“I can’t believe it actually happened. I’m lucky it didn’t get a lot worse. It was kind of weird because I had an eerie feeling that night. It’s just funny how your instinct comes into play; I don’t even really know what you call it.”
An elk hunter in Big Horn Park in Kremmling managed to fight off a mountain lion using a pocketknife. Richard Marriott, from Evergreen, Colorado, was attacked on August 10th while scouting the area for hunting spots. Sky-Hi News reports he was able to defend himself with his pocketknife by stabbing the male lion in the face as it came towards him.
Marriott heard the lion approaching him from behind while he was walking through the woods but mistook it for a deer. Then he saw the lion approaching through the trees:
“At that point, I’m going, ‘Oh crap, is this really happening?'”
Marriott usually takes a sidearm out with him when he goes into the woods but on this day only had a small pocketknife with “virtually no point.” As the cat approached he tripped on a log and was on the ground. He was sure it would pounce but only swiped at his leg.
“Luckily, it came up and just kind of swiped my leg. In all honesty, I think it was curious.”
Marriott hit the lion in the face with the knife creating and it backed off. He followed up by throwing rocks and the lion took off. Marriott only suffered a minor cut on his leg in the attack. Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed that they tracked down the mountain lion the next morning and killed it.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife Mountain Lion Safety Guide:
If You Encounter a Mountain Lion
People rarely get more than a brief glimpse of a mountain lion in the wild. Lion attacks on people are rare, with fewer than a dozen fatalities in North America in more than 100 years. Most of the attacks were by young lions, perhaps forced out to hunt on their own and not yet living in established areas. Young lions may key in on easy prey, like pets and small children.
No studies have been done to determine what to do if you meet a lion. However, based on observations by people who have come upon lions, some patterns of behavior and response are beginning to emerge. With this in mind, the following suggestions may be helpful.
Remember: Every situation is different with respect to the lion, the terrain, the people, and their activity.
- Go in groups when you walk or hike in mountain lion country, and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
- 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.
- 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 and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up!