PROVO– A Utah man was greeted by a mother cougar while jogging on a trail in Slate Canyon near Provo over the weekend. In an alarming video, jogger Kyle Burgess yells, “C’mon dude! I don’t feel like dying today!” at the cougar as she follows Burgess for six minutes.
Burgess accidentally came across mountain lion cubs on the Slate Canyon trail. Before he knew it, the mother cougar began approaching Burgess. In the video, the cougar is seen and heard hissing and charging the lone trail runner.
Burgess says he didn’t get the impression the cat was stalking him because she was hungry. He was certain he had wandered close to her den and she was protecting her young.
“Right as I knew what she was, a cougar coming up on me, I decided I needed to get away from her babies.”
Burgess never had formal training for what to do in this kind of situation. However, he says has seen a lot of YouTube videos about keeping yourself safe on the trails. And he has spoken with hunters about what to do if he were to come across a dangerous animal.
“Don’t run away. Be the bigger thing that’s out there,” he said they told him.
For six minutes, Burgess made himself look big, never turned his back, made loud noises, and eventually threw a rock at the cougar, causing her to run away. Burgess wasn’t certain he would live or die, but he was fairly certain he would be severely injured.
“They’re powerful animals,” he said. “They take down moose and take down other huge animals, so I’m pretty sure if she wanted to kill me, she could have.”
Root said there are important lessons to be learned from this situation, but one outshines the others: do not hike or jog alone.
What to do when approached by a cougar
The DWR states it’s important to know what to do if you ever come in contact with a cougar, especially if you’re an avid hiker or trail runner. They suggest that you:
- Stop. Never run from a cougar and do not approach the cougar
- Maintain eye contact with the animal
- Stand up tall
- Do not crouch or squat
- Make yourself look bigger by raising and waving your arms or jacket above your head
- Talk firmly in a loud voice, back away slowly, and leave the area
- Pick up children and pets or keep them very close
- Fight back if you are attacked! Protect your head and neck
Wild Aware Utah also has information detailing how to protect yourself from a cougar.
Warning for explicit language: you can watch the full 6-minute video on Instagram here.
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