K9SAR Dog Defends Hikers Stalked by Mountain Lion Near Lake Tahoe, CA

Brian K |

On Wednesday, February 1st, 2023; My wife and I were doing a basic hike / K9 Search and Rescue training session with our Service dog Kona, and our Foster pup Turbo when a Mid-Size Mountain Lion stalked us near Alta ,CA.

Around 6 pm, we hiked back to our vehicle to make a hot meal, about 5 minutes after returning to the car, my wife blurted out, “Did you hear that?”. Reluctantly, I responded, “Yes, I heard the Lion growl.” A few minutes passed, and no indication of the Lion being present, I needed to get out of the car to relieve myself, so I let the dogs out with me to do the same. They immediately charged to the West of our camp and in the distance, I saw the Lion coming towards them.

I sprinted about 1/4 mile, where I saw the dogs had the Lion cornered at the base of a tree, the Lion was swiping their paws at the dogs. As I was approximately 15ft away, the Lion finally retreated up the tree. I then turned back and sprinted to the car to get my wife and a brighter light than my headlamp, bringing the dogs on command with me. Only Kona followed, whimpering, and jumped straight into our car. Turbo was nowhere to be seen. Once back at the tree where I last saw the Lion, I heard Turbo barking up the hillside, and no Lion in sight, he had chased it off. We then headed cautiously back to the car and stayed on guard for the remainder of the night.

The following morning we retraced our steps and found the cat had followed/stalked us for at least one mile before circling our camp. Very thankful for our dogs and the Service they provide.

Lessons I am taking out of this encounter:

-Always be vigilant when in Lion / Bear country.
-We hiked at sunset and heard the Lion call while in our vehicle, we should have just left.

I hope you learn something from our experience and are enjoying the outdoors this winter. The dogs are ok and healing with extra treats and downtime at home for now,



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2 thoughts on “K9SAR Dog Defends Hikers Stalked by Mountain Lion Near Lake Tahoe, CA

  1. Poor dog. Wild animals used to be afraid of humans (due to hunting). Now they are losing that instinct. Soon humans will be back on the menu like they were 200 years ago.

  2. Stalked? No, there was a lion near camp and you let your dogs chase it. You never saw it while it was on the ground. The tracks later on showed that it investigated your campsite. You need to learn how to act around lions. You should never have let your dogs out after hearing the lion, unless someone was being attacked. Dogs chase cats, even big cats.

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