Mountain lion killed after attacking hunter near Kremmling
GRANBY — A man attacked by a mountain lion Saturday night near Kremmling did everything right when he fought back and stabbed the animal with a pocketknife, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Friday.
The man was reportedly attacked around 9 p.m. while scouting out places to hunt elk around the Big Horn Park subdivision northeast of Kremmling. Authorities and their hounds tracked down the mountain lion at about 7 a.m. the next morning and killed it.
A necropsy revealed the mountain lion had only grass in his stomach, indicating the animal was hungry, said Mike Porras, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Relaying details of the incident, Porras said the hunter saw the mountain lion before it attacked him. Upon spotting the animal, the hunter walked backwards slowly for about 200 yards until he tripped and fell and the mountain lion pounced.
The cat swiped at the hunter’s legs and caused minor injuries. Meanwhile, the hunter had a pocketknife with him and fought back by stabbing the mountain lion in the face, Porras said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to know whenever you see a mountain lion or notice lion-like activity close to a town, or if a human action causes a change in what the lion is doing.
You can report a mountain lion by contacting Parks and Wildlife’s Steamboat office at 970-870-2197. After 5 p.m. or on the weekends, you can report it by calling Routt County Communications’ non-emergency line at 970-879-1110.
If you do encounter a lion, the agency recommends taking the following steps:
- Go in groups when you walk or hike in mountain lion country and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
- 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.
- 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. Remain standing or try to get back up.
The following morning, authorities tracked the mountain lion, found it about 100 yards from where the attack occurred and killed the animal.
Porras said the mountain lion acted especially aggressive when authorities found it and even fought with the hounds that tracked him instead of running away, which is the typical reaction.
While the necropsy revealed the cat was likely hungry, it also showed the mountain lion, a young adult male, was in a good, healthy condition, Porras said.
With such a robust population of mountain lions in Colorado and so many people venturing into the backcountry, Porras hopes people will get educated about how to handle such encounters before going out.
Like the hunter, Porras said, someone should never turn around and run from a mountain lion. It’s much better to stay facing the animal and slowly back away, he explained.
When the cat pounced, the hunter fought back with whatever he had, in this case a pocketknife, and that was exactly what he should have done, Porras continued.
“So absolutely, he did everything right,” Porras said, adding that there was a mountain lion sighting in the subdivision about a week before the attack.
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