Photo: CPW | Cover: National Park Service

When it comes to dangerous action sports, trail running does not immediately come to mind. However for one runner, a casual jog through the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space near Denver almost proved deadly after a mountain lion encounter turned violent.

According to a release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the unidentified man was attacked during his trail run on Monday by a young mountain lion that likely thought of the victim as its prey. But what this cat didn’t understand was: it had encountered another predator that wasn’t quite ready to take a step down in the food chain.

“The victim of the attack described hearing something behind him on the trail and was attacked by a mountain lion as he turned around to investigate. 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.”Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Sources indicate that the man fought back with his hands and likely killed the mountain lion before self rescuing and transporting himself to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. An officer with CPW,  Mark Leslie says that the man did the right thing fighting back. “In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did.”

What to do if you encounter a mountain lion:

  • Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
  • Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly and never turn your back on it.
  • Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
  • Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.
  • If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
  • 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 andtheir bare hands successfully. We recommend targeting the eyes and nose as these are sensitive areas. Remain standing or try to get back up!

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Find the entire CPW release here: CPW and Larimer County investigating mountain lion attack at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

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