A Colorado man recounted his near-death experience with a mountain lion, an ordeal that ended with the 31-year-old killing the animal along a wooded running trail in Colorado.
Travis Kauffman was trail running on Feb. 4 near Fort Collins, Colorado when he heard something coming up behind him. A quick glance revealed a mountain lion bearing down.
"One of my worst fears was confirmed," he said this week.
Kauffman raised his arms in a defensive motion and screamed a "barbarian yell," at which point the animal bit down on his right wrist. The 5-foot-10, 155-pound runner fell down, and together he and the mountain lion tumbled off the trail.
From that point, Kauffman said it was a fight for survival. "It was a wrestling match. It was thrashing, and it still had my wrist locked in its jaws."
He beat the cat over the head with a rock and attempted to stab it with sticks, but the animal was persistent and would not stop attacking Kauffman, who at this point was bleeding from scratches on his face, neck, and wrist.
"I knew with two pretty good blows to the back of the head [and] it didn't release, that I was probably going to have to do something a little more drastic," said Kauffman, an avid runner, cyclist, and skier who works as an environmental consultant.
Kauffman said he got the cat on its back, pinned its rear legs down with his left knee, and suffocated it.
"I was able to kind of shift my weight and get a foot on its neck" until the cat died.
Officials performed a necropsy on the animal and discovered it was a male of four of five months old and weighed 35 or 40 pounds. Adult mountain lions can weigh as much as 150 pounds.
When Kauffman realized the cat was dead, he jumped up and ran roughly three miles to safety, at which point other runners took him to the hospital. He needed 17 stitches to close a wound on his cheek, six on the bridge of his nose, two on the side of his cheek, and three on his wrist. He is still pockmarked with puncture wounds.
Kauffman plans to keep running the trails, but he'll take a buddy with him next time.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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