A runner in Utah got more than he bargained for when he ran into a mother cougar and her cubs on a trail.
Kyle Burgess started a recording of what he thought were bobcats but ended up being stalked for six minutes by a female mountain lion, he told Deseret News.
His video shows Burgess walking up to small cats on the trail in Slate Canyon, near Provo, and then out of nowhere the mom comes running up. Burgess gives her a few choice words and then starts walking in the opposite direction, growling and yelling at the large cat hoping to scare it off.
“Go away! I’m big and scary!” Burgess says between expletives. “What’s up dude? Nice and slow.”
The agitated cat then proceeds to follow Burgess for the next six minutes, all while Burgess is yelling and growling at the animal.
“OK, this is when I (expletive) die,” he says. “Come on, dude. I don’t feel like dying today.”
Throughout the entire video Burgess never turns his back away from the animal as she continued to lunge and hiss at him. Finally, he throws a rock at the mountain lion and she runs away, leaving him relieved in the clear.
“Wow, that just happened,” Burgess said into the camera when he could finally relax. “I’m somewhat calm actually. Yeah, not going back that way.”
Burgess told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he never had the urge to run because he wanted to keep his eyes on the cougar the entire time.
“I felt like if I did anything sooner, she would have felt like I was attacking her baby cubs and It would have ended a lot differently,” he said.
“Did you want to project strength?” Cooper asked.
“Oh definitely!” Burgess said. “I had my phone in one hand and my other hand up in the air trying to look as big as I could. I’m not the biggest person … so this cougar could take me down in a heartbeat.”
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources posted the video on its Facebook page with a warning: “Utah is cougar country!”
The post offered the following suggestions should you happen to have such an encounter of your own.
- Stop. Never run from a cougar and do not approach the cougar.
- Maintain eye contact with the animal
- Stand up tall
- Do not crouch or squat
- Make yourself look bigger by raising and waving your arms or jacket above your head
- Talk firmly in a loud voice, back away slowly, and leave the area
- Pick up children and pets or keep them very close
- Fight back if you are attacked! Protect your head and neck
Cougars are a protected species in Utah. They are typically shy.