A Hermosa woman who woke up in the early morning hours to care for her 4-month-old baby was in for a bit of a surprise when she opened the blinds and saw a mountain lion, just a few feet away from her window, attacking a deer.
Jessie Davis suspects the mountain lion took down a small deer that had been hanging around the house for the past few months. The attack occurred early Friday, north of Durango.
“I knew something was dead out there,” she said.
With phone in hand, Davis opened the blind, and there it was, the mountain lion with a death grip around the deer’s neck, about 4 feet from her home.
“I was very startled, for sure,” she said.
The mountain lion held its grip for about 30 minutes, Davis said. It then lifted its head, looked around, saw Davis in the window and began carrying the carcass away.
Davis’ husband, Ryan, who owns the Hermosa Creek Grill, said the lion dragged the carcass over a fence and more than 100 yards to a neighbor’s property.
Over the next few days, the female mountain lion fed on the deer.
The Davises went around the property and could see the strides the mountain lion took before attacking the deer, some as far as 20 feet apart.
“Their stride is unbelievable,” Jessie Davis said.
Davis said her family is used to being in mountain lion country, and has always taken precautions.
Joe Lewandowski, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said Southwest Colorado has a healthy population of mountain lions.
“As this video shows, deer are the favored prey of mountain lions,” he said. “They do most of their hunting from dusk to dawn. And groups of animals, such as deer or turkeys, provide an invitation to mountain lions.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife says residents shouldn’t intentionally feed wildlife because that causes animals to gather unnaturally in groups. People should also keep an eye on their pets when let outdoors, as dogs and cats can be easily nabbed by a mountain lion.
“Those with hobby livestock should also make sure the animals are in fully enclosed pens or buildings,” Lewandowski said. “Lions have been known to jump 8-foot-high fences.”
Lewandowski said attacks on humans are exceedingly rare. But anyone who sees a mountain lion should back away slowly, talk in a loud voice, make themselves look bigger by lifting their arms or jacket and throw something at it. In mountain lion country, it is a good idea to carry a walking stick or a hiking pole, he said.
People who see mountain lions or prey caches are asked to contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife to report the location and/or circumstances by calling 247-0855. CPW officers will also visit with property owners if there are concerns about mountain lions or any other potential wildlife conflicts.