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Park reopened after mountain lion encounters
Officials reopened trails on the southern end of Cheyenne Mountain State Park at 9 a.m. Sunday after two mountain lion encounters prompted the area's closure.
Officials found tracks leading away from the park, and park rangers haven't spotted the animal since the last encounter Friday, said Michael Seraphin, of the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.
"The fact that there’s lions there is no reason necessarily to keep it closed — no more than you’d close Garden of the Gods,” Seraphin said.
A man jogging in the park encountered the animal Friday that had a deer carcass about 30 feet away from a trail.
A female jogger who encountered the mountain lion moments later was chased by the animal — hurting her knee in the process as she ran off the trail. The mountain lion never reached her and returned to the carcass.
A park ranger responded and shot at the animal, but officials did not find blood nor the mountain lion during a search Saturday morning.
Mountain lion encounters typically rise in the winter because deer — their main food source — tend to venture to lower elevations as the temperatures drop, said Randy Hampton, another Division of Parks and Wildlife spokesman.
"When the deer come down, the lions follow,” he said.
When encountering mountain lions, the best thing to do is make noise, stand up and make yourself as big as possible, Hampton said. Do not make sudden movements — rather, back away slowly, he said.