This page has been superceded by a set of pages maintained by Linda Lewis. See her List of Confirmed Cougar Attacks In the United States and Canada for 1890-1990, 1991-2000, and 2001-now for our latest list of attacks.
If you know of attacks outside of California that are not listed here, please send those directly to Linda Lewis.
The rest of this page has not been updated since 29 March 2001.
See Mountain Lion Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada for an introduction to this page, bibliography and abbreviation list.
Deaths are highlighted in red text. Including California, from 1890 through 1990 there were 53 cougar attacks on humans in the U.S. and Canada. Nine of those attacks resulted in 10 human deaths.
This page is undoubtedly quite incomplete since we have not done an exhaustive search for incidents outside of California. However, the List of Mountain Lion Attacks On People in California is complete or very nearly complete, which can be used to help judge how complete this list may be for a particular state.
Some reported mountain lion attacks turn out not to involve lions, or for which there is no evidence proving a lion attack occurred.
January. Scott Lancaster, 18, was killed while jogging just a few hundred yards from his high school in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The lion dragged the 130 pound boy 200 yards uphill before killing him, evidenced by the uprooted vegetation along the way. The lion was found feeding on his body three days later. This is the first death ever in Colorado from a lion attack. (MLCSP; Denver Post 5/1/98, B-01; SWCOA)
July. A mountain lion as big as a dog pinned a two-and-a-half-year-old to the ground in British Columbia. Larrane Leach, 44, pulled the cat off by the scruff of its neck, and suffered minor injuries before the cat left. (TP)
May. Fatal attack in Vancouver Island, British Columbia. (MLCSP)
Fall. Photographer Moses Street was jogging on a popular trail in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, CO, when he glanced over his shoulder and saw a cougar about to pounce on him. The cougar backed off when Street yelled and waved his arms. Street used a large tree branch to stop a second and third attack.
Street climbed a tree and had to keep using the branch to keep the lion from advancing up the tree. Park Rangers rescued him after Street's girlfriend alerted them. (Washington Post, 7/13/97, A01)
??. A woman was killed defending her 6-year-old son from a lion in British Columbia. The woman and three children were horseback riding when a male 65-pound lion jumped from a bush at the boy, knocking him off his horse. The mother came to his aid, and was killed. (GORP Lion Info)
14 July. A 4-year-old French boy was attacked by a lion at Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. The lion had previously been seen approaching people, and was killed. The boy's wounds were not life threatening. (CWR)
17 July. 10-year-old Mark David Miedema was killed by an 88 pound adult female cougar shortly after 4:30 pm while returning from a hike to Cascade Falls on the North Inlet Trail on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Mark had raced ahead of his family on the well-traveled trail in order to see if animals had eaten the peanuts he had left on the trail on the way up. Mark was only 3-4 minutes ahead of his parents, but he was out of their sight; his family arrived to see his feet and legs extending onto the trail from adjacent brush. The cougar attempted to drag him away before fleeing. Mark died from choking on his own vomit, not from his wounds from the attack. Mark had tried to fight the cougar, and had scratches on his face and puncture wounds on his face, neck and scalp.
The lion was shot once or twice at 7 pm by Chris Philippi, a National Park Service officer who was guarding the boy's body while waiting for the coroner. The lion ran off and was killed at 8:03 pm by a professional lion tracker with dogs. The lion was pregnant with three fetuses, 2 to 2.5 years old in good health.
The trail follows the edge of Summerland Park, a meadow where elk and deer graze and is a classic area for mountain lions to hunt.
This was the fourth death in Rocky Mountain National Park this year. The other deaths were from a heart attack, a suicide, and a climbing accident. Two other hikers were attacked by cougars in Colorado in the previous year. This is the second death ever in Colorado from a lion attack. (Trail-Gazetta 7/23/97; Denver Post, 5/1/98, B-01; CWR; SDUT 8/16/98; 4/25/99, BOOKS-8)
20 October. A 20-year-old mountain bike rider was attacked by a cougar at Walker Ranch Open Space near Flagstaff Mountain, in the hills west of Boulder, Colorado. The lion lunged and "took a swipe" at him, then stopped and snarled with its ears laid back. The biker used his bike to protect him until the lion backed off. However, as the man continued slowly down the trail, the lion followed him for a short distance until finally leaving. (CWR)
28 April. Andy Peterson, 24, an experienced hiker from Littleton, was attacked in Roxborough State Park, Colorado, while hiking alone in the 3,000 acre park on the Carpenter Peak trail about 2 to 3 miles west of the visitor center.
The hiker came upon the lion, who was "chewing on a stick", while descending a trail. A 30 minute standoff ended when the lion attacked as the hiker attempted to "retreat up the trail". The lion retreated after it was stabbed once with the 3" blade of a Swiss army knife, attacked again, and then left after the hiker "jabbed his thumb in the lion's eye". The hiker received deep cuts to his head and face, and was hospitalized in fair and stable condition.
Jim Jones, an area wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said that the lion probably wasn't driven away by the hiker's action, but instead "just lost interest", since lions are used to receiving wounds from their prey
Wildlife officials believe the reason the cat attacked was that it was young and learning how to hunt, based on the description provided by Peterson. (Denver Post, 5/1/98, B-01; 5/6/98, B-03)
25 May. Mary Jane Coder of Harlingen, Texas and her three daughters, ages 9, 8 and 6, saw a mountain lion on a large rock while they were hiking on the Pine Canyon Trail in Big Bend National Park, Texas. There are two published versions of what happened.
One account says that Ms. Coder tried to frighten the animal away by yelling, waving her arms and throwing rocks. The lion struck her in the left hand with its paw, and followed the family back down the trail until they reached an open area. Another account says that the lion charged Ms. Coder, and that Ms. Coder advanced toward the lion with a pocket knife. The lion backed off, but then slapped its paw on Ms. Coder hand before leaving.
The attack on Ms. Coder is the third documented mountain lion attack on humans in the park since 1984. (Abilene Reporter-News 5/31/98l 6/9/98)
31 July. Dante Swallow, a 6-year-old boy, was jumped by a cougar while hiking with about three dozen other campers on Marshall Mountain near Missoula, Mont. The cat pinned him with its paws and bit into his neck, but was pulled away by a camp counselor. The boy survived with scratches and puncture wounds. The cat slunk away and was later tracked down and killed. (SDUT 8/16/98)
1 August. 6-year-old Joey Wing of Basin, Montana, saw a young (2-3 years old) male lion as he played with five other children near the Swift Dam Campground west of Depuyer. The lion attacked him after he turned and ran. Joey received bites to the back of his skull and on his back, with lacerations from his throat to his ear, requiring 200 stitches. His mother Melissa Wing drove the cougar away. There were 50-60 adults at the campground.
The cat then approached within 15' of two men, one of whom was Kyle Sinclair, a Blackfeet tribal officer who was wearing his sidearm. Kyle fired several shots and wounded the cat. The lion was tracked later that day and then killed. (Idaho Post-Register, 8/4/98)
August. A cougar tore apart pieces of 5-year-old Carmen Schrock's skull at a campground near Metaline Falls, Washington (Spokane Spokesman-Review 9/4/99)
24 August. Jacob Walsh of Kettle Falls, Washington, was dragged off by a lion that released him after being chased off by a screaming adult. This was the second attack in Washington in two years. (Spokane Spokesman-Review 9/4/99)
24 January. Clarence Hall, a hunter working for the Canadian government to kill problem wildlife, was attacked by the cougar he was about to hunt. The cougar had attacked a dog at the home of Cecelia and Barry Mack on the Nuxalk Indian Reserve in British Columbia the previous night. While Clarence was waiting for the rest of his hunting party, without his rifle, he was checking out tracks on the nearby Tatsquan Creek. (He left his rifle in his car since he wasn't tracking and because he was in town.)
Clarence noticed the cougar under a tree only 40' away, and tried to get back to his car. Due perhaps to his retreating action, the cougar attacked him on his neck, which felt like "being struck with a baseball bat." The cougar threw him to his back, bit again and shook him. Clarence shouted for help, then placed his hand over the cougar's lower jaw, with his thumb, forefinger and index finger behind its bottom canine teeth, which released its grip on his neck. He described:Immediately, I envisioned the cougar ripping my belly open with its front claws. With my right hand, I pulled the cougar's head, neck and shoulder over my chest, rendering the front claws useless as I pinned the cougar's claws to my chest. I then instantly threw my left arm around the cougar's neck and shoulder.
Barry Mack then shot the cougar four times from only a foot away. When the cougar went limp, Clarence removed the cougar's teeth from Clarence's skull.
Clarence received over 100 stitches, and nearly lost his right hand, which fortunately has responded to therapy, leaving only some impairment.
Clarence Hall explains that the cougars in Bella Coola valley are starving, making them more prone to attack, because wolves have moved in and are depleting the deer population, the cougar's usual diet.
Source: The Daily Courier 4/3/00.
29 April. Victoria Martinez, a 4-year-old girl, was attacked by a mountain lion at Bartlett Lake in Arizona at ~7:30 p.m, 20 minutes after sunset. Her family was setting up their camp not far from the water. Her parents were putting the bedding in the tent, and Victoria and her brother were right outside the flap of the tent swatting at bugs when the lion attacked her from behind. The lion dragged her for about 15 yards in the dark, she got tangled in a thorn bush and her parents scared the lion off. When his son asked why it happened, the father replied, "We're in his [the lion's] house."
Unfortunately, Victoria was seriously injured. The lion crushed the back of her skull, nicked her carotid artery and put several deep puncture wounds in her torso. As of 7/21/00, Victoria is currently "doing very well considering all that she has been through".
A large male lion thought to be the attacker was later killed.
Source: 7/20/00 and 7/21/00 email from Stacey West (Victoria's aunt); Arizona Republic 5/1/00, 5/4/00.
3 May. "A small cougar" swiped its claw across the lower leg of Ken Jones while he was feeding the neighbor's cats near Siletz, Oregon. The cat retreated after Ken hit it in the head with a shovel three to four times. Although this doesn't sound like a typical cougar attack, and may have been a bobcat, officials found mountain lion tracks nearby. Source: Channel 6000 5/5/00.
2 January. Frances Frost, a 30-year-old cross-country skier was killed by a mountain lion in Banff National Park while skiing alone around 1 p.m. on Cascade Fire Road, part of the Lake Minnewanka Loop. According to Park Chief Warden Ian Syme, "The cougar leapt on her back, bit her neck and I suspect that she may not even know what hit her." A healthy adult male cougar was later shot by wardens where her body was found.
This is the first death by cougar in the history of the Park, and in Alberta.
"This is the first time a cougar has even come close to threatening humans in the park in many years," said Park warden Doug Eastcott.
Park wardens think that elk, the main prey of wolves and cougars, have moved closer to Banff, and the cougars have followed. Syme said "This is resulting in normally wary cougars abandoning their natural fear of people, going further into the townsite to get at their food source, which is elk".
Source: Calgary Herald 1/3/01, 1/4/01; Banff Crag & Canyon News 1/3/01.
8 February. Jon Nostdal, 52, was attacked by a cougar while riding his bicycle in the dark from Port Alice, BC to where his tugboat was moored on the west coast of Vancouver Island. He heard the repeated clicking sound of the cougar's nails on the highway just before he sensed the presence of the cougar attacking him from behind.
The cougar attacked Jon's neck and knocked him off the bike. The hood of Jon's coat prevented initial injury, but on the ground the cougar continued attacking his neck. Elliot Cole, 39, saw the struggle, stopped his truck, yelled at the cougar, then hit the cougar with a bag filled with heavy binders, both to no avail. Elliot then began punching the cougar in the head, and finally pinned the cougar to the ground with Jon's bike. Both ran to Elliot's vehicle.
Jon was treated for bite marks on his head and several lacerations to his face, and remained in the hospital through the next day.
It was believed that this cougar was hit by a car several days ago and injured.
Port Alice is about 370 kilometres northwest of Victoria, with a population of 1300 people.
Source: Vancouver Sun 2/10/01; Canada's Globe and Mail 2/9/01.
We thank four anonymous readers for providing the information about the 4/28/98 attack, the 1/24/00 and 5/3/00 attacks, the 1/2/01 attack, and the 2/8/01 attack.
Copyright © 1999-2001 by Tom Chester and Linda Lewis.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester | Linda Lewis
Updated 16 January 2004 (link to Linda's page updated 19 October 2010).