- Hikers in Big Bend National Park in West Texas filmed a surreal encounter of a mountain lion taking down a deer right off the trail
- Upon spotting the mountain lion they started filming and the big cat soon pounced and took off into the brush after the deer
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The current range for mountain lions in the United States covers such a massive stretch of land it’s kind of hard to comprehend. They are found in West Texas and then west to California, then north up to Canada. Their current range is pretty much the western 1/3 of the United States but there are sightings elsewhere as well.
For anyone that isn’t familiar with Big Bend National Park, it’s a national park located in West Texas on the border with Mexico. The name comes from a huge bend in the Rio Grande and the park is home to an incredible array of desert species. Throughout Big Bend National Park, guests can find 75 species of mammals, 56 species of reptiles, and 1,300 different species of birds.
Sounds like a pretty good place to be a mountain lion, doesn’t it? There are around 150 reported cougar sightings every year in Texas’ Big Bend National Park and one of those encounters was recently caught on camera.
In the clip below, hiker Robert Turner was in Big Bend with friends at the end of March. They were hopping along when they spotted a mountain lion ahead. Instead of panicking, he pulled out the camera and started filming. Shortly thereafter the cougar exploded off into the woods after a deer and took it down out in the thick brush.
Mountain Lion Savagely Takes Down Deer At Big Bend National Park
You can hear him saying “This is so cool, man I’m not taking my eyes off this guy. He wants nothing to do with us…He’s getting ready to pounce.” And I’ll be honest, that’s not the same reaction I’d have if I spotted a mountain lion on the trail. I get that there were multiple people there and the cat likely wants nothing to do with them, but there’s no certainty.
How Common Are Cougar Attacks In The USA?
There are a LOT more mountain lions in the United States than I previously suspected. According to the most reliable data, there are an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 mountain lions spread out across the Western United States (primarily across 10 states, give or take a handful). So let’s call it roughly 30,000 mountain lions in the USA.
I was born and raised in Florida and only ever knew the Florida Panther, a distinct subspecies of the mountain lion, and there are only an estimated 130 of them in the wild. That’s clearly affected my perception of cougar numbers because I thought there were maybe 2,000 total in the USA.
With 30,000 cougars in the USA, there are probably a lot of attacks on humans every year, right? Wrong.
There have only been 27 fatal attacks recorded in North America in the past 100 years. The most recent one occurred in Mount Hood National Forest in 2018 and it was the first-ever fatal cougar attack recorded in Oregon.