The story of a Colorado man locked in a life-or-death struggle with a mountain lion is remarkable enough in that the unarmed man not only survived the incident but was the only one to emerge alive.
But when he told his story of how events unfolded, it sounds as if it came right from the pages of a movie script.
The 30-something-year-old trail runner was attacked by a young mountain lion while out for a run — he wishes to remain anonymous for now. After realizing that he was being stalked, the man turned to face the animal, who pounced on him. The bloody jogger managed to fight off the ensuing attack with his bare hands and a nearby rock.
Larimer County rangers just closed off entrance to Soderberg Trailhead at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space not far from where a trail runner fought off a mountain lion yesterday afternoon #9NEWS pic.twitter.com/89RFIwDFKp
— Noel Brennan (@Noeltbrennan) February 5, 2019
Rebecca Ferrell, a spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, shared the details of the harrowing encounter with the cat in an interview with the Denver Post.
She said the man had previously researched what to do if attacked by a mountain lion and did what he should have done, yelling at the cat and waving his arms over his head to make himself look bigger, but the animal pounced anyway.
More of Ferrell’s account from The Post:
As it went for his head and neck, the man blocked the cat with his forearms, but the mountain lion bit him on the face and clamped its fangs on the man’s wrist — and wouldn’t let go, Ferrell said.
The man picked up a rock with his free hand and pounded the cat in the head, but the animal hung on. He then put the lion in a headlock and wrestled and scrapped with the creature on the trail, Ferrell said.
When he finally managed to free his wrist from the cat’s jaws, the runner counterattacked. He jumped on the mountain lion’s back, and, using his hands, arms and feet, he choked the animal to death, she said.
The man was treated for possible infections but is reportedly doing well, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which confirmed the mountain lion’s death.
After additional investigation, including examination of the lion, we have confirmed the victim's account that he was able to suffocate the animal while defending himself from the attack.
— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) February 5, 2019
“This is crazy but true. We have no reason to believe that this is a hoax,” Rebecca Ferrell, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Parks And Wildlife, said. “He should never have to buy another beer in his life.”
“Not only is he brave, but he is very conscientious,” Ferrell said. “He was also as prepared as they come.”
Above all, the department strongly encourages potential victims to fight back in such accounts, saying it may be your only chance for survival.
• Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. We recommend targeting the eyes and nose as these are sensitive areas.
— Colorado Parks and Wildlife (@COParksWildlife) February 5, 2019
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