A man in Utah faced a terrifying ordeal after stumbling into a mountain lion family, only for the mother cougar to stalk him for six minutes as he captured the terrifying scene on video.
Kyle Burgess, 26, was running near his home along the Slate Canyon trail near Provo when he encountered a group of wild kittens, reports Deseret News.
Believing that these were bobcat cubs – a common sight in the area – Burgess began recording the small creatures. Moments later, their mother appeared and he realized that these were mountain lion cubs and their extremely protective mother.
Burgess was then thrust into possibly the scariest moment of his life as the mature female mountain lion began to charge at him.
His fear was obvious based on the audio from the scary encounter, where he can be heard screaming at the mountain lion as it stalked him through the tree-lined, rocky path.
“No! No! I’m big and scary! Go away!” Burgess yelled.
“You’re good!” Burgess continued as she continued following him. “You’re good little kitty cat. … Nice and slow. Come on.”
Three minutes into the ordeal, the cougar began growing more aggressive as it began hissing, growling and lunging at Burgess, swishing her tail and flashing her teeth menacingly.
“OK, this is when I f**king die,” he says. “Come on, dude. I don’t feel like dying today.”
Burgess then began screaming back, cursing and growing at the creature while continuing to slowly back away as he continued to face the big cat.
“This is scary, my heart is racing,” Burgess said.
After about 6 minutes of being chased by the cougar, Burgess quickly kneeled down to grab a rock and toss it directly at her, causing the large cat to quickly turn tail and run back to her cubs.
Despite the gut-wrenching emotions Burgess felt, he was also awestruck by how “beautiful” the over-protective mother was despite being powerful and “scary.”
Fortunately, the young hiker managed to escape without so much a scratch from the aggressive cougar.
“Wow, that just happened,” Burgess remembered thinking after the cat escaped. “Honestly right now it still feels like a dream.”
“My emotions were a jumbled mess,” he continued. “So it was kind of like … ‘K, well this is going one of two ways. What’s the outcome going to be?’”
Burgess has now been thrust in the position of being the subject of viral attention after his six-minute video went live on Instagram and quickly spread across social media platforms.
Predictably, social media users have assailed the young man for intruding on the cougars home or yelling at the large cat. However, knowledgeable hikers and outdoorspeople have hailed his actions as an exemplary way of responding to the threat.
Scott Root, a conservation outreach manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said Burgess’ actions were awesome. The official met Burgess on Monday as DWR officers arrived in the area to locate the mountain lions, who appear to have moved on.
“He backed away. He didn’t go toward the mountain lion or her kittens. He made a lot of noise,” Root said. “He stayed large, he stayed loud and he backed away from the area for quite a while. I think he did everything really well.”
If anything, hikers might want to carry bear spray and bring a friend for similar trail runs. Burgess did well otherwise, Root said.
“In that situation, with that mother mountain lion who’s being very protective, as you can tell, I would not take my eyes off of her and I wouldn’t bend down,” he added. “You want to remain large and you want to remain making a lot of noise. And that’s what he did.”
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