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My meeting with mountain lions

Submitted by Gean Kearns

mountain lion

I have loved wildlife forever. I got degrees in Wildlife and Range Management and have worked with wildlife in the Big Bend area ever since. I have seen so many different animals in the wild it would take all day just to tell you how great it has been

The most interesting wildlife experience that I've had was with mountain lions. In 2012 I was on the ranch that I manage when I got out of the truck to check out some lion tracks. Before I knew what was happening, two full grown mountain lions--a female and a male--jumped from a 15 foot cliff and landed in front of me. Both of their bodies were at least eight feet long and so were their tails. They were about six feet in front of me when the male hissed at me. I threw my arms up and started kicking rocks at them. I was screaming as loud as I could. After what seemed like forever (which was probably only a few seconds) they relaxed and slipped into the bushes. I jumped back in the truck where my pistol was and grabbed my camera. But they just disappeared in the brush and I couldn't find them to take a picture.

I should have known better than to leave the truck unprotected but I had become complacent. Being around wildlife is the greatest experience anyone can have but we need to remember that the animals we encounter are wild. I have seen black bears and Mexican gray wolves and many other animals here in the Big Bend. But the mountain lion encounter got my heart rate higher than any other encounter I've had. This experience let me know no matter how long I have worked with wildlife, I should never forget what I was taught: to be careful.