Wilderness Do's and Don'ts: Wild Animals 101

March 25 2009, 12:53 PM
The two most dangerous animals in Colorado are mountain lions and black bears. Think preventively: Hike with at least one other person, and keep talking so you won't surprise an animal. Keep children and dogs close. Should you encounter a mountain lion:
Move slowly, talk to it, and attempt to appear larger by raising your arms and opening your jacket. Pick up small children, but don't run. If the lion approaches, throw rocks and sticks, wave your arms, and yell. If attacked, remain standing and face the lion, and fight back with your hands, sticks, or rocks--adult mountain lions weigh up to 180 pounds, but they can be fended off.
To avoid black bears:
Stow food, drinks, and toiletries in a bear sack or canister and hang it 20 feet off the ground, at least 200 yards from your campsite. Keep children and dogs close. If you encounter a bear, stay still and calm--don't run or climb a tree. If you see cubs, leave the area, as the mother probably is nearby. Getting caught between mom and baby bears is extremely dangerous. If a bear approaches, throw rocks and sticks and yell, or bang together cooking pots and utensils. If you're attacked, fight back with sticks, rocks, and your hands. Do not play dead.