Hunter Fights Off Mountain Lion With Pocketknife and Rocks on Dark Colorado Trail

August 20, 2019 Updated: August 20, 2019

Armed only with a pocketknife and some rocks, a hunter fought off an adult mountain lion after it began to stalk him on a moonlit trail in Colorado.

Richard Marriott told Ski-Hi News he was scouting ahead of elk season in Big Horn Park, Colorado, on the evening of Aug. 10, when the sun went down.

As he made his way back in the moonlight he heard something rustling behind him.

Turning around, he spotted a mountain lion stalking him in the trees.

He starting backing down the path, but tripped over a log, panicking that the animal was at an advantage.

“But luckily, it came up and just kind of swiped my leg,” he told Ski-Hi.

Marriott slashed back with the only weapon he had—a small pocketknife with a rounded tip.

“I didn’t really hit it that great, but I got it enough the cat knew I wasn’t going to lay there and have him devour me,” Marriott said.

Marriott began to grab nearby rocks and launch them, eventually hitting the lion in the head, scaring it off.

The next day local wildlife officials tracked down the mountain lion and killed it, reported CBS4, since it was acting aggressively when officials found it, instead of running away.

According to Ski-Hi News, Marriot was with them when they tracked it down and killed it.

A picture posted on social media by Aspen News shows him posing with the animal in the back of a truck.

Richard Marriott suffered "super minor" injuries when the mountain lion attacked him, but wishes he had his pistol with…

Posted by The Aspen Times on Monday, August 19, 2019

Marriot said he regrets not having a gun. “I think I would have been able to give it a warning shot and hopefully it would have ran off,” he said.

Marriot handled the encounter in the best way, especially by backing up slowly, Mike Porras with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) told CBS4.

Marriot said he suffered only “super, super minor” injuries.

Warning: Graphic image

Earlier this year, a jogger who fought off a juvenile mountain lion in Colorado with his bare hands was left much worse for wear.

Travis Kauffman needed 23 stitches in his face after rolling with the 40-pound cougar for 10 minutes in the pine needles and dirt after it launched an attack on his face, clamped its jaws onto his wrist, and refused to let go.

After hitting the animal over the head with a rock failed, he finally suffocated the thrashing animal to death by pinning its throat with his foot.

Travis Kauffman
Travis Kauffman is pictured after a mountain lion attack on Feb. 4, 2019. (CWP)

Bleeding from wounds to his legs, face, and arm, Kauffmann got back to the trail, where he met some other joggers who took him to a hospital.

Luckily for Kauffman, the animal that attacked him was a juvenile that weighed about the quarter of a full-grown adult.

Adult males can typically reach 180 pounds and females 130 pounds. Some rare ones have topped 200 pounds. Adult males will measure 6 to 8 feet from nose to tail tip and females 5 to 7 feet.

“The most recognizable feature of the American lion is its long and heavy tail, which measures almost one-third of the lion’s total length,” according to the Mountain Lion Foundation (MLF).

The mountain lion population in the United States is unlikely to exceed 30,000.

‘We Recommend Targeting the Eyes and Nose’

“Cougars are solitary, elusive, and very stealthy,” the MLF states. “If a cougar is in the area and you are lucky enough to detect its presence, most often it will be due to ‘cougar sign’ and not actually seeing the animal. These signs are evidence left behind after a cougar has passed through. Cougar signs include tracks, scat, scratches, and cached (partially buried) prey.”

Those who are lucky—or unlucky—enough to have a rare encounter are advised by the CPW to stay calm, talk firmly to it, and never turn their back on the animal.

“Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely,” says CPW advice. “Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.”

Never approach a lion, especially one with kittens.

If the lion behaves aggressively, the advice is to throw stones, branches or whatever is to hand—but “without crouching down or turning your back. ”

“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.”

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey
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