Motorist has scary encounter with mountain lion |

Motorist has scary encounter with mountain lion

A mountain lion was hit by a van and died Wednesday night on U.S. Highway 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass.
courtesy/ Dave Carroll

— An adult female mountain lion was hit by a van and died Wednesday night on U.S. Highway 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass.

Steamboat Springs resident Rob Day said he was driving back from Denver and traveling about 65 mph when the lion jumped in front of his work van.

“This was like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Day said. “It was full-on airborne like it was trying to attack the van.”

After pulling over, Day noticed the lion was still breathing before it was hit by several other cars. Day and another motorist then pulled the lion off the road. Day’s van sustained minor damage.

The carcass was taken to wildlife officials. It will be skinned, and the hide will be auctioned off by Parks and Wildlife. The meat likely is not salvageable.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager Jim Haskins said it is not uncommon for mountain lions to meet their demise on the roadways. Earlier this year, two young mountain lions were hit and killed near Yampa.

“It’s not as common as bears or other things, but it’s not uncommon,” Haskins said.

Lion spotted in Butcherknife Canyon

On Monday evening, two people reported seeing a mountain lion in the Butcherknife Canyon area.

There are sightings in that area nearly every year.

Nearby schools were informed of the sighting, and children are encouraged to buddy up when walking to and from school. Signs have also been posted along the trail.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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