A trail runner in Utah experienced a terrifying encounter with a mother mountain lion that stalked him on a trail for six minutes, lunging him at least three times.
Kyle Burgess was on a two-mile run up Slate Canyon near Provo on Saturday evening when he encountered four small animals crossing the trail ahead of him, according to the Deseret News.
At first, he thought they were bobcats, so he pulled out his phone and started recording. Moments later, the mother mountain lion came into view and that started a scary retreat he captured in video.
Burgess kept talking to the mountain lion and maintained eyesight while backing away as the cougar kept its pace walking toward him.
“I don’t feel like dying today,” he says in the video. “Go get your babies…This is scary. My heart is racing…Come on dude…Go with your babies, you’re not getting me, dude.”
Finally, Burgess managed to bend down to pick up a rock and hurl it at the mountain, hitting it and sending it running back down the trail.
But the ordeal wasn’t finished. Burgess still had to go down the way the lion went to get to the trailhead, otherwise he faced a 7-mile run the other way on the 10-mile loop.
So, after a 30-minute wait and armed with a stick and a rock, he started back down the trail. He then encountered some hikers and asked if they had seen a mountain lion. They laughed at him, until he showed them the video.
In the end, he made it back safely without seeing the mountain lion again.
Scott Root, conservation outreach manager for Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources, told Burgess on Monday, “You did great. You did awesome.” Root told the Deseret News Burgess did almost everything right.
“He backed away,” Root said. “He didn’t go toward the mountain lion or her kittens. He made a lot of noise…He stayed large, he stayed loud and he backed away from the area for quite a while. I think he did everything really well.”
The one thing Root said Burgess should have done was not run alone and maybe carry bear spray.
“In that situation, with that mother mountain lion who’s being very protective, as you can tell, I would not take my eyes off of her and I wouldn’t bend down,” Root said. “You want to remain large and you want to remain making a lot of noise. And that’s what he did.”
Bending down to pick up a rock could trigger an attack response, Root said.
Burgess told the Deseret News, “My emotions were a jumbled mess. So it was kind of like…‘K, well this is going one of two ways. What’s the outcome going to be?’”