Huge Mountain Lion Visits Downtown Crestline

We’ve been in Crestline since Sunday evening, and I saw the bold headlines through the plastic door of the vending machine as we prepared to enter the cafe tonight. “Look at that, Jerry. There’s been a mountain lion attack here in Crestline.”

And so there has. A few days ago, a massive mountain lion whose size was judged to be 3-and-a-half to four feet long went on the attack right in the downtown area of our village of around 8,000 people. It occurred about images2:00 Tuesday morning on the property of a couple who, about that time, heard their cats begin crying. Thinking it was probably a dog pestering their cats, they went outside to the pen where they were kept, and there was this huge mountain lion inside the pen.

“I was at my computer and I heard this heinous scream,” the woman’s husband said. “I didn’t know if it was a raccoon or my cats. I went outside and saw a huge mountain lion trapped inside the pen. It bucked its head at me. I think it felt threatened. It didn’t seem to like me at all. At that point I ran into the house and called 9-1-1.”

The sheriff was there within minutes, and arrived in time to see the mountain lion while it was still in the pen.

“The sheriff’s spotlight was trained on the pen, and it startled the cat,” the man said. “It bucked the pen. It used its head to move it, and it (the pen) flew in the air. I haven’t seen a mountain lion this big since (I went to) the San Diego Zoo. It’s as big as the ones at the Mirage (in Vegas). When the pen went flying I ran inside the house.”

Later as deputies searched, they again saw the lion heading toward Crest Forest Drive, and at that point contacted the California Department of Fish and Game. They’re reminding residents to guard their children and pets, by supervising children when they are outside, and by keeping pets inside at night.

Additionally, they have extended the following general information and warnings:

“As a reminder,” a sheriffs’ press release states, “if residents see a mountain lion they are not authorized to shoot the animal, but immediately notify the sheriff’s department and the DFG.”

The DFG offers this information and these tips to stay safe: More than half of California is mountain lion habitat. Mountain lions generally exist wherever deer are found. They are solitary and elusive, and their nature is to avoid humans.

Mountain lions prefer deer but, if allowed, they also eat pets and livestock. In extremely rare cases, even people have fallen prey to mountain lions.

– Don’t feed deer; it is illegal in California and it will attract mountain lions.

– Deer-proof your landscaping by avoiding plants that deer like to eat. For tips, request a Gardener’s Guide to Preventing Deer Damage from DFG offices.

– Trim brush to reduce hiding places for mountain lions.

– Don’t leave small children or pets outside unattended.

– Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.

– Provide sturdy, covered shelters for sheep, goats, and other vulnerable animals.

– Don’t allow pets outside when mountain lions are most active—dawn, dusk, and at night.

– Bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossums and other potential mountain lion prey.

Staying Safe in Mountain Lion Country

Mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people. Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, conflicts are increasing as California’s human population expands into mountain lion habitat.

– Do not hike, bike, or jog alone.

– Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active—dawn, dusk and at night.

– Keep a close watch on small children.

– Do not approach a mountain lion.

– If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.

– If attacked, fight back.

– If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 9-1-1.

Mountain lions that threaten people are immediately killed. Those that prey on pets or livestock can be killed by a property owner after the required depredation permit is secured. Moving problem mountain lions is not an option. It causes deadly conflicts with other mountain lions already there, or the relocated mountain lion returns to the area from which it was removed.

Source: Crestline-Courier News/Photobucket

I love our small town of Crestline here in these San Bernardino Mountains, and have always understood there to be a certain risk from wild animals when one lives in such a place. My grandchildren visit frequently when we’re here, and for years we’ve walked through the woods, pulled wagons with drinks and lunches aboard, picked up sticks, mounded pine cones and played games among the trees. I’ll continue with these activities, I suppose, but this cat sighting has made me quite cautious, and I probably won’t be prowling around by myself, nor will I let any grandchild wander about alone. I’ll keep my eye on Jerry, too. 🙂

12 thoughts on “Huge Mountain Lion Visits Downtown Crestline

  1. Since some people already enjoy capturing and tagging lions and other wild animals with tracking devices, why not tag them all and set up geo-fencing with a phone app that alerts potentially affected residents when a mountain lion or other stalkers pass into the tagged area. Could also be use for convicted sex offenders to alert people when one comes lurking about.


  2. Mountain lion sightings are very common in California, and have not increased (may have even decreased) since hunting was stopped. Radio collar data show that lions are frequently near persons, though unseen. In spite of that, attacks on persons are very uncommon, the last being in 2007 in Humboldt County. There are no data suggesting that lion populations are increasing. Those are the facts, and you can verify them with Fish and Game.

    Mountain lions are good neighbors. I have to laugh at people who want to “get away from it all” in the foothills or mountains, and brag about their natural surroundings, and then want to shoot anything that moves. People need to take responsibility for their pets…if you can’t or won’t protect them, don’t have them. Guns just make things more dangerous, especially around kids.


  3. Shirley, we just had a mountain lion weighing more than 1 hundred pounds captured in the middle of town. Just about three blocks from my house.

    It was just laying around in some ladies tree. Reminded me of your post.

    Jay, that’s an exciting story. Can you image getting that fat cat out of the tree after he was tranquillized. I’d certainly want to be sure he was unconscious. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I suppose some things never change.Back around 1968 I spent a weekend with a friend in Crestline. We saw a Cougar, and two bears that weekend.

    Glad you are safe, take care.

    It was your lucky weekend…lucky you saw them…lucky they didn’t want you for dinner.


  5. The only gun to ever be afraid of is one that is pointed at you, but of course, by then, fear wont do any good.

    And I too am scared of my housecat…he’s psychotic!

    Feed him Thorazine.


  6. Shirley, I believe the solution for this is that you get a .45 to carry in your purse. If you don’t have one already.

    I’m almost as afraid of guns as I am wild cats.


  7. Are you kidding me? I’m scared of my own house cat. I’m sure he wants to kill me more often than not, and probably would if he stood more than 8 inches tall. I can’t imagine having one of those one the loose.

    Well, I can see I can’t call on you for backup if I get in a cat emergency.


  8. The one animal I respect the most when I am in their environment is a large cat. I have seen several in their environment, at a distance, and they are beautiful. I do all I can to keep them at a safe distance plus a margin of error. PLEASE be both careful and aware of your surroundings.


    Bear sightings are much more common around our town, (although I’ve never seen one). Rarely is a cat seen. It does make me a little nervous.


  9. Farrell Forrest

    Maybe those lusive lions truly do exist!!!!!!!

    Be carefull sister.

    I cannot imagine the fear I would feel if I chanced on a mountain lion in one of our yards. Well, I can imagine quite a bit, but doubt if it would compare to the real thing.

    Those lions on or off the Springfield library were much safer.


  10. Kris Keyes

    Some years ago the California Animal rights activists, in thier infinate wisdom convinced the citizens of CA to pass a proposition banning the hunting of Mountain lions…..which has resulted in a surge in the lion population and an absence of fear in the big cats.

    So when one gets in trouble the Game and Fish has to hire a professional tracker/hunter…(Bro Leo Fisher of Taft is one) to hunt it down and kill it.
    So now instead of private hunters paying the state of CA for the privelage of hunting lions, the citizens get to spend tax money to have problem cats removed……brilliant, Huh…

    Leo Fisher sometimes comes here to the San Bernardino mountains. I understand the Bertram’s son has just been licensed for the same job. May see them both here in Crestline. I’m not a scary person at all and have never felt fearful living here, but I’m not fond of visualizing a huge mountain lion padding down the streets and lanes of Crestline.


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