Matt Winkle was driving in Great Falls on Monday night and saw what he believed to be a mountain lion.
He shared a brief video with MTN News of the mountain lion, which was in the vicinity of 8th Avenue North and 10th Street.
Winkle said in a Facebook post: "I first saw it cross 9th st right at the bridge. Tried to tail it, lost it around 11 st and 6th ave... Cops swarmed the area, but I had lost sight of it by then. It ducked into an alley and went in someone's yard. Then vanished...."
Several other people have commented that have seen a mountain lion in town within the last several days.
We are trying to get more information from the Great Falls Police Department and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks about the mountain lion.
We will update you when we get more information.
The National Park Service provides the following guidelines if you encounter a mountain lion:
- Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up if possible so that they don't panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion.
- Do not crouch down or bend over. A human standing up is just not the right shape for a lion's prey. Conversely, a person squatting or bending over resembles a four-legged prey animal. In mountain lion country, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children.
- Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Again, pick up small children. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.
- Fight back if attacked. A hiker in southern California used a rock to fend off a mountain lion that was attacking his son. Others have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal
- Bear Spray. Carry bear spray with you while hiking. Although it is called “bear” spray, the pepper powder will work on just about any wild or domestic animal that attacks.
Residents should report any possible mountain lion sightings immediately to law enforcement or to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.