Runner Kills Mountain Lion in Self-Defense With Bare Hands


If you had the choice, you'd probably opt out of being mauled by a mountain lion. But look, sometimes you don't get the choice, so when the time comes are you going to kill that mountain lion with your bare hands, or not? Honestly, probably not. But this guy did.

On Monday afternoon, a trail runner was out in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space area outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. And he was attacked by a mountain lion. For a lot of people, that story, and their story, would end there. The man heard something behind him, and just as he turned the mountain lion began to bite his face and wrists.

And then he choked it to death. 

We're just gonna say it again: He choked a mountain lion to death.

According to a news release from Colorado Parks & Wildlife, he had “serious, but non-life threatening injuries” but was well enough to run out of the park and made it to the hospital. It was confirmed that the 80-pound juvenile cougar was indeed suffocated to death.

“The runner did everything he could to save his life. In the event of a lion attack you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did,” said Mark Leslie, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region manager in the release.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife also gave a list of tips that we'll leave here for you when your time inevitably comes:

  • Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
  • Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly and never turn your back on it.
  • Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion's instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
  • Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you're wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won't panic and run.
  • If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
  • Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. We recommend targeting the eyes and nose as these are sensitive areas. Remain standing or try to get back up!


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James Chrisman is a News Writer at Thrillist. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @james_chrisman2.