Categories: AdventuresFunSouthernTipsViewing

A close encounter

IN ANOTHER LIFE, I was employed by the Zion Natural History Association and worked in the Kolob Canyon Section of the Park. I answered questions and sold souvenirs to guests at the visitor center.

Mountain lions are solitary animals, making them a rare sight for humans.

Each day I would drive my car to the South Fork of Taylor Creek turnout to eat my lunch. This is one of the most beautiful places that I know of. Towering cliffs form a funnel that manages to contain your attention to the canyon and lets the eye feast on the contrast between the red rock and the green vegetation.

On one occasion, I was sitting on the edge of the rock wall eating a sandwich and watching a pair of peregrine falcons snatch swallows from the air to feed to their young. An uneasy feeling came over me and I felt as if I were being watched.

At first, I looked behind me to see if a coworker was playing a trick on me. No one was there. I began to scan the scene to see if I could detect anything. For a long time, I saw nothing.

As my eyes took in the side hill to the south, I noticed the white mustache and pointed ears of a mountain lion lying on a large boulder about 100 yards from where I sat. I didn’t see it move, and it was looking right at me so assumed that it had been watching me from the moment I arrived.

For some reason I felt no fear at all. I watched the cat and it watched me for another few minutes—until it finally got bored. Then the cougar stood up and walked back up the canyon and out of site.

Running from a cougar will provoke an instinctive prey response and the cougar may pursue you.

I have had a lot of interesting experiences with wildlife. I try to put myself in a position to see and enjoy animals whenever I get the chance. This experience goes down in my book as one of the best. I felt like I walked away from it with a better understanding of wild cats and a great respect for one of my favorite creatures.

Cougars can live just about anywhere in Utah. You’ll find them in the mountains, deserts and foothills. If you’re heading into any of these areas, it’s a good idea to be prepared for an encounter with a cougar. Take a few minutes to learn more about staying safe in cougar country.

Lynn Chamberlain :Lynn Chamberlain has been a professional outdoor photographer for over 30 years. His photos frequently appear on the DWR website and in a variety of publications. He lives in southern Utah and is the Conservation Outreach manager for the DWR's Southern Region.

View Comments (13)

  • About 6 yrs. ago coming down I-70 in salina canyon just west of exit 73 we saw a mountain lion that had been hit and killed by a vehicle about a mile further down the rd. there was another one that had been hit and killed. I thought this was really unusual. When we went back up the canyon a few hrs. later they both had been removed. Did the D.W.R. know about this?

  • I comment for Jim Martin: I was raised very near Fish Spring, in the town called Callao. I've been trying to do research on your grandfather, I saw his dugout when I was a kid and heard many stories about him. Thanks for sharing.

  • Isaac,
    My mother Raejean Layland has a book about "trapper" jim Harrison. The book was never published I can copy it and send it to you and you too Jim Martn if you'd be interested my email is brittneytimm@gmail.com. I am Jim Laylands grand daughter... he and your grand father were good friends I'd love to get in contact with you! Email me or find me on facebook if you are able! Your grandfather was a interesting man.

  • my father was James Percy's first born son from his first wife, Rosley. My dad was born dec 19 , 1919 His name was Casper william harrison/wolf. He came to utah when very young from Munich, Germany. I have been trying for years to try and find any information on who would be my Grandfather. My cousin is her in Seattle this weekend from Goshen and told me there is a big sign and picture of him in the park? I would love to see a copy of this. My dad and his father never really saw to much of each other after the divorce. I think my dad went to to funeral. My aunt told me there is an article in the Harrold but I have had no luck finding it! My dad is gone now too. my face book is san wolf jamison if any one has any information, PLEASE! thank you

  • I received my first name from my Grandpa James Percival Harrison and I received my second name Delmont from Buster Timm.Buster and Myrtle Timm were very close friends of my father Hugh Boyd Martin who was the son of Ilo Nene Shaw and my mother Lois Martin.As kids we used to go visit the Timms in Salt Lake City, Utah and they used to bring their race horses to Elko, Nevada for the races. They always brought their campers and stayed by us at the fairgrounds. Us kids spent many hours under and around the bleachers looking for race tickets that mint be worth a few bucks.i live near Seattle and would love to talk to anyone who knew Grandpa or the Timm family or that is related to Casper Wolf. I can be reaches on Facebook under my name James D. Martin or email papaj77@icloud.com.

  • My mother was Lapriel Corone, daughter of Ilo Nene Harrison. My father was Edmund (Mandy) Corone and he, also, was in the business venture with my Uncle Boyd Martin and Jim Harrison. They did loose that ranch because of the terrible winter of 1948 & 49. That same winter our grandmother, Ilo Harrison passed away in SLC, UT of cancer. I, too, remember Buster and Myrtle Timms and their children. I remember my mother talking about Casper. I don't remember to much other than that J. Harrison had a son named Casper and my mother thought he was a very nice person. I live in the same town as Jim Harrison's niece. Probably could get some information from her.

  • does fish and game want to know about mountain lion sittings and dear kills in sub populated areas

  • does fish and game want to know about mountain lions and dear killed by them in sub populated areas