Defense against Mountain Lions

Mountain lion attacks are extremely rare but can be avoided by hiking in groups and making noise. If you are out in the Arizona wilderness and you don’t see a mountain lion, don’t worry, they saw you.

  • Do not approach a mountain lion.
  • Do not run from a mountain lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Stand and face the animal. Make eye contact.
  • Appear larger: raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you may be a danger to it.
  • Slowly back away from the area.
  • Fight back if attacked: many potential victims have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, bear spray, firearms, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. [1]

As usual when talking about self defense. avoiding the fight is the best course of action. Being noisy and traveling in groups is the best way to keep yourself safe from mountain lions. Again, mountain lion attacks are very rare, especially in AZ. In the case of mountain lions, once the attack begins, there is no de-escalation for a mountain lion. You need to win the fight at all costs. Using a firearm in self defense, even against a mountain lion, requires certain duties on your part.

1 . Arizona Game And Fish Department (2012), Living with Mountain Lions, Retrieved from

*This is provided as a Legal Information Resource and should not be treated as legal advice.