PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) — A harrowing experience in which a Utah man went face-to-face with a pouncing cougar has the world talking.
In a post on social media by Kyle Burgess, the hiker records an experience in Slate Canyon near Provo, Utah, that would stop most in their tracks. In his post on Instagram, Burgess says he thought he “was done for.”
As Burgess walked through the canyon on the evening of Oct. 10, a cougar begins to follow him along the trail.
“Go! Go! Go!” a breathless Burgess can be heard screaming on the video.
Several times, the large cat hisses and pounces toward Burgess, stopping short of actually attacking when the hiker yells, “No!” All the time, Burgess continues walking backward.
“No!” Burgess yells. “Go away! Please, go away!”
Burgess repeatedly yells and makes roaring sounds — even barking — in an attempt to scare the cougar off, but the cat continues to pursue him.
“OK, this is when I (expletive) die,” he says. “Come on, dude. I don’t feel like dying today.”
Then, as he continues retreating, he says, “This sucks … This is scary! My heart is racing!”
He pleads with the cougar to turn back and “go get your babies.”
“You’re good!” Burgess coaxes. “You’re a good little kitty cat.”
At one point, he says, “I just wanted to go on a run!”
Burgess was near the end of a 10-mile loop when he came across the cougar, according to the Desert News.
The nerve-wracking encounter lasted six minutes before its abrupt conclusion, when the cat turns and runs away.
“Yeah, so that just happened,” Burgess says then, holding up a shaking hand. “Holy cow! Yeah, not going back that way!”
The Humane Society says it rare for a cougar to attack in the wild, but if it happens, the only choice you have is to fight back. The organization says people have stopped attacks by hitting the animal with sticks, their hands, baseball caps, even garden tools. Use what you can find.
What to do if you encounter a cougar
- Don’t run! Running will provoke the predatory chasing behavior of cougars, as it would with other predators such as bears, coyotes, and wolves.
- Pick up small children or pets that are with you.
- Directly face the cougar, but look at the cougar’s feet, not directly into their eyes, to avoid appearing aggressive.
- If the cougar displays aggressive behavior try to appear larger—raise your arms or open your jacket over your head.
- Make noise by yelling, blowing a whistle or an air horn.
- If you have an umbrella, quickly open and close it while facing the cougar.
- Do not approach the cougar. Give it ample space to run away – don’t corner it.
- If there are cubs, be careful not to get between them and their mother.
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