lion attacks on humans are rare, but not unheard of. In 1991, a high school senior was attacked while jogging in Idaho Springs, Colorado. In 1995, a photographer was jogging in Rocky Mountain National Park when he was attacked. In 1997 a 10 year old boy was killed by a mountain lion in Rocky Mountain National Park. Later the same year, a mountain biker was attacked near Mount Flagstaff. In 1998, a full grown man was attacked while hiking in Roxborough State Park. On August 8th of 2005, a full grown woman in Florida Mesa, Colorado was attacked in her rocking chair on her front porch.

Mountain Lion Attacks in Colorado

1991

January. Scott Lancaster, 18, was killed while jogging just a few hundred yards from his high school in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The lion dragged the 130 pound boy 200 yards uphill before killing him, evidenced by the uprooted vegetation along the way. The lion was found feeding on his body three days later. This is the first death ever in Colorado from a lion attack. (MLCSP; Denver Post 5/1/98, B-01; SWCOA)

1995

Fall. Photographer Moses Street was jogging on a popular trail in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, CO, when he glanced over his shoulder and saw a cougar about to pounce on him. The cougar backed off when Street yelled and waved his arms. Street used a large tree branch to stop a second and third attack.

Street climbed a tree and had to keep using the branch to keep the lion from advancing up the tree. Park Rangers rescued him after Street's girlfriend alerted them. (Washington Post, 7/13/97, A01)

1997

14 July. A 4-year-old French boy was attacked by a lion at Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. The lion had previously been seen approaching people, and was killed. The boy's wounds were not life threatening. (CWR)

17 July. 10-year-old Mark David Miedema was killed by an 88 pound adult female cougar shortly after 4:30 pm while returning from a hike to Cascade Falls on the North Inlet Trail on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Mark had raced ahead of his family on the well-traveled trail in order to see if animals had eaten the peanuts he had left on the trail on the way up. Mark was only 3-4 minutes ahead of his parents, but he was out of their sight; his family arrived to see his feet and legs extending onto the trail from adjacent brush. The cougar attempted to drag him away before fleeing. Mark died from choking on his own vomit, not from his wounds from the attack. Mark had tried to fight the cougar, and had scratches on his face and puncture wounds on his face, neck and scalp.

The lion was shot once or twice at 7 pm by Chris Philippi, a National Park Service officer who was guarding the boy's body while waiting for the coroner. The lion ran off and was killed at 8:03 pm by a professional lion tracker with dogs. The lion was pregnant with three fetuses, 2 to 2.5 years old in good health.

The trail follows the edge of Summerland Park, a meadow where elk and deer graze and is a classic area for mountain lions to hunt.

This was the fourth death in Rocky Mountain National Park this year. The other deaths were from a heart attack, a suicide, and a climbing accident. Two other hikers were attacked by cougars in Colorado in the previous year. This is the second death ever in Colorado from a lion attack. (Trail-Gazetta 7/23/97; Denver Post, 5/1/98, B-01; CWR; SDUT 8/16/98; 4/25/99, BOOKS-8)

20 October. A 20-year-old mountain bike rider was attacked by a cougar at Walker Ranch Open Space near Flagstaff Mountain, in the hills west of Boulder, Colorado. The lion lunged and "took a swipe" at him, then stopped and snarled with its ears laid back. The biker used his bike to protect him until the lion backed off. However, as the man continued slowly down the trail, the lion followed him for a short distance until finally leaving. (CWR)
1998

28 April. Andy Peterson, 24, an experienced hiker from Littleton, was attacked in Roxborough State Park, Colorado, while hiking alone in the 3,000 acre park on the Carpenter Peak trail about 2 to 3 miles west of the visitor center.

The hiker came upon the lion, who was "chewing on a stick", while descending a trail. A 30 minute standoff ended when the lion attacked as the hiker attempted to "retreat up the trail". The lion retreated after it was stabbed once with the 3" blade of a Swiss army knife, attacked again, and then left after the hiker "jabbed his thumb in the lion's eye". The hiker received deep cuts to his head and face, and was hospitalized in fair and stable condition.

Jim Jones, an area wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said that the lion probably wasn't driven away by the hiker's action, but instead "just lost interest", since lions are used to receiving wounds from their prey

Wildlife officials believe the reason the cat attacked was that it was young and learning how to hunt, based on the description provided by Peterson. (Denver Post, 5/1/98, B-01; 5/6/98, B-03)

2005

On August 8th of 2005, a full grown woman in Florida Mesa, Colorado was attacked in her rocking chair on her front porch.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on April 17, 2006 at 10:17 PM

Comments

All of the hikers were unarmed, and therefore unable to kill the mountain lion. The common factor that all victims of fatal mountain lion attacks share is that they were all unarmed.

If the humans had been been armed, the mountain line would have just taken the gun away from them and used it against them. It happens all of the time.

Posted by: Brady Bunch on April 18, 2006 at 10:07 AM

You seem to have a thing for guns.

Do you really think that joggers should jog with them? Do you think that that woman who was attacked sitting in her rocking chair on her porch should be armed every time she sits on her porch?

BTW, people can fight back and win against mountain lions - without guns.
See:
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_3716178
a

Posted by: Rog on January 24, 2012 at 1:38 AM

Hey, chief. To each his own. My point is that firearms are, IMHO, the best defense against apex predators like mountain lions. And the liberal media doesn't want people to be armed. Nor do the police. And, if you have to die to carry on their anti-gun agenda, then that's a price they're willing to pay. If you want to go around unarmed, it's your choice. I wish you the best, liberal anti-gun nut. :)

Posted by: Rob Kiser Author Profile Page on January 24, 2012 at 4:06 PM

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