recommendation for a knife to defend against a mountain lion

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Some nasty attacks/kills in those Mountain Lion links.

I bet this one could turn a pair of hi-viz yellow bicycle pants brown in a flash if one turns around and see a buzzsaw at speed:
Seattle resident, Jon Nostdal, 52, was attacked at about 9:30 p.m. by a cougar as he rode his bicycle from where he had dinner in Port Alice, British Columbia, on northern Vancouver Island, back to where his tugboat was moored near the town's pulp mill. Nostdal was less than 2 miles (about 3 kilometers) from town when he heard clicking sounds. He thought something was loose in his backpack, but when the clicking sound gradually became louder, Nostdal sensed that something was approaching from behind. Before he could turn around, the cougar jumped him and bit the bunched-up hood of his captain's coat, knocking him to the ground. He realized the noise had been the cat's paws on the pavement.

Daaaaaang!
...most who post here are in the U.S.A. many others don't have the luxury of being able to carry firearms ..... Just something to be aware of.... I hope that my American brothers appreciate the 2nd...
 

upnorth

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I like the combination of a fixed blade in sheath with a spear of some sort to keep distance.

I agree. And no matter what the stats. of an attack are, if you are living in an area with a higher cat density, the possibility is higher. I've peripherally thought that a C.S. Bushman on a walking stick would be viable and justified in some locations. But if the northern Indians saw me they would probably laugh at the Moonias.
:D
 
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Greetings!
I have lived in mountain lion country and seen one only once from a distance; enough to make me realize that I should never go out without some sort of weapon when I'm in their "refrigerator", so to speak. With firearms being out, alas, I'd opt for a fighting knife. I have handled many knife types over the years and think a 7 or 8 inches FIXED blade would be the minimum; longer is better. I'd suggest a blade with a good amount of steel in it (if one were to thrust at an odd angle, I wouldn't want the blade to snap as the cat struggled), a blade design which can be thrust with, as well as slashed (thrust more important than slash, in my opinion; kukri are nice slashers but poor thrusters). Look at large fighting bowie types and also large daggers. The other part of the equation is constant awareness and accessibilty; it must be located where he can get a hand on it (either one!) nearly instantly, yet securly attached to him so that if he goes down in an initial attack, the knife is not lost. This means paying very close attention to not only the knife, but the sheath and how and where it is attached to the body. Don't slight these aspects; a big knife is USELESS if one drops it, or can't get to it. Stick with fixed blades; they tend to be structurally stronger and omit the time wasting opening step, and full tang knives (again structurally stronger than stick tangs), and knives with grippy handles (blood makes everything slippery; his or the cat's), and guards (to keep fingers from slipping onto the blade). Also, someone mentioned a walking stick; this is also a fine idea; one has a socially acceptable "weapon" in hand at all times, especially if it has a nice pointy tip. Good luck to the both of you!
 

Hawk45

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I'd agree that some type of pepper/bear spray in a small hand-held dispenser is the best way to go followed by a gun, then a knife. Make sure they walk with the spray in hand, not in a pack or on their hip.. if the danger is that high, you want it ready to go, even if a little inconvenient. Having to struggle to get to something in an emergency is not always the easiest thing to do. If you do go with it on hip, practice just like you would with a handgun attack. Sounds cheezy, but practice pays off in the time of need.
On the gun thing, I'd rather go to jail and my son be safe and alive than dead and within the laws, no matter how idiotic they are.. especially in the woods, but that's me.
A knife would be last ditch, but I always have one when I walk into the woods. Training is the key to surviving any attack. Safe travels..
 
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Rumor has it that Sal at Spyderco designed the Temperance II to carry on hikes in Mountain Lion country. I have no idea if this is true but it is an awesome knife and mine gets quite a bit of use in the kitchen.

This is true. Note the design elements in this well thought out blade. Short, handy, no points to snag when accessing. If you need to fight for your life from a cougar you will probably be on your face with the cat attached to your back trying to crush the vertebrae of your neck. It's no accident that so many of these attacks happen that way. You will not be fencing with the kitty so a large blade is false security and will be harder to get to. The blade is to make up for your lack of teeth in a clinch fight . You have to be able to get at it easily and retrieve it naturally and instinctively. You need to believe you can win, act like the apex predator you are. Most likely a cougar attack will be an aging or sick cat that is having a hard time hunting, luckily a healthy cat will be more successful hunting it's normal prey. I think it would be hard to beat a determined healthy full grown cat in a knife fight. But you should still try.
 

BladeScout

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I like the combination of a fixed blade in sheath with a spear of some sort to keep distance.

Yep, keeping the distance to the critter is paramount.

I suggested the naginata & knife combo. A naginat-like weapon sounds ridiculous, but actually makes sense.

You have the ample staff length for keeping the cat at bay and the blade to do damage/kill it.

A naginata can have a sheath on the blade part, which will make it look different in comparison to a spear.

Further more, the naginata can be used as a walking staff.

Now, a spear has been suggested. That will work mostly for thrusting. Untrained users/'civilians' might not want to actually throw their only weapon at a cat and run the risk of missing and thus having lost their main weapon.

A naginata is better in the sense, that (contrary) to a spear, it works well in a sweeping attack or for fending off an attack. You can still use it for stabbing/thrusting motions.

I like the Cold Steel Boar Spear, but it might not be the best for the sweeping motion described above.

Should the cat come in (too) close a sturdy fixed blade stabbing knife would be good (something along the lines of an EK dagger should work).

A kukri is a nice tool, but personally I dont like it in the event of a cat lion attack - especially not for untrained 'civilians.'

Even a trained user might find a kuk far to unwieldy, should he/she be pinned down by a cat. Remember that some dont even have time to react, before the lion is on them. Most kukris are too big and unwieldy to fish out when/if pinned. Consider that you have a heavy agile buzzsaw on top of you trying to bite your neck/face off whilst clawing its way into your stomach and contents.
In that situation, you'd most likely not want an unwieldy kuk made for other purposes.

A stabbing knife would be better IMO both for using against the rib cage of the cat or the throat.

All of the above is of course just a silly thought experiment (loads of fun too, if the subject wasnt so serious), as one would be better off avoiding Mountain Lions all together OR shooting the critter if threathened, if that had been an option.

Most armed with only a knife would be in deep trouble indeed going up against a determined and attacking Mountain Lion.
 
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On the gun thing, I'd rather go to jail and my son be safe and alive than dead and within the laws, no matter how idiotic they are.. especially in the woods, but that's me.
..

I Agree with the sentiment. In countries where carrying firearms is not allowed you'd have people calling the authorities the second that they'd see you're carrying. The would be a short lived practice. :-(
 
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Don't know if you guys have read this article yet?

http://igorilla.com/gorilla/animal/2002/cougar_attack_vancouver.html

From the post:

Man survives cougar attack by killing it

Cougar attack in Port Alice, Canada
BCTV News on Global

A 61-year-old man won a life-and-death struggle with a cougar outside a small northern Vancouver Island village, killing the animal with his 7.5-centimetre pocket knife.

I assume it's the famous Buck 110
knife.jpg


...and the fury fellow we are talking about
cougar.jpg



For a self-defense folding knife against wild animals, slashing and thrusting ability are important features. Hence, IMO you can consider the blades that are pointy and narrow. Blade length is 4-6".

You can consider some options (they are all good knives I have handled so far):
- Buck 110 (There's no one hand-opening thumb stud but I still list it due to the extremely strong frame. You can buy an add-on thumb stud)
- Cold Steel Ti-Lite 6 inches
- Benchmade Mchenry and Williams Design

Pictures of Buck 110, CS Ti-Lite and BM McHenry (The Buck 110 and BM McHenry are mine and the CS Ti found by big G buddy :D)
212354a80m5isic508q5j8.jpg

TILITE.gif

10063293034_328c0b9b3b_b.jpg


p/s: IMO, any 4" blades will do for a friendly match with the fury fellows :D
 
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Wear a mask on the back of the head. Prominent and angry eyes might help. Sounds silly, but big cats like to attack from the rear, a rearward facing mask is thought to confound them.

Ounce of prevention...
 
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Carry bear spray and understand how to behave to avoid cat attacks. And carry a 4-5" fixed blade. Fallkniven F1 or Mora robust would be my choice due to price/performance and utility. You're extremely unlikely to ever use the knife on a cat; it may as well be useful the rest of the time.

Carry a good first aid kit. You may want to carry Celex clotting agent and a couple of the Israeli-style bandages. Know how to use them. Killing the animal is of no use to you if you bleed out.

At close quarters with an animal as fast as a cat a handgun may not be particularly helpful. As mentioned above the danger with cats is seldom from a standoff. It's more likely that the cat is on you and you have to get it off.

And bear in mind: in most places lightning strike is significantly more likely than cat attack. As is a simple fall that breaks your leg, or worse.
 
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Something else I'd like to recommend is an air-horn. Traveling in areas where a cat may have many places to hide and attack with total surprise, it might be a good idea to let loose with a blast from an air horn to try and scare any cougars away, and thereby avoid having to use a weapon, or go hand to paw with a cat. An air-horn might disrupt the peace of the outdoors, but if it prevents an attack, perhaps it would be worth it.

I believe that air-horns are available in compact sizes that would be easy to carry, and since they aren't any form of weapon, I don't imagine that there would be any legal restrictions.
 
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Air horn and medic kit in the backpack. Long 7-9" blade on the belt (something like cold steel OSS, a big bowie, ka-bar...stabbing is key, forget about slashing big animals. Even normal dogs don't seem to be affected by slashing attacks, many people can tell you that). Also on an accessible place, a foam based bear spray.
I made a short spear with a cold steel shanghai shadow and a 3.5 ft staff, and tested it today on different targets. I bet it could kill or incapacitate the cat with one well placed strike (wide, leaf shaped and double-edged blade pierces really easy and deep) while keeping you at a safe distance.

Good luck!
 

Mink

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My suggestion would be a flipper such as the ZT0560. Thought being ease of opening and the fact it is a heavily built tank of a folder IMO.
 
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Something large and stabby in a cross-draw sheath. 6+ inches tanto, clip point or spear point.
 
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I would say long narrow fixed blade (think dagger or pig sticker). Slashing is much less likely to kill, it may work on humans due to the pain or obvious wounds, a cougar is going to care much less than a human would. Thinking about knives that are used on wild animals for hunting the only one I can think of is hog hunting with a "Pig Sticker" something long and thin, this way it will more easily penetrate the hide, is less likely to get caught on a rib and penetrates deep enough to hit vital organs (Liver, lungs, heart). Double edged would also probably be useful. Most cougar attacks I've read about the person doesn't have time to react or ultimately you're pinned with the cougar on top of you so while you want enough length to penetrate torso/organs you don't want it so long you can't stab through the side, while you're on you're back. So depending on arm length I'd say 7-10" blade, depending on his arm length.

Here are a few to look at all in the cheaper range ($30-$70), but still from quality manufacturers:

http://www.knifeworks.com/coldsteelosikratonhandleplainedge.aspx
http://www.knifeworks.com/coldsteelboarhunterkratonhandleplaincordurasheath.aspx
http://www.knifeworks.com/coldsteelosskratonhandlesecure-exsheath.aspx
http://www.knifeworks.com/condordendriticcombatknife838doubleedgeblade.aspx
http://www.knifeworks.com/condorboardagger.aspx
http://www.knifeworks.com/kabarfullsizefightingutilityknifeplainedgewithleathersheathmodel1211.aspx
http://www.knifeworks.com/ka-baradventurebaconmakercarbonsteeladventuregriphandle.aspx
 

BladeScout

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Thanks guys, now I have a mental picture of a hiker bristling with spears, kukris, daggers and bear spray whilst blasting an air horn at regular intervals.......:D
 
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In 1829 as legend has it the Bowie knife came into being. Born as a defensive weapon against animals of 4 legged variety, it later gained fame vs. 2 legged species.
my top 4:

1)Aitor 16048

2)Cold Steel Natchez Bowie combat classic CS-39LABS

3)Becker BK7 combat utility

4)KaBar 1277

1 and 2 have the best sheaths, if you are considering 3 or 4 get a sheath upgrade.
I strongly disagree with the stabbing only approach. Me i haven't fought any wild animals in the wild but i fought 3 pitbulls who were attacking my dog in a public park plus other situations i've been in and have used knives often for work. Natchez has chopping power and stabability as equal options, a strong chop from a sharp hefty Bowie? that will put any animal on notice that it is being hurt. Now chop, bash, stab 5x into the head or paws i believe there will be an effect. I've researched animal attacks in the past and the goal isn't always the death of the animal. My .02c.
 
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