Runner who suffocated mountain lion with his foot describes the attack
Scott McLean, CNN
Published at | Updated at
DENVER, Colorado – A Colorado runner is describing in harrowing detail how he fought back and killed a mountain lion that attacked him.
He says last week’s fight lasted about 10 minutes, but it felt like an eternity.
“I ended up hearing some pine needles rustle, a stick break and I turned around and just was pretty bummed out to see a mountain lion chasing after me,” says Travis Kauffman.
Kauffman never imagined his first time running the Horsetooth Rock Trail near Fort Collins, Colorado would lead to an intense fight for his life.
“I remember looking down and seeing the claws,” he says.
Kauffman spotted the mountain lion about 10 feet away and tried to yell and wave his arms to scare it. That didn’t work.
“It just kind of kept running and lunged at me – it was going toward my face so I threw up my hands to block my face at which point it grabbed onto my hand and wrist. That’s when my fear response turned into more of a fight response because I realized how close it was getting to my eyes.”
Kauffman tried everything from sticks to a rock. Again, no success.
“At that point, more drastic measures were necessary.”
At 5’10” and about 150 pounds, Kauffman decided to pin down the five-month-old, nearly 40-pound animal.
“I was able to shift my weight and get a foot on its neck – at that point I stepped on its neck with my right foot, a couple minutes later it finally stopped moving, and then jaws opened, and I was able to scramble up the hill and get the heck out of dodge.”
Bloodied and injured, Kauffman ran three miles, before finally finding good samaritans on the trail, who helped him to the hospital.
“Don’t break an ankle, along with getting attacked by a mountain lion.”
With injuries still covering his face and arms ten days after the attack, and nearly thirty stitches later, the 31-yeard-old says he’s lucky to be alive.
“There was a point where I was concerned that I wasn’t going to make it out of it…luckily that wasn’t the case.”
As a new cat owner, Kauffman says he knew that once you get a cat on its back, its back legs can go crazy. That’s why he used his knee to hold down its legs so the lion’s claws wouldn’t slash his stomach.