Trail runner recounts life-or-death fight with mountain lion

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Fort Collins, Colo. • When a youthful mountain lion clamped its jaws onto Travis Kauffman’s wrist and clawed at his face, he screamed a “barbarian yell,” jammed his foot onto the animal’s neck and held it there until the cat cease thrashing and died.

After a couple of minutes, Kauffmann recalled Thursday, “it finally stopped moving and then the jaws opened and I was able to kind of scramble back up the hill and get the heck out of Dodge.”

Through all of it, the 31-year-old path runner talked about, the cat remained eerily silent.

It was the first time Kauffman publicly recounted the Feb. 4 ordeal that left him with 28 stitches and a reputation for toughness and bravado that overshadows his wiry physique.

“I will never be able to live up to the reputation,” talked about Kauffman, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs about 155 kilos . “The story is bigger than my puny form.”

Kauffman talked about he was working a path inside the mountains west of Fort Collins, Colo., when he heard pine needles rustle behind him. He turned to see the mountain lion about 10 ft away.

“One of my worst fears was confirmed,” he talked about.

That cat lunged, and Kauffman raised his arms and screamed.

The animal locked its enamel onto his wrist and they also tumbled off the side of the trail.

A wave of fear rolled over him, he talked about, and he fearful that the animal’s full-grown mother could be a part of the assault to defend her offspring. But no totally different cat appeared.

Fear then gave method to the stopping instinct, he talked about.

Kauffman grabbed a rock with his free hand and beat the cat on the once more of the highest. He moreover tried stabbing it with twigs, nevertheless nothing labored.

“I knew with two pretty good blows to the back of the head [and] it didn’t release, that I was probably going to have to do something a little more drastic,” he talked about. “I was able to kind of shift my weight and get a foot on its neck” until it succumbed.

Bleeding from his face and wrist, he jogged once more down the trail, the place he met totally different runners who acquired him to a hospital.

“I was just thankful that he had his eyes and his fingers and all his parts, and it didn’t look as bad as I maybe would have thought that it could,” talked about his girlfriend, Annie Bierbower.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers retrieved the ineffective cat. They talked about their investigation and a necropsy confirmed Kauffman’s account.

“Travis is a pretty amazing young man,” talked about Ty Petersburg, a wildlife supervisor for the corporate.

Kauffman was the 22nd specific individual attacked by a mountain lion in Colorado since 1990, Parks and Wildlife talked about. Three of the assaults have been lethal.

A necropsy report talked about the lion that attacked Kauffman was male, 4 or 5 months earlier, weighing 35 to 40 kilos. The cat had restricted fat, indicating it was hungry nevertheless not ravenous. It confirmed no sign of rabies or totally different diseases, the report talked about, nevertheless numerous its organs had been scavenged by totally different animals sooner than the physique was recovered.

Adult male mountain lions frequent about 150 kilos, Parks and Wildlife talked about.

Petersburg talked about officers organize cameras and traps inside the area for quite a few days after the assault. They seen no large mountain lions nevertheless captured two youthful ones in good effectively being. He talked about every are in a rehabilitation center, and the corporate hopes to launch them once more into the wild.

Kauffman, an environmental information, described himself as an avid runner, bicycle proprietor and skier who has a pet cat at dwelling. He talked about he doesn’t plan to retreat from the surface.

“I will go run those trails again,” he talked about, nevertheless added, “I will go with a buddy there.”

Associated Press creator Dan Elliott in Denver contributed to this report.

This story has been corrected to point Kauffman weighs about 155 kilos, not 150.

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