Another close-in cougar incident

By Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate May 20, 2013 05:39 pm

Bicyclist, 13, reports he saw mountain lion on road

A teenager riding his bike said he came across a mountain lion on Sandmann Road off Parkway Drive on Thursday evening — the second reported human-cougar encounter near Crescent City in two weeks.

13-year-old Richie England was riding his bike around 8 p.m. when a mountain lion stepped out of a wooded area onto the road about 40 yards ahead, walking away from him, said Rich England Sr., Richie’s father, who was on his bike about 60 yards behind his son. England’s wife and daughter were walking behind him.

“I heard him yelling and screaming,” said England, a counselor for Crescent Elk Middle School. “He’s standing there on his bike with his hands in the air.”

England recalled his son yelled back toward him, “Dad, there’s a mountain lion. It’s right there.”

His son estimated the animal was 7 feet long, England said.

Richie England said Friday night he wasn’t too worried about an attack, but the animal had his attention.

“It scared me, but I know that there’s not very many attacks,” said Richie, a Redwood Elementary School student.

Richie said when he began yelling and screaming at the cougar it turned around, got into a crouching posture — tail down and shoulders moving up and down — for several seconds before leaping back into the woods.

“It was kind of a little stand-off,” said his father, who described his family as being outdoors-oriented. “We’ve told them before, if you see a mountain lion this is what you do. I was very proud of him.”

The encounter came on the family’s first recent group exercise.

“We’re going to get in shape, walk down the road and then we see a mountain lion,” said England. “It killed that.”

The eerie part of the story is that earlier England had to decline several requests from his son to ride through a trail in the woods where he and his sisters often play. That’s where the cougar emerged onto the road.

“My concern is there’s lots of little kids out there,” said England. “If we can get the information out it’s a good idea.”

England said one of his neighbors saw a mountain lion about two months ago in the area and another neighbor said he heard a mountain lion several months ago.

England said he notified the Department of Fish and Wildlife about the encounter and was still waiting to be contacted.

Mountain lions are territorial animals. If there is a lack of food as a result of this year’s dry winter conditions, it could shift the local population as the cougars compete for resources, said Park Ranger Jeff Denny on Friday. 

Last week, an off-duty park ranger escaped injury after a young mountain lion who was chasing his dog on Crescent Beach changed its sights toward the man.

The ranger fended off the lion by hitting it with a fishing pole and kicking it.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife was called to the scene, located the lion a couple hours later in driftwood near the area of attack and killed it.

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