Tuesday, August 7, 2012

cougar cardio

Saw this through the window at my left elbow, yesterday, 7 p.m.

At this point I put the camera down, not wishing to watch my chickens get killed,
and grabbed the nearest big stick--a bright yellow swiffer.

Went outside in my socks, shouted profanity and waved the swiffer.
Mountain lion stopped and stared at me, but didn't seem very impressed.

Returning to my house, I ran upstairs to grab our shotgun.
Which is not loaded. Not even sure it works. But, it looks better.

Ran back downstairs, out onto our back porch again,
this time with shotgun and slip-on shoes, I felt a little more confident.

A nonsensical stream of profanity emitted from my mouth,
loudly, with a suitably low pitch,
and I jabbed the air with my shotgun.

This time the lion backed off. Then it stopped.
Then I increased my shouting and waving, advancing bit by bit,
and the lion slunk back into the wildlands at the back of our yard.

I continued forward, and banged the shotgun against the t-posts framing our chicken run
(like a good primate, smacking a tree with a stick)
still shouting.

It's possible it was just offended by my potty mouth.

Chickens were STILL not in the coop, standing in their yard.
Talk about naive*. Jeepers.

Back in my house, ignoring my freaked out cats,
I noted my rapid breathing and pounding heart,
and that the exhausted sleepiness I was suffering from all afternoon was gone.
I was MEGA alert.

Then called husband and asked for permission to NOT go out and actually
lock the chickens up, 'cause I didn't want to have to back up my empty threat.
By poking a lion with a stick.


"Bear" gave me the thumbs up (after saying he was impressed at my bravery--yay!)
and I stayed in my little coop, nice and safe.

And uploaded my photos.

And called my mom. =)

Our first sighting of a mountain lion on our property,
though they've been sighted in our neighborhood numerous times.

I'm psyched they're here,
I'm surprised I ran after one,
and I'm pleased with the outcome.

And, by the way, there are only six recorded human fatalities
from mountain lions in California between 1890 and 2011,
20 in all of North America (most in Canada).

And now, the next morning,
my chickens are begging to be let into their yards, again.
So, maybe I'll let them.

After all, life must go on, yes?


p.s. I was never so glad to be tall as I was yesterday. =)
I think all the adrenaline made me 2 inches taller,
or maybe it was just my hair standing up.

p.p.s. if you want the behind-the-scenes chaos, it's here.

*naive in the wildlife behavior sense, most like definition #2 in dictionary.com:
"having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information."
Never been exposed to this particular stimulus (be it ever so panty and hungry).


  1. oh, my!!! you are so very brave. I got freaked out dealing with a rattle snake just outside the house, and here you are chasing mountain lions away. You are my hero-ess! xo

    1. =) Moving rattlesnakes isn't bad IF you have the proper (very long pole-equipped) equipment. If not, yikes. Risky business. I never PLANNED to bluff a mountain lion. =)

  2. Wow. That was like a post from Mainly Mongoose. You are a brave hen protector.

    1. Dude. You are speaking to my brain re: HUGE COMPLIMENT!!! She's a goddess. I was 10 feet from my back door. =) She's in the WILDS. But, thanks. Love it.

  3. air horn. cheap, easy to stash somewhere, probably will be shockingly noisy to your country visitors, does not require walking away from the slightly ajar door although dancing wildly on threshold while blowing the horn will probably really back up the threat. I saw your title and instantly jumped to the conclusion that lion was stalking deer frequently seen in your yard. Surprised it was going after chickens. Could it be a dispersing juvenile which might be after easier prey? Big cat, small head, can you tell from your original photos if that is spotting or stripes on the inside of the legs indicating juvie or is that just grass or shadows? You should keep in the back of your mind that it might return and you and Bear should be a little more careful about walking around alone at night in the vicinity. Congratulations, you are one B.A. Chicken Mama.

    1. 1. Dood, you are a GENIUS! I am SO going to buy an air horn!! That NEVER occurred to me, and I know loud noises are a common hazing tool for wildlife. PLAN!
      2. I think you are 100% right re: age of mt. lion. Esp. if it can get scared off by a tall, skinny-armed female in boat shoes. I've TOTALLY looked at the photo more closely, and tho' I cannot tell for sure, I think it IS spottiness. It was in the shadows, though, and I had it stopped down from previous shots, so it's extra dark. However, I totally think you're right. And my gym owner (a previous year) got (I think bluff) charged by what turned out to be a 2 year old male, as he learned through work with CDFG to relocate it. Poor little youngsters, hungry and trying to figure stuff out.
      3. I quit my workout yesterday in the gym once I'd done all the things I cannot do at home so I could get home before dark. Hee!!
      4. Thanks for the B.A.C.M. title. xoxoxo

  4. I was picking some fresh catnip tonight when I surprised a Praying Mantis who jabbed my finger before scurrying off.

    Danger everywhere, I tell you...

    1. =) Yup. It's high stakes out there, if you don't have your own house with a refrigerator. Actually living outside ALL the time, CONSTANTLY at risk of practically everything. We are such pampered little creatures. =) Hope your finger is better.

  5. I think it would be neat to see one, in a SCARY way. I just wouldn't want to see it after my chickens, though. But a Swiffer? Crazy girl--you need a Rubbermaid floor system mop--much scarier-LOL!

    1. Hee. It WAS super cool. Esp. once I was back in the house, safe, tho' sweaty and panting. I'll have to look up your mop, see if I need to upgrade my self defense weaponry. =) xo

  6. Wow, and the only wildlife I snapped a photo of on Monday was a lime green grasshopper next to my front door.
    Definitely less impressive!

    Love your cougar-deterring methods!

    1. I have about 10,000 bug photos and 6 mountain lion photos (all taken at 7:10 p.m. Monday). =)

      Grasshoppers are voracious predators in my garden, I can tell you. Fierce on a smaller scale.

  7. Well done girlfriend well done!!!

  8. Good grief! That's exciting and scary, which is either exscary or scariting. Possibly neither. I don't know.

    Anyway, what a wonderful creature to see in your yard.

    The air horn sounds like a good idea to me. I might get one to scare off unwanted visitors of the human kind. And a mop too for the same purpose.

    *takes notes*

    1. *happy sigh*
      You crack me up; esp. the *takes notes*. I can see it! =) Delightful. And yes, air horn for unwanted Homo sapiens visitors. Great idea.

  9. An excellent post describing great courage (you) and great stupidity (chickens). Brava! --And don't get eaten!

  10. haha...well, not such a HAHA at that moment!

    i wonder what the lion was thinking...crazy lady with a swiffer.
    HEY the airhorn idea is great!

    yep...life goes on, but you also have that motherly instinct to protect!

  11. Freakin awesome. Love that you grabbed a swiffer, and yes you deserve that BACM title!!!! Can't even imagine the exhilaration afterwards!

  12. Pretty impressed! But the lion might be back = those chickens may need to move?
    Good luck!


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