Area mountain lion sightings

Tips to stay safe

Jess Oaks
Posted 6/12/24

GOSHEN COUNTY – Each spring there are multiple unofficial reports of mountain lion sightings in Goshen County and this spring has been no different. Although Mark Dexter of the Wyoming Game and …

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Area mountain lion sightings

Tips to stay safe


GOSHEN COUNTY – Each spring there are multiple unofficial reports of mountain lion sightings in Goshen County and this spring has been no different. Although Mark Dexter of the Wyoming Game and Fish says he hasn’t had any recent reports, the probability of a mountain lion being spotted in the area is pretty high. 

“We pretty much get everything through this area,” Dexter explained. “We get the occasional black bear, obliviously mountain lions. Moose occasionally,” Dexter said. “We do get all of the big game species coming through and trophy game. The water corridors help move everything along.”

Dexter also explained although there have been reports of wolves moving into Wyoming from Colorado, Goshen County hasn’t had any confirmed wolf sightings. 

“We get reports of wolves coming through. No pictures of any wolves, just people saying that they have seen them,” Dexter explained. “We get all of the species passing through here, so if we do get wolves, it would be one or two just passing through. The younger generations moving outside of their realm,” Dexter explained. “Most of the time it is coyotes that people mistake for them.” 

According to Dexter, once you see a wolf, you won’t mistake the much smaller species even though the coyotes look healthy this year. 

“There is enough game out there for them, the rabbits and the birds and stuff they are eating,” Dexter explained. “In size comparison to a wolf, once you see a wolf and you realize just how big they truly are in person, it’s hard to mistake them.” 

According to Dexter, although there haven’t been reports made to the game and fish, residents need to pay attention to area wildlife.

“On our Wyoming Game and Fish website we have a safety list of mountain lion encounter tips,” Dexter said. “They include anything from not being by yourself out there alone, being in groups of people, making loud noises, things that can scare the cats off.”

Like all wildlife, it is vital to give mountain lions their space, according to Dexter. 

“Don’t approach a mountain lion,” Dexter explained. “If you do encounter them, stay calm. Don’t take off running. That entices them to chase you. Try to make yourself look bigger than what you truly are.”

The game and fish recommend keeping a close eye on young children playing outside and avoiding both dawn and dusk outdoor activities for children. 

“The biggest thing is, especially with kids, make sure you are paying attention to them,” Dexter explained. “Make sure that they aren’t out there by themselves during that time period. Keep them inside between dawn and dusk. That’s just when those cats are more active out there.” 

The game and fish also recommend not feeding the wildlife.

“One thing we notice around town is feeding wildlife, so we recommend don’t feed the wildlife. When you entice the deer and the antelope, or elk to come into your property you can bring in those apex predators like mountain lions,” Dexter explained.  

Dexter also recommends paying close attention to pets outside too.

“Bring pets in at night. That’s always a good thing,” Dexter explained. “Unfortunately, they (mountain lions) will come in and try to grab your house pets.”

“Another good thing if you’re out there, is just to keep things well lit. If it’s around your house make sure you keep your lights on,” Dexter said. “If you are walking that pathway in the morning, if you can have some lights on down there it’s less enticing for those cats to have to come out into the light instead of staying camouflaged in the dark for you.”

Along the North Platte River inside the town of Torrington is also a known habit for the occasional wandering mountain lion according to Dexter. 

“Especially along the river, those thick areas, pay attention to that cover,” Dexter said. “Those mountain lions can stay hidden in those. If it is more of an open area where they can’t sneak up on you, that’s the best place to be.”

According to the game and fish, if a mountain lion attacks you, you have a better chance of survival if you fight back. 

“Running isn’t going to do too much,” Dexter said. “You can always carry a bear spray too. Not to say that is going to help because usually, you’re just going to be attacked. But definitely make yourself look big. Running from these guys isn’t going to give you any chance. You will have to defend yourself. It’s going to be pretty difficult when a cat ambushes you.”

Mountain lions attack, according to Dexter, and they are not seen until it is too late. 

“Usually, with bears, you typically see them,” Dexter explained. “But if you get online, you can see some of these mountain lions where they are approaching people. If they are just approaching you, you can walk away.”

It is important to maintain eye contact with mountain lions or at least face them, according to Dexter.

“Keep facing them. Once you turn your back, that is when a mountain lion is going to try to attack you,” Dexter explained. “Keep facing them and keep eye contact with them. Put your arms up. Once you get attacked, you’re going to have to fight for it. You’re not going to be able to just play dead because they are going to try and kill you the whole way, unlike a bear.”

Although the occasional mountain lion may be seen passing through the area, Dexter explains more of them are just simply not seen.

“We probably walk by more than we don’t,” Dexter explained. “The last one I dealt with I was within five to ten feet of it, and it never moved until I could see it and it still wasn’t going to move. They depend on their camouflage and humans doing their own thing, so they are intermixed with us we just are privileged enough to see how many are around here.” 

“To kind of give you an idea, our hunt area around this area last year, our harvest quota was 12 mountain lions, but we only harvested four mountain lions out of this area,” Dexter said. “It’s a pretty good area on this southeast side of the state. We also had one hit on [US Highway] 85 and killed. So, it would be a total of five cats that came out of this hunt area 25 over here. We really didn’t get that big of a harvest on them. Unlike a lot of the areas that actually close because of quota, we never meet that quota over here.”

It is important to report mountain lion sightings to the game and fish department. 

“We also have a tip line so if people are seeing them around here, there is a phone number that they can call to give us those sightings so we can kind of pay attention to it,” Dexter explained. “It’s 1-877-WGFD-TIP. People can always call us at our game and fish residences as well and give us a notice that they have seen them. They do pass through, but if they are sticking around more than or day or so it is pretty important for us to be notified so we can keep track of them,” Dexter said.