Steamboat man sees mountain lion on front porch (with video)
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said mountain lion sightings are rare, but people should still be prepared
Dan Miller scrolls through the recorded video on his Ring security camera at least twice per week. Usually, he sees what he considers ordinary activity — mail carriers dropping off packages, bears roaming around and small animals, such as skunks and porcupines, scurrying through bushes.
As he was clearing video Sunday, Miller came across a recording he thought was unique: a large mountain lion walking across his front porch on Meadow Lane in Steamboat Springs’ mountain area.
“I was excited to see it because I had no idea there were resident mountain lions in Steamboat Springs,” Miller said. “I think everyone in Steamboat should know that there are mountain lions prowling our neighborhoods.”
Though Miller was surprised to see the lion, he felt a sense of joy that mountain lions are still able to exist in town, as many areas have become uninhabitable to large animals.
“Our ecosystem hasn’t been completely compromised by human activity like other places have,” Miller said. “To me, I was happy to see that our area still supports large carnivores like mountain lions.”
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Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Manager Kris Middledorf estimated there are about 4,000 mountain lions in Colorado, though it’s difficult to say how many are in Routt County. Middledorf said human interaction with lions is rare, and humans being attacked by a lion is even more rare.
“Mountain lions are very reclusive animals that really don’t want to be around humans,” Middledorf said. “The majority of lions that are out here are never seen by humans.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has documented 25 mountain lion attacks on humans since 1990, including four since 2019. Three of those four were in Larimer County.
To air on the safe side, Middledorf encourages people to always be aware of their surroundings when enjoying the outdoors, keep kids close, listen to what’s going on around them and keep pets on a leash.
“You also want an animal to know that you’re there, and you’ve seen it before it sees you,” Middledorf added.
If humans spot a mountain lion, Middledorf said the most important thing is not to run away, as that can spook the animal. Middledorf also said people should make themselves look large, throw objects at the lion and back away slowly, facing the lion without making eye contact. While attacks are incredibly rare, Middledorf said if a person is attacked, they should fight back as hard as they can.
“Lions are around us all the time, and the majority of the time, we don’t know it,” Middledorf said. “It’s a rare occurrence, but when you’re hiking or mountain biking, and you’re in the same habitat as other prey like elk and deer, you should be aware that there are other animals here with us.”
Larry Desjardin, president of wildlife advocacy group Keep Routt Wild, said bear spray also works as a general deterrent for all wildlife and is good to carry.
While lions typically prey on smaller animals rather than humans, Desjardin said most humans who have been attacked were jogging and posed what mountain lions viewed as a threat. To combat this, Desjardin emphasized the need to be aware of one’s surroundings.
“We’re in their territory, and we need to know how to be good neighbors to them,” Desjardin said.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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