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“I feel great”: Man who single-handedly killed a mountain lion after trail attack speaks out

by Emma Ockerman
Feb 15 2019, 3:51pm

Travis Kauffman said he moved out to Fort Collins, Colorado, about five years ago because he loves the outdoors and saw the state as having a lot to offer recreationally. And then, when he was enjoying some recreation in the outdoors one day last week, the 31-year-old was attacked by a 50-pound mountain lion.

No worries, though, because he managed to kill the cat after a vicious fight, Kauffman told Colorado Parks and Wildlife. In a videotaped interview with the government agency after the attack at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Kauffman described how he was running on a scenic local trail and heard some rustling, and the mountain lion lunged out at him, latched onto his wrist, and started “clawing along my face, and then my legs, and I was just kind of screaming the whole time.”

As a cat owner, he realized that if he pinned the mountain lion’s back legs, the animal would be a bit more vulnerable. So he did that. Then he tried to stab the cat with some sticks, hit it on the head with a “big rock,” and then stepped on the animal’s neck to suffocate it. That did the trick, although Kauffman said it was “unfortunately” killed. Other trail-goers then took him to the hospital and went and fetched his car.


“My face was just kind of a bloody mess,” Kauffman said. He received 17 stitches across his cheek, 6 stitches on his nose, 2 stitches on his other cheek, and three stitches on his wrist. “I’m about a week out, and I feel great.”

Luckily, the mountain lion was pretty young. The park closed for a few days after the February 4 attack so park rangers could ramp up activity and catch two other young mountain lions, believed to be the siblings of the one that Kauffman killed, according to CBS Denver.

Kauffman stressed he’s glad he didn’t wear headphones on the trail, since that might’ve hindered his ability to hear the mountain lion coming and act quickly. He warned other runners not to listen to music while out on the trail.

“I feel like I should go buy a bunch of lottery tickets,” he said.

Cover: Travis Kauffman responds to questions during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Fort Collins, Colo., about his encounter with a mountain lion while running a trail just west of Fort Collins last week. Kaufman's girlfriend, Annie Bierbower, looks on. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)