Runner Kills Mountain Lion With Bare Hands After Attack

GON Staff | February 5, 2019

A man running a trail in northern Colorado was attacked by a mountain lion yesterday morning, Feb. 4.

The jogger survived. The mountain lion did not.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the man killed the cougar with only his hands by choking it. The runner told officials he heard something behind him on the trail and was attacked by the mountain lion as he turned around.

“The lion lunged at the runner, biting his face and wrist. He was able to fight and break free from the lion, killing the lion in self-defense. The runner sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries as a result of the attack,” according to a press release from the agency. 

Wildlife officers searched the trail area and found the body of a juvenile mountain lion within feet of several items the victim lost during the attack. The mountain lion has been taken to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife animal health lab for a necropsy.

“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,” said Mark Leslie, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region manager.

The attack occurred at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, a 2,711-acre public property maintained by Larimer County, north of Boulder, Colorado, that includes 29 miles of hiking, biking and horseback trails. The runner was attacked on the West Ridge Trail.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, mountain lion attacks on people are rare, with fewer than 20 fatalities in North America in more than 100 years. Since 1990, Colorado has had 16 injuries as a result of mountain lion attacks and three fatalities.

“Lion populations are doing very well in Colorado, but they are elusive animals and tend to avoid humans,” the press release said. “Most people will never see a lion in the wild, but they are there. If you live, work, or play in mountain lion country, it is important to be alert.”

Last summer in Georgia, a hiker was attacked by a coyote. On Saturday, May 26, 2018, Nate Edmonds was attacked by the coyote at the Hitchiti Experimental Forest. The federal land is adjacent to Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Jones County. Nate fought the coyote off and killed it with a pocket knife. Testing later confirmed the male coyote was rabid.

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