Life in Bodega Bay, along the Sonoma Coast, and beyond . . .
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FYI, we stayed at Bodega Sand Dunes Campground Friday night and had a frightening close call with a mountain lion at 3:15 AM. After feeding the baby my wife left to visit the restroom without a flashlight. She had onlt taken a couple of steps when a cougar "screamed" at her no more than 25 feet away (sounded like less than 10). She froze and it screamed at her again. To me it sounded like a warning to stay away - a very scary warning that sends shivers down your spine. I called out to my wife who unfroze and dashed back into the tent. We were escorted out of the site as we were quite shaken. I wasn't overly concerned for the safety of my wife and I, but know that small children may be in danger so we left. I am an avid outdoorsman and have been my entire life (first backpacking trip at 6 months old), but those screams at my wife are still haunting. Best I can tell is the cougar was stalking a deer that was walking through our campsite. The cougar was down wind of us and deer footprints went right by our tent the opposite direction. My wife unwittingly opened the tent door and started walking towards its hiding place that wasn't far away and sent the warning screams at my wife. I have always wanted to see a cougar, but hope the next one we see uses better manners and says "please" and "thank you." :) We love the area and will be back again (just at a less remote camp site). Nice to know it is even more natural than I anticipated with even Mt. Lions.
I appreciate that you posted your experience on my blog. How frightening to hear those screams . . . I have heard them myself but off in the distant hills, never that close. Thank goodness the mountain lion ‘warned’ your wife. Part of the beauty of our Sonoma Coast is that wildness is all around us. Even in our little 'civilized' village we have regular visits from coyote, fox, and bobcat. Mountain lions typically stay clear of people so your experience was fairly rare. Last year my family did a mountain lion workshop with Zara McDonald, Founder of Felidae Conservation Fund. Felidae is dedicated to wildcat reseach, education and conservation. I will contact Zara and let her know of your experience. I encourage you to check their website and contact her yourself at, http://felidaefund.org.A couple of years ago my family spent the better part of a day with professional tracker, Jim Sullivan, a 4th generation Sonoma County native. We tracked the activities of critters all throughout the Salmon Creek sand dunes. An experience I highly recommend for your next vacation to our coastal area. Jim can be reached at: email@example.com.I hike the hills all around this coastal area and have seen signs of mountain lions (tree scratches and scat). Deer and game cougars feed on are plentiful and our coastal terrain provides ideal habitat for big cats. I have seen a mountain lion only twice in my life. Both times were during the pre-dawn hours. They had no interest in crossing my path and quickly slunk away. A couple mountain lion safety tips I learned from both Zelda and Jim ~ mountain lions are most active at dusk and dawn; do not turn your back or run from a mountain lion, stay calm; make noise so as not to ‘surprise a lion; maintain eye contact; make yourself ‘big’, wave your hands, make noise; give the cat a wide berth to enable them to get away without feeling threatened. For more tips visit the Felidae Conservation Fund website.I hope your experience doesn’t deter you from returning to our beautiful Sonoma coast. Thank you for visiting and posting on the blog.
@ Gerald (Hyde DP) ~ thank you so much!!
@ anonymous ~ local tracker Jim Sullivan and Zara from Felede Conservation Fund are both very interested in talking with you and your wife. Please contact Jim at: firstname.lastname@example.org and Zara at: email@example.comThey both would greatly appreciate the opportunity. Thank you!
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!