Neighbors Warned to Be Careful of Mountain Lion in Benbow/Kimtu Area

Mountain Lion with cat.

Mountain Lion with cat. [Photo provided by Misty Carrico from a game camera]


“Our local camp spot has no animals this year,” wrote a reader in the Benbow/Kimtu area of Southern Humboldt. “No deer. No birds. Just corpses. Literally at least four different kinds of skeletons littered about.”

On June 8, her mother, who lives below the camp spot, lost the last of her cats, Gretal, to the mountain lion. She told us that she saw the above image from her front yard when she checked her game cam.

The area the family lives in is remote. The area was used to rehome wild animals, the mother told us describing with pleasure four of the rehomed bears that have moved through their area.

But they are worried about this mountain lion. They say there is plenty of wild game for it  but “this is one is dangerous and has learned to live on pets and has stalked people.”

They warn everyone to be careful hiking or biking in the area.

If you encounter a mountain lion, the National Park Service offers these tips:

  • 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.
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76 comments

  • You have a neighbor that’s a houndsman. Maybe he needs to be treed a few times to be encouraged to find a new home.

  • I have seen more Mtn lions in the last 2 years than the previous 30 put together, I get them almost daily on my cameras, no wonder there’s hardly any deer around, not sure what caused the population explosion but they are all over my neck of the woods, bears and bobcats too!

    • There’s been an explosion in land development for marijuana grows these past few years. That displaces animals and pushes them into the lands that are human-occupied but quieter than the grows. Hopefully, with the Green Rush over, things will settle down.

      • Habitat loss significant

        As does the ridiculous loss of habitat from logging in our watersheds and national forests!!! Since green diamond hacked both watersheds on both drainages near me last year, the deer pop is down and more lions being seen. Most of our neighbors then logged for timber not pot so those 3 acre conversions just took another 15 acres around me and there are even people going into turnouts, cutting trees and taking them. CDF regs and enforcement are a joke. Call and tell them you want real punishments for thosr breaking the rules!
        With no habitat the animals are pushed closer to us. And the fires last year displaced lots of animals, mtn lions have huge ranges!
        The animals need shade and cool eater on hot days just like us.

        Studies have shown lions will abandon a kill if human voices are heard, so if you come along one dont disturb it! The lions will have to hunt and kill again.

        I think a lot more deer are dying on our roads, their habitat is shrinking, & any poison can affect reproductive health. Wake up folks, yes theres idiots using poison for grows in forests. But there are bigger idiots who use it around their homes and property all the time, not to mention mass aerial spraying by food and logging companies alike.
        Round-up is now in every single thing anyone wild or not eats and those pesticides build up and affect hormone balance. The fda is finding the glycolphosphates that make up round up in EVERY single food item theyve tested. Its inevitable the entire food chain will be effected by it.
        Yes its in everything you eat now.

        • Mountain lion habitat ranges from scrub desert down south (all the way down to Argentina) to almost Alaska. They could function quite well in suburbia if not removed regularly. In fact, logging increases deer populations by expanding food for them and thus increases their main predator’s food supply too. Still plenty of places to spring their ambushes. So actually logging has probably increased the population.

          Abandoning a kill. Yeah right. Caution may make them hide for a bit but there are few half eaten carcasses in neighborhoods. At worst, they will drag it somewhere else. They have become pretty used to people around.

          • I’ve seen abandoned kills my whole life in the woods. A mountain lion S.O.P. is to make the kill, get their belly full then half bury the deer carcass and let it ripen for a day or two and come back. Now, unfortunately, with the overpopulation of bears, bobcats and other scavengers that carcass gets packed off by them, forcing the cat to make several kills a week instead of one. Funny how when the houndsman could run dogs for bear hunting, trappers took bobcats and hunters smoked ever coyote they saw there seemed to be more deer!

        • Thank you. Its amazing how many people jump on grows, and ignore/forget the THOUSANDS of acres clear cut and poisoned by logging companies. Both are problems, but logging has displaced FAR more animals and their families, in terms of area destroyed. The animals are only doing what they must to feed their kids.

          • Your too funny. Who kills all the wildlife, clear cuts, poisons our watersheds and leave garbage, deadly poisons around? Think again. It’s marijuana growers.

            • Wrong. It’s all of us. We’re invading theid habitat. Doesn’t matter if you have a little getaway cabin, or if you’re a logger, or a back-to-the lander, or a pot grower. If you’re here, you’re in their habitat. (Yes, I’m here. At least I’m aware enough to say it’s not somebody else and not me. And I do my best to be a good neighbor to my wildlife co-residents. No traps, no hounds, no guns and no poisons. We all live here.)

    • Part of the mountain lion population explosion is explained by the fact that it is no longer legal to hunt them with hounds. Such hunting is a hot button issue and that is understandable. What shouldn’t be controversial is acknowledging that lion numbers are up in part because they are no longer being legally controlled by hound hunting.

      • its amazing how all of these animals existed for hundreds of thousands of years without humans controlling them. how did they do it?

        • I’m no expert but it seems highly likely that humans have killed some lions for as long as the two species have shared territory. Additionally, wolves and grizzly bears were part of the historical balance but no longer are in this area. Nature is a complex and interconnected system. Humans are as much a part of that system as lions are.

      • Keep voteing for democrats and we will get more of the same . Oblivios [edit] asking how could this happen

  • Should of never made hunting them illegal here hounds are the best thing for mountain lions and a 30/30

    • Just because you think you’re the most important creature on the planet and the only one that deserves to live in the woods doesn’t make it true. These people had their pet out at 2:00am in the country. Instead of killing everything you think you’re better than people could just live responsibly and put their pets in at night because they live in the country. Think of how many animals that pet killed, animals kill animals for food. Self righteous people kill animals because they think that animal doesn’t deserve to live, and who’s the bad guy in that scenario?

      • If that cat wasn’t killed within five feet of the house, I might agree with you to some extent. What do you think that mountain lion would do to me if I came into it’s den and attacked one of its family members. And believe it or not there’s quite a few people with cats that live outside. All of our cats my entire life have been outside cats, cuz we don’t really enjoy the smell of cat shit in our house, very seldom have we ever lost any. this mountain lion has eaten over eight cats in the last couple months at multiple neighbors houses.

        • My cat is smart enough to hold it all night, I also don’t like litterboxes and if you choose to endanger your cat instead of clean a box once a day then don’t be upset when your reminded your house is on someone else’s home.

      • “True courage is not knowing when to take a life….. but when to spare one!” I would get pissed at bears because I would leave my trash out on Thursday to be picked up on Friday. Bear would hit it every Thursday night! After a year of this I put my trash in the garage till Friday morn. Problem solved. Why? Because we are more intelligent than animals. Use your brain.

      • Some people eat the meat if they kill a lion. I’ve never tried it but have heard it’s delicious.

        • Definitely more respect to eating anything you kill. I personally couldn’t eat anything in the canine or feline family though. I’m huge fan of cats in general and me and my cat lived in Harmony with a mountain lion den SUPER close to my house. One day I accidentally got to close to the den(the day I learned were it was) and woke up to footprints on my doorstep. I checked out it’s home so it checked out mine. Why was my cat not eaten? Because kitties go inside of you want them safe when living on someone else’s territory, no matter what “right” someone thinks they have to a five foot safe zone around the house during hunting hours. If you can stand the animals, you might want to leave their home.

  • I have been at war with these fuckers for twenty years. They sit outside of my fence and scream at me. They kill my pets. They back deer up against my fence and kill the deer. Once they get a meal someplace they will return over and over. Keep your pets in at night during good weather, and kill lions on sight.

    • Share the forest

      Its not too hard to rig up a system that turns a radio on or some other sound once a wire is tripped. Done enough times the animals will re-train themselves that your spot is no good and move on. Check out the study from santa cruz to see how they did it on lion kills to test the theory

      • That picture of the lion with the cat in its mouth was taken literally about 4 feet away from the house, a house with two dogs two humans and plenty of noise. There has always been mountain lions on this property, but we’ve never had one thats behaved like this one is.

  • A sudden disappearance of other wildlife is a sign a mountain (or a family of them) is there. There are few experiences like seeing a mountain lion contemplating you. Even when they get tired of it and move off, you can never be sure they are really gone.

    • That’s what I figured, started a few months ago? It’s just a spring litter, lock your pets up at night until they spread out and take new territories and just one will remain like almost every where in the woods.

  • Which area is this? Kimtu is by Willow Creek, and Benbow is south of Garberville…

    • There is a Kimtu near Garberville too. Down Sprowl Creek Road. Don’t cross the bridge but continue straight ahead past the Community Park.

    • Kimtu, down below Garberville, towards The Community Park.Behind all that is Benbow.

  • There is a Kimtu subdivision south/west of Garberville. It is down Sprowel Creek road which is at the stop sign in Garberville.

  • This area is in the Meadows just below the old benbow damn, and over the hill and across the river from the community park. Property that’s been in my family for four generations, there have always been mountain lions around here but we’ve never had a problem like this. I’m seeing stuff like this just about every time I go down there now.

  • It’s been eaten several neighbors cats over the last four to six months. Yes those are chunks o cat.

  • One of the best things I ever learned from the Elder ladies in the woods is to carry a long umbrella when you’re hiking. If you do see a mountain lion stand tall&still, raise the umbrella above your head as high as you can and slowly open it. The women I know who did this said the mountain lions looked terrified and ran as fast as they could away.

    Condolences on the loss of your kitty!!! Its a hard one.

    • Lol This made me think of an old insulated reversible vest I owned for years. It was navy blue on the outside but very bright yellow on the inside. All I had to do was open it wide, flashing the inside yellow and every worrisome animal I ever encountered would start, take off a few steps, stop and look back for a split second than run away as fast as they could. I thought I had the magic key but the coat I got as a replacement didn’t work although it looked the same to me.

      I’ll remember the umbrella tip.

    • When I was a kid I used to walk at night with a umbrella and flashlight. Shinedthe light behind the open umbrella when I got scared. I could walk anywhere..

  • And was first spotted outside one neighbors emo pin around December.

  • Mountain lions take house cats because they are seen as competition. I haven’t lost a pet to a predator since figuring that out.
    Mountain lions killing birds? Doubt it. When kitty is inside at night, keep those claws clipped blunt. The birds will thank you.
    I’ll take “my” lion over 90% of my dumb-ass neighbors any day of the week. Including the freaked out one with the 30-30.

    • That was a wild turkey corpse, which mountain lions often eat.

    • There was a story not long ago (on this site?) about a woman out gardening when a mountain lion streaked past her and grabbed her cat. A neighbor called me at 8 am about the mountain lion and her half grown cub chasing deer through her yard. My shoer told me about one of his clients whose pet pot belly pig was attacked on her porch. She managed to pull it into the house through the slider before it was killed but the mountain lion still stood there licking the blood off the door.

      My dogs had a dog door to a totally enclosed pen to use anytime they needed to go out by themselves. Respecting mountain lions at all times is only sensible.

  • Poor damned house cat, It was quick & relatively painless!!! :-C

  • The Department of Fish and Wildlife has not been too helpful, they will not relocate mountain lions because it might disrupt other mountain lions whose territory the mountain lion is moved into. They will not come out and dispatch mountain lion unless it attacks a human and they’re reluctant to even issue a permit to kill the mountain lion, which in itself is very difficult because you’re not allowed to use hounds to hunt lions in California anymore and mountain lions are extremely smart and clever, very hard to trap them or straight up hunt them. So I guess we’re on our own until it ends up moving up the food chain to one of our kids. Maybe I should let fish and game know I haven’t registered the spring on my property that my family’s been getting water out of for over 30 years, I bet they would be johnny-on-the-spot then!

  • Anytime the government gets involved in nature and protects one species, they create an imbalance, because they think they know more than nature does. They allow to many and that’s why they are in your yard. Sea Lions are another good example. Spotted owls are being killed by the Horned owl migrating from the east. The government hires hunters to kill the Horned owls, again interfering with nature. Mother Nature takes care of her own. You can get a permit and shoot it or have a government hunter do it.

  • Well, if you think about it is normal , we are in their home or what it rest of it. In other hand Kittie cats are introduce to this enviroment because of humans, also damaging and making a huge impact wich isnt natural.

    • In My 1911 I Trust

      Cats need to be kept inside or taken out on a leash like a dog. They should not be allowed to roam free. If you let them wander outside unattended they are no longer a pet but an invasive species! The introduction of house cats to the Americas has resulted in the extinction of over 30 bird species in the last 40 years. If a cat is running around the forest at night it is part of the food chain! House cats need to be treated and kept like a dog. If you let your cat roam free and it doesn’t come back, well good riddance, thats just nature trying to restore balance.

  • We invade their space building homes, clear cutting forests and managing huge grows; and you wonder why they are becoming more prevalent in certain areas? They are wild and hunt for food and survival. The remote areas are theirs to roam. If you want to live out in the hills, be prepared to live among the wildlife and deal with consequences. It’s like building homes in forest areas or along rivers. Be prepared for your home possibly burning down from a forest fire or washed away by flooding. Your choice!

    • Wow, yeah my family has been living in that home for well over 30 years and has owned the property for over 40, I seriously doubt that cat is 30 years old and why is it that some people are under the impression that humans are the only animals on the Earth that have no rights to the land? We collectively own around 250 Acres in the same spot, of which there’s not a single grow or any logging that has been done since the late 60s. This cat has moved into our territory. We have spotted mountain lions on this property as far back as I can remember, but we’ve never had one who’s acted like this one is.

      • Move to the burbs

        Unfortunately you have property they like then, because there’s too many fences and grows now. So your awesome land stewardship is double sided, but I applaud you

    • You live inevitably in a place that was once as wild as anywhere. You planning to give up your house to let it return to the original habitat? Or how about just letting the mountain lions roam at will where you live? If you don’t have children, livestock or like to work outside, you may be ok with that.

      Choices made for others are always the easiest.

      • I get it. If a lion continues to be a threat to a family and their property, there should be some kind of recourse to solve or eliminate the problem. I live in a rural area that was logged many years ago. The increase in everything coming down to homes was crazy. We saw so many more coons, skunks, etc. and especially rats. Also some bear, coyotes and a couple lions. Everything has settled down over the years, and those sightings have actually decreased. If it comes down to family and pets vs a lion, the lion has to go one way or another, but ya can’t blame it for looking for food to survive. Good luck to THC !!

  • You left a cat outside in the forest, and a larger cat ate it. That’s cats. That’s being in the forest. If you want to protect your animals, bring them inside, it’s that simple.

    If this were livestock, I might be a little more inclined to see this as problem behavior, but your domestic animal was killed in the forest by a wild animal. Your fault.

    • Please note that all Guests are not the same. I’m grateful to anyone with an intelligent heads up and would not use their kindness as a platform.

  • Poor kitty. What a disturbing picture.

  • I have completely surrounded my barn yard and yard with electric fencing. I use a good strong ’30 mile’ fence charger, and thus far, the only time we had a large predator come tear into the chicken yard was when the fence wasn’t working (it was a young bear).
    My neighbor bought a couple young goats from me, and I told her to keep them behind electric fencing. She wasn’t able to right away, and the goats got eaten. Now she too keeps her 4H livestock behind electric fencing, and so far it seems to work to keep predators away. My cats and I have lived up here in these hills now for 14 years and the only deaths have been from old age.
    I also have goats which is a lion’s favorite food… haven’t lost one yet.
    Hot fence is inexpensive and fairly easy to put up. I have fences that are about 4 ft high, 7 strands 2 inches apart. I use step in plastic posts with metal t-posts and insulators at the corners and ‘gates’.
    We hear lions, and fox, and bob cat, and stray stock killing dogs go by, and once or twice the fence was tested, what ever it was screamed and ran off and hasn’t been back.
    If you live in a remote location, I really suggest hot fencing your immediate yard at least.

  • Does anyone out there have a really big ball of yarn?

  • I live In the rural woods too.

    6 dogs, 2 cats, plus chickens.

    No animal of mine is allowed to be “free range”.

    Cats stay in. Chickens fenced and locked in coop each night. Dogs in kennel cages, except on walks.

    Everything is supervised. It’s a lot of work, but it pays off.

    Free range comes with risks.

    But THC, if I had kids and a mountain lion was taking my animals or hunting my home, id be digging a hole and aiming for a kill.

    I have zero tolerance for rattlesnakes within a quarter mile of my dog zone too.

  • >”The Department of Fish and Wildlife has not been too helpful,”

    You mean the Department of Anti-fishing and Anti-hunting ????

  • In My 1911 I Trust

    Its pretty funny how if a grower gets robbed or busted it “just comes with the territory.” If anyone else is harassed by a mountain lion or bear out in the mountains the first reaction is “My goodness, we have to kill that animal before it hurts somebody!” If you are worried about mountain lions move to the city and become a flat lander. If you live in the rural mountains, then guess what? You live in the mountain lions domain, if your livestock, animals, or even you get attacked, well it just comes with the territory. Accept it and be careful. If I get attacked by a shark while I’m surfing I’m not going to scream to have it killed, I put myself in its domain and became part of its food chain. Likewise with a mountain lion in the mountains, if it attacks you or anybody or anything while you are in its domain, you have knowingly put yourself in its food chain. Know the risks, accept them, be careful, don’t complain about it, and pack your 1911.

  • I wonder if the Benbow State Park campground reopening has anything to do with this recent activity? It’s been awhile since people have been around that neck of the woods. I hope someone passes along this info to the Community Park and Rodeo participants for this coming weekend. Happy Fathers Day, and don’t be impaired enough to be the next cougar happy meal!

    Make sure you carry a laser pointer…

    • Yes I agree with this. They have been working there all year and I know for a fact there was at least one my lion up there

  • Mt. Lion foot prints, a picture I took last winter.

  • This is the paw print .

  • This is a picture of the mountain Lion’s body prints jumping down the side of a hill apparently they like to play in the snow to.

  • Yes I agree with this. They have been working there all year and I know for a fact there was at least one my lion up there

  • A question for anyone belonging to the “It’s their territory so they should be left alone” school of thought. Do you extend the same courtesy to cockroaches, mice, rats, mosquitoes, and flies? If not, why not?

    • In My 1911 I Trust

      Yeah if the cockroach, mouse, rat, mosquito, and fly is outside and not attacking me in any way, then leave them alone, just like a mountain lion. If any of them are inside my house or attack me, they will all meet the same fate. Pretty fair I’d say.

  • This may be a older or sick cat. No way of knowing if it’s not tagged.

    My mother has a Rhodesian Ridgeback that trees lions when she goes on hikes. Maybe look into getting a lion hunting dog?

  • A mountain lion just killed a cyclist & serious wounded his dear friend. They were just taking a bike ride. Arm yourself & take these dangerous big cats out.

  • What are you people talking about. Hound hunting for bears was abolished in California a few years back
    The state made mountain lions protected some 20 years ago so NO hunting of lions permitted. Period. There is your population explosion

  • This is why we need a hunting season for mountain lions. They’re no where near extinct and now there causing a huge drop in deer and mountain goat populations while also coming into contact with people far too often. A bunch of snow flakes got together with no biology conservation background and decided to make hunting them illegal back in 97ish. California being California of course obliged. Yes yes, I get it, they’re majestic animals. But we have enough of them. And quite frankly Im tired of running into them. Plus the money from the tags the state would get to further implement smart conservation would be tremendous. We need to start using our brains a little more instead of our hearts. Stop thinking were smarter than the professionals just because its “progressive”.

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