Man Kills Cougar on a Run

By Dan Stinton

A runner from Colorado certainly has a tale to tell after he was attacked by a young male cougar on Monday.  The incident happened at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space on a mountain trail in the north of the state.

The victim heard something move behind him and as he turned, the mountain lion pounced on him, biting his hands and face.  In what must have been a terrifying moment, he managed to fight back and ended up killing the lion in self-defence, believed to be by suffocation.

Having sustained serious injuries, the runner then made his way to the local hospital.  A state official said “The runner did everything he could to save his life. In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did.”

Mountain lion attacks are rare.  The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) official statement says there have been three fatalities and sixteen injuries due to cougar attacks since 1990.  The statement also provides advice on what to do if you’re faced with such a situation, including staying calm and trying not to run as this “may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.” 

It is thought that the age of the lion (less than a year) meant that he would still be learning to hunt and wouldn’t necessarily know to avoid humans.  Had this been a fully grown lion, the outcome may have been very different.

Not trying to make light of a terrifying situation, but if ever there was a moment your heart rate monitor is going to reach maximum levels, this was definitely it.

If you’re likely to be in such areas it’s always best to do some research on the type of wildlife you could encounter and what to do if faced with, for example, a bear or cougar.  A slightly different approach may be needed depending upon the animal and how they’re reacting, but the overriding advice appears to be stay calm.

In any event, it’s always wise, especially when running alone, to at least use a tracking app so that someone knows your location and let them know when you’re planning to be back in case anything goes wrong.

Here in the UK, one of the most common encounters is being leapt upon by someone else’s dog.  The owner usually says “He won’t bite mate, he’s fine”, no matter how much they’re snarling and clambering up your leg.  Personally, my most wild encounter has been avoiding a terrified badger, but we welcome readers to share stories of encounters with wildlife during their trail running.

"The victim heard something move behind him and as he turned, the mountain lion pounced on him, biting his hands and face. In what must have been a terrifying moment, he managed to fight back and ended up killing the lion in self-defence"

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Like what you read?

Click here to sign up for more

Related news

Interview with Dr Thomas Giles

Last updated: 06-Nov-18 Background Thomas Giles is a consultant cytopathologist at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and an experienced ultra runner. He began ultra running

Read More »

Latest news

Global - Virtual

Elevation

A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for

For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Elevation

An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for

Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Brutal

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude)

Suitable for

Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Expert

Elevation

Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat)

Suitable for

Experienced runners who have completed at least 4 ultras in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Advanced

Elevation

Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Intermediate

Elevation

Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for

Runners who have completed at least one ultra in last 6 months or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Beginner

Elevation

Very little change < 500 metres

Suitable for

First ultra event. Runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running (>26 miles) in the last 6 months.