A Utah man was out for a jog in Slate Canyon near Provo last weekend, when he came upon an unexpected companion.
Kyle Burgess spotted a cougar who he believes was protecting her cubs. She began to track him, and for six long minutes, Burgess fought to save his life.
“C’mon dude! I don’t feel like dying today!” Burgess can be heard yelling at the cougar as she, at moments, seemed to be in full-attack mode.
Burgess captured the incident, while walking backwards, so as not to take his eyes off the cat.
In an interview with KSL Newsradio, Burgess says he's been on this trail many times and never encountered a mountain lion. He says she was simply protecting her young, and he'd inadvertently gotten too close.
“Right as I knew what she was, a cougar coming up on me, I decided I needed to get away from her babies," Burgess tells KSL.
Although the jogger says he's never been officially trained in what to do should you come across a wild animal while out on the trail, he had watched videos on how to keep yourself safe while hiking. He knew he needed to appear big, not face the animal down, and despite every instinct -- not run.
For six long and hair-raising minutes, Burgess made loud noises, talked to himself to maintain his calm, and eventually threw a rock at the cat, which caused her to run away.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released the following tips on what to do if you come upon a dangerous animal:
Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Hike in groups.
Keep your dog close to you or on a leash.
Make noise to alert wildlife of your presence.
Keep children close to you.
Be especially alert at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active.If you encounter a cougar in the wild, you should:
Stay calm and stand your ground.
Maintain direct eye contact.
Pick up any children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.
Back away slowly.
Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.
Raise your voice and speak firmly.
If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.
If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any other items available.
ODFW has tips for co-existing with various kinds of wildlife on its website.