List of Mountain Lion Encounters With People in California

This page is a very incomplete list of a handful of mountain lion encounters with people in California. It is a complement to the complete list of all attacks on people that involve physical contact by mountain lions on people. The purpose is simply to indicate the kind of encounters that one can have that do not end in an attack.

In general, because encounters are fairly common, I do not intend to add further encounters to this page unless they have some different twist to them than the encounters listed here.


25 June. Two lions chased a German couple with a small son in the Green Valley Campground area of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. They reported one large lion with a smaller one. The Game Warden found both together, and neither moved when he approached. He shot the bigger one -- an 80-pound male -- first, and the smaller one didn't move. He then shot that one, a 63-pound male. (SDUT 2/11/96, C14)


11 November 2002. Russell Souza says that he was attacked by a cougar in the Diablo Range foothills of southwestern Stanislaus County, and he ended up killing the cougar with his hunting rifle. The California Department of Fish and Game is currently examining the carcass for evidence to corroborate Russell's story. (Modesto Bee, 11/22/02)


January. Three bicyclists were "menaced" by a mountain lion at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. (SDUT 12/11/94, A1)

9 May. A couple with a little boy saw a lion approaching at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. They threw rocks, but it refused to move away. The Game Warden went to the area the next day, saw it and shot it. He found the 83-pound male had been feeding on a fresh deer kill nearby. (SDUT 2/11/96, C14)


January. A mountain lion charged Michelle Rossmiller, a 17-year-old girl, as she was unloading school books from her car at her home on Volcan Mountain, San Diego County. Lisa Rossmiller, her mother, said: She saw it coming at her, thought fast and closed the door before it reached her. It was running straight at her. (SDUT 1/28/95, B3).


16 January. A woman on horseback at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park reported an aggressive lion. She likely saved herself by baring her teeth, growling and staring the lion down as it approached her. Two Game Wardens and an Animal Damage Control specialist went to that spot the next day, and the lion charged them, getting to within 15 feet before the 62-pound male was shot twice. "What bothered me about this one is the veterinarian said it was a cub," Game Warden Turner said. "It was a 1 1/2 - to 2-year-old that probably was just booted out by its mother and was trying to make it on its own." Turner said he'd never had a lion charge like this one. (SDUT 2/11/96, C14)


28 December. A female cougar charged a group of women and children at Caspers Regional Park in Orange County, less than two weeks after the county had lifted restrictions on minors visiting the park. The cougar was later killed. (OCR 9/29/98)


August. A woman encountered a cougar near Stonewall Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. She used pepper spray on an aggressive cougar and finally repelled it from attacking her and a female friend after a 15-minute ordeal. (SDUT 10/10/98, B1)

October. Four mountain lions were killed at Los Vaqueros horse camp in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, California. That brought the total to 12 mountain lions killed in the park since 1987. (SDUT 10/10/98, B1)

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Copyright © 1999-2004 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 15 January 2004.