SAN MARCOS, Texas -- In the past month, San Marcos police officers have seen mountain lions near a park in San Marcos, according to the city.

The City of San Marcos said off-duty San Marcos officers "made two mountain lion sightings near the Purgatory Park area in the past month." The city said the sightings were at dusk, which is generally the time large cats can be seen moving and beginning to hunt.

City staff said they believe this mountain lion is likely a juvenile that may be using drainage areas and culverts to hunt and cross roads.

Officials are warning residents to stay away from drainage areas and culverts.

If you see a mountain lion, the city urges you to call the City of San Marcos Animal Shelter at 512-805-2655.

In February, a Hays County constable told KVUE that a mountain lion attacked a deer at the Blue Hole Regional Park in Wimberley.

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Here are some tips if you see a mountain lion:

  • Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape
  • Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up if possible so that they don't panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion
  • Do not crouch down or bend over. A human standing up is just not the right shape for a lion's prey. Conversely, a person squatting or bending over resembles a four-legged prey animal. In mountain lion country, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children
  • Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Again, pick up small children. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to the animal
  • Fight back if attacked. A hiker in southern California used a rock to fend off a mountain lion that was attacking his son. Others have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal
  • Secure your pets. Don’t let your pets run loose, which is already prohibited by City Ordinance. Keep them inside or on your property

Texas Parks and Wildlife has a field guide to Texas mountain lions. Here are more tips to avoid an encounter with a mountain lion.