Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito

Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito title=
Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito
11 Comments
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By Ryan M.

[Friday morning] I had an earlier than normal meeting with a subcontractor on a project recently completed in the hills of Montecito. The subcontractor was late, so I waited quietly in my truck, thumbing through my emails with the door open enjoying the morning air.

Then in my peripheral vision, I caught the movement of something large that was fairly close to me. As my focus sharpened toward this movement, I was startled to see for the first time ever in the wild and only 12 feet away, a freaking mountain lion! The lion paused looking in the direction of his travel up the driveway toward the mountain. I don't think he had realized I was there.

He then turned and looked straight at me and we were both locked in a stare that must have lasted 20 seconds. Absolutely astounded, I was trying to get the sense of the cat's next move and then my thought turned to trying to get a photo of this creature. I was able to thumb through my phone and get the camera app up and with this cat continuing to stare me down. After snapping three photos, the cat lost interest and turned back up the drive and went on his way stopping a few times to look back at me. 

What seemed to have happened next, I hope did not actually happen. About 5 to 10 minutes after the cat slipped out of sight to the neighbor's property to the north, I heard the crack of a high powered rifle. I have been to gun ranges a couple times and this was very loud and very close, coming in the same direction as the cat had traveled. Gathering my thoughts and thinking through the consequences I jumped in my truck and drove around to the neighbor's driveway, it was gated.

I was deeply disturbed that this beautiful encounter may have ended tragically, I called the non-emergency line of the Santa Barbara County Sheriffs department, spoke with dispatch, recounted my experience and that I had heard the gun shot. The dispatcher said that she would send a deputy. I waited one and half hours, no show. I could not wait any longer. 

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biguglystick Aug 15, 2017 10:56 AM
Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito

I REALLY hope that no one shot that beautiful mountain lion. If you learn about them you will know that they are just as afraid of us and want nothing to do with us. I LOVE our local wildlife. I cannot imagine the mind of anyone who would KILL a magnificent being such as this just because it wandered onto their property. I hope it was just a warning shot to chase her off. I wish everyone felt the way I do about our wildlife, maybe then we wouldn't have so many species dwindling in rapid decline toward extinction. To learn more about mountain lions check out: www. mountainlion dot org. That is the website for the Mountain Lion Foundation.

CivilEngineer Aug 14, 2017 12:30 PM
Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito

Big predators are doomed, and anything else that gets in our way to develop and control the land so that we get what we want.

richyrich Aug 14, 2017 09:21 AM
Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito

Lots of people shoot legally in the unincorporated parts of the county. The sheriffs typically don't respond. I agree, let's hope the person didn't actually shoot at the cat. I've lost a couple of cats and had my dog attacked by a couple of coyotes right out my front door. When they come super close to my house I shoot a shotgun round safely to scare them off. Unfortunately my neighbor thinks a shoot coyotes, which I would never ever do.

Channelfog Aug 14, 2017 09:57 AM
Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito

Richyrich, good for you for choosing to use a shotgun. They have a short range and zero ricochet potential. I am always amazed by people who thing that a .22 cal is ok to shoot due to the small caliber size. The range of a 22LR cartridge is a mile and velocity of the slug is sufficient for considerable ricochet potential. I wish people understood that the only firearm round that is safe to be discharged up into the air is shot, not a bullets.

vrajaprana Aug 14, 2017 07:02 AM
Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito

That beauty was around in our neighborhood in Montecito, I hope to God no one hurt him. Our neighbors who had a close encounter a few days ago were scared but wouldn't have hurt him for anything, he's too magnificent. He's been around and everyone is in awe of him.

MountainMan4865 Aug 13, 2017 10:28 PM
Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito

One can only hope, with a single shot, that it was to scare it off. With something that large, it would take an expert to immediately kill it with just one shot, and then what? Let us all put it out there that it was a warning shot.

Channelfog Aug 13, 2017 10:43 AM
Mountain Lion Stare Down in Montecito

This is not the first time I have heard of Uber-wealthy people discharging firearms in Montecito. In one instance, an exceedingly expensive pool table was accidentally shot. I am not surprised that law enforcement was a no show and have no doubt that there would have been a fast and furious response in a low income neighborhood. This is the kind of irresponsible behaviour that gives firearms a bad name and that is a potential danger to neighboring residents. I would say it falls in the "more money than brains" category. For the record, I am a long time member of the Winchester Canyon Gun Club and ardent supporter of the 2nd amendment. Bans on anything do not work, education and ethics do work. I hope the shooter had bad aim and that this lovely creature escaped unharmed.

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