California Woman Has Staring Contest With Wild Mountain Lion: ‘I Was in a Trance’

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by HAND OUT PAIRI DAIZA/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s not every day you find yourself locked in an intense staring contest with a wild animal. However, for one California woman, a wild mountain lion captured her attention and, reflecting on the experience, said she could not take her eyes off of it. Speaking about the impromptu staring contest, she said, “I was in a trance.”

Holly Hiner is a longtime resident at Laguna Lake Mobile Estates in San Luis Obispo County, CA. Early Sunday morning is when Hiner encountered the curious mountain lion. The Tribune reports Hiner had taken her 14-year-old dog Bear, an Australian shepherd, outside to relieve himself at that time. That’s when she and her pooch came face to face with the large feline.

An Unforgettable Experience

“I felt like there was somebody else out there besides my dog,” Hiner said. “But my neighbor’s cat is always following me around, so I thought, ‘Oh, it’s probably just James.'”

As we know, the watcher turned out to be much larger than a nosy housecat. Moments later, “I’m not even probably three, four feet from the fence, and I turn and there [the mountain lion] is, just staring at me.”

She added, “I was mesmerized. I was in a trance.”

Per her account, the mountain lion showed the most interest in her dog Bear, looking interested—”like a housecat would.”

Finally, she got her bearings. She then began jumping up and down, waving her arms, and making loud noises in order to scare the mountain lion away. She remarked this hardly represents the first time she has seen a mountain lion before.

In fact, the mobile home park often sees a variety of wild animals perusing the grounds. This is mostly because, as the news outlet reports, it lies in close proximity to Perfumo Canyon and Irish Hills Natural Preserve. Common sightings include deer, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and turkeys.

Mountain Lion Sightings Common in San Luis Obispo County

As thrilling, and potentially terrifying, as Hiner’s experience was, the news outlet reports that mountain lion sightings in San Luis Obispo County are relatively common. Still, after sharing photos of the animal with wildlife experts, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife determined that the curious cougar is not one that has been spotted or tracked in the area previously.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of other cougars patrolling the region nearby the CA mobile home park. Between 2015 and 2017, at least 100 mountain lion sightings occurred in San Luis Obispo County. More recently, San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Ranger Service closed one park entrance after multiple mountain lion sightings.

Despite that some of these mountain lions have less regard for human presence, Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Ken Taglia reassured locals that just seeing one of these big cats is not cause for concern. He explained, “Just because you see a mountain lion, doesn’t in and of itself mean that there’s a cause for concern. Anywhere that’s deer territory is gonna be mountain lion territory.”