Colorado -(Ammoland.com)- Big cats are dangerous predators. They usually attack from ambush, without warning, often from behind. That happened to a runner in Colorado. But the runner was not listening to music on earbuds or headphones. He heard something. He started to turn around. He saw the lion launching itself at him.
Here is the initial report from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. From state.co.us:
LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, working with Larimer County Department of Natural Resources, are investigating a mountain lion attack on a trail runner using the West Ridge Trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space on Monday, Feb. 4. The victim was able to defend himself from the attack, resulting in the death of the juvenile mountain lion. The runner was then able to leave the open space property and get himself to a local hospital.
“Mountain lion attacks are not common in Colorado and it is unfortunate that the lion’s hunting instincts were triggered by the runner,” Ty Petersburg, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife said. “This could have had a very different outcome.”
The victim of the attack described hearing something behind him on the trail and was attacked by a mountain lion as he turned around to investigate. The lion lunged at the runner, biting his face and wrist. He was able to fight and break free from the lion, killing the lion in self-defense. The runner sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries as a result of the attack.
As wildlife officers searched the trail area provided by the runner, the body of a juvenile mountain lion was found within feet of several possessions that the victim asked the officers to look for on the trail. The lion has been taken to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife animal health lab for a necropsy.
“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.
The initial report did not explain how the man managed to kill the lion. I immediately suspected he choked it to death. A tweet from the CPW confirmed that a few hours ago.
The smaller wild cats, up to and including mountain lions and leopards, can be killed by a man without weapons. In this case, the victim used his body weight and hands. The victim managed to separate the cat from his face and hands. Then he pounced on top of the cat, pinning it to the ground while he choked/smothered it. The body was used to immobilize the cat and neutralize it claws and teeth. He might have used his body to crush the chest cavity.
There have been cases in the United States where unarmed people have killed rabid attacking bobcats.
In Africa, a 73-year-old farmer killed a leopard with his bare hands in 2005. In 1896, a famed photographer killed a wounded leopard with his bare hands after it attacked him. The leopard was only wounded in the left hind leg.
The photographer used his weight to advantage, crushing the leopard's chest.
These incidents usually occur with cats that weigh less than 100 pounds.
I suspect the victims would have preferred to have almost any handgun. A handgun would allow them to end the fight quickly and suffer less damage.
Knives, even small knives, have been used to good effect. A club can work on these cats. One leopard in Africa is reported to have died when it impaled its brain on a fish spear a man was carrying over his shoulder. A man in Canada recently killed a mountain lion that was attacking his wife. He used a spear.
Being alert is key to any defense. Few recover sufficiently from complete surprise. It is possible, but difficult and unlikely.
I refuse to wear a headset while out and about.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.