Utah hiker records terrifying 6-minute encounter with cougar

The mountain lion follows Burgess, who slowly backs away while attempting to intimidate the animal with loud grunts.
Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 10:45 AM MDT
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SALT LAKE CITY (CBS/CNN) - A hiker in Utah is describing a terrifying encounter with a mountain lion near his home.

He has the cellphone video to prove it. Kyle Burgess, 26, met the animal on a trail, south of Salt Lake City. It is graphic evidence of what can happen when humans get too close to wild creatures.

This is the moment Burgess comes across a mountain lion and its cubs while on a trail run near his home in Utah on Saturday.

“Go away, please go away. Holy s***!” he can be heard saying in the video.

The roughly 6-minute encounter began as Burgess was roughly two miles from the trailhead.

“It was when I got down, coming down Slate Canyon, where I ran into the kitty cat,” Burgess laughs. “You should slow down video and spot shadow the cubs based on what I saw as it was quick.”

That kitty cat was accompanied by an adult mountain lion. That’s when burgess says he knew he was in trouble.

“You see the two cubs and one kind of runs off, but then I didn’t notice mom was right there and that’s when I knew it was not a good situation to be in,” Burgess.

The mountain lion follows Burgess, who slowly backs away while attempting to intimidate the animal with loud grunts.

It then lunges, hisses and flashes its teeth toward Burgess several times. Burgess says he had no idea what to do.

“It was all improv,” he said. “I’m not no outdoor expert at all.”

Kate Remsen, who works for the Living with Lions project, said that while encounters like this are unbelievably rare, Burgess actually did many of the right things.

“You want to make yourself look big, you want to be as loud as possible, and then like he did, slowly back away,” Ramsen said.

Remsen said the mountain lion was not stalking Burgess but rather was trying to push him away from her cubs.

“These mountain lions are not going to actively attack a human being unless they need to defend themselves or they’re scared,” Ramsen said.

The encounter lasts nearly 6 minutes and Burgess finally throws a rock and startles the animal, who then runs away.

After realizing he was safe at last, Burgess could barely hold back his relief.

“It was just like it’s over,” he said. “Those six minutes were so long for me.”

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

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