A Colorado man stalked and attacked by a mountain lion fought off the beast with a pocketknife.
The man, whose name was not released, was scouting for elk in northern Colorado around 9:00 p.m. when he spotted the lion stalking him.
As he backed away he tripped and fell, and the lion pounced. As he struggled with the cat he was able to pull out his pocketknife and stab it in the face, repelling the beast.
He was able to contact authorities and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife spent the night hunting for the lion. They found the cat just 100 yards from the site of the attack. The lion was extremely aggressive, CPW reports, and fought the tracking hounds before authorities killed it.
A necropsy revealed the lion had only grass in its stomach, and was hungry. Most lion attacks on humans are by old or sick lions who cannot catch wild prey, but this cat was young and healthy.
Wildlife officials note the hunter dealt with the situation perfectly, backing away slowly while facing the animal instead of turning and running, which triggers a cat’s natural instinct to pursue fleeing prey.
The National Parks Service offers the following tips to stay safe in lion country.
• Do not hike alone. Hike in groups with adults supervising children.
• Keep children close and within your sight at all times.
If you see a mountain lion:
• Stay calm and hold your ground or back away slowly. Face the lion and stand upright.
• Never approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens.
• Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal.
If the mountain lion moves acts aggressively:
• Try to appear intimidating or larger than you are by raising your arms and opening your jacket if you are wearing one. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
• If looking bigger doesn’t scare the mountain lion off, start throwing stones, branches or whatever you can reach in its direction without crouching or turning your back.
• If the mountain lion continues to move in your direction, start throwing things at it.
• If the mountain lion attacks you, fight back.
Also, report all mountain lion sightings to wildlife officials immediately.