A 31 year old runner, Travis Kauffman, shared his story, of a violent struggle resulting from a mountain lion attack.

On February 4th, 2019 Mr. Kauffman, who is a lanky 5-foot-10 and about 150-ish pounds, was on a run on West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, just outside of Fort Collins, Colorado when he heard pine needles rustling behind him, alerting him to the mountain lion.

Defending Against a Mountain Lion

Despite facing the cat and attempting to scare it off, the mountain lion attacked. Kauffman threw his arms up and tried to protect his face and yelled with what he described as a “barbarian yell”. After which a wrestling match ensued while the cat had his left hand in the grasp of its powerful jaw.

After Kauffman and the cat tumbled off the trail, he fought to free his hand from the cats grip. He reported hitting 50 pound cat with rocks but his position did not allow for him to put much force behind it. And so with the cat audibly grinding through his ligaments and tendons of his wrist, Kauffman shifted his weight and used his knees to pin down the cats back legs.

Subduing the Mountain Lion

Kaufman then shifted his weight again to get his foot on the throat of the mountain lion despite his left hand still being in its grasp. After placing his weight on this foot for several minutes the cat released his hand, and appeared to have been suffocated.

Kauffman then ran down the trail looking for help. When Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff returned to the scene later, the cat was confirmed to have been suffocated. Colorado Parks and Wildlife then kept a watchful eye on the area looking for other problem mountain lions in the area with trail cameras, and eventually relocated two young cats to a new location.

Surviving a Mountain Lion Attack

Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommend doing anything in your power to fight back in the event of a mountain lion attack, and offer the following tips:

  • Given them a path to escape
  • Do not approach a mountain lion
  • Speak firmly and move slowly facing the mountain lion at all times
  • Do not run away at any point
  • Remain upright and try to appear as big as possible
  • Throw rocks, wave sticks, and signal to the mountain lion that you are not prey
  • Fight back targeting the animals eyes and nose
  • Know your surroundings – be careful when running in the wild with headphones which may prevent you from hearing outside noises indicating danger