There's a buzz going around of possible Mountain Lions in Northwest Iowa. One picture circulating Facebook, which was taken by a trail camera, shows a large cat attacking a Buck. Everyone seems to be excited yet scared of what this new possibility may mean for us small town Iowans. I've done some research and good news people, there's no need to fear. This Mountain Lion threat does have some positive aspects. Let's review.
1. A Mountain Lions preferred diet is deer, elk, livestock, and pets. I don't know about anyone else, but I've seen a lot of deer carcasses this fall that were struck by vehicles on the side of the road. Mountain Lions can now act as road kill cleanup for us Iowa drivers.
2. Many citizens motivated by fear will now buy gym memberships instead of walking dirt or back roads for exercise. This stimulates our economy right?
3. Parents now have a valid excuse why their teenagers can not go "gravel travelin" or "cruising" at night.
4. A pet owner will not forget to let their pets back into the house with the threat of possible Mountain Lions, which is a bonus for neighbors irritated by barking dogs.
5. Mountain lions are said to be most active in winter because their large paws can sprint faster over deep snow than their prey and these lions are so smart it's said that they can visually track deer by following their hoof-prints in the snow. Now Iowa hunters can honestly tell their wives that an expensive tree blind is a necessity for their hunting safety.
Now if you are the unfortunate individual who does happen to encounter a Mountain Lion, there are some do's and don'ts that may save your life.
1. Don't run away. Mountain Lions can reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour. It may be your first instinct but this excites the animal. If you can't outrun your dog, what makes you think you can outrun a Mountain Lion?
2. Do yell at the Mountain Lion. It helps them identify you as not being their prey and may help scare them off. Christmas jingles are always the easiest to remember and who knows, Jingle Bells, may end up saving your life.
3. Don't crouch down or turn your back on the animal. Stare down your opponent like he's stolen your purse and slowly back away.
4. Do pretend to be bigger than you are. Puff up those shoulders, stretch out your arms, and let that gut hang out. Intimidation works in the cat world no matter how stupid you think you look.
5. Don't play dead. This only tells the Mountain Lion one thing, "Order Up!"