LOCAL NEWS

Cougar Stalks Man For Six Minutes During Run In Utah Canyon

Oct 12, 2020, 6:05 PM | Updated: 11:27 pm

PROVO, Utah – A Utah County man survived a heart-stopping and incredibly close encounter with a cougar for six minutes, and he captured the entire ordeal on his cell phone.

“Insane! I can’t even explain how I thought this was happening,” said Kyle Burgess, 26, describing the incident that happened Saturday night along Slate Canyon Trail in Provo. “It was cool, exciting and then it’s like what do I do?”

Burgess is a trail runner and enjoys getting up in the mountains. Around 5 p.m. on Saturday, he was about 2 miles from the trailhead coming down the mountain when he saw four cougar cubs. Right after that, he saw their mother come around the corner.

The mountain lion lunged at Burgess, who was about 15 feet away.

Burgess walked backward and began filming the encounter, which lasted six minutes.

The cougar locked eyes with Burgess the whole way. Several times, the deadly animal lunged at Burgess as he tried to pick up a rock or took his eyes off her.

Cougar Stalks Man for 6 Minutes During Run

WATCH: A cougar stalked a man for over 6 minutes during his run through Slate Canyon near Provo. 😱 😱 😱 (@kunkyle | IG)

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Monday, October 12, 2020

“No! Go Away! No!” Burgess could be heard shouting at the animal on the recording after it lunged at him.

“When she lunged in the video is when I either took my eyes off of her or I went to look for a rock,” Burgess told KSL. “I didn’t feel like I was going to lose my life. I definitely thought I was going to get hurt.”

Eventually, Burgess managed to pick up a rock and throw it at the cat, hitting it in the back. The cougar then ran off back towards her cubs.

“Honestly, right now, it still feels like a dream,” said Burgess. “My emotions are a jumbled mess.”

Utah Division of Wildlife Resource officer Scott Root said this tops his list of mountain lion encounters in the 30 years he’s been a DWR officer.

“Oh man you have to just stare at it,” he said about watching the video. “Your heart is racing.”

Root said Burgess did the right thing.

“He stayed large, he stayed loud, and he backed away from the area for quite a while and I think he did everything quite well,” Root said. “We don’t want people to be afraid of going into the outdoors, but just know some of the basic safety tips.”

The DWR website said to do the following if you encounter an aggressive cougar in the wild:

  • Do not run from a cougar. Running will provoke an instinctive prey response and the cougar may pursue you.
  • Make yourself look intimidating. Make eye contact with the cougar, which cougars consider a threat. Make yourself look big by opening your jacket, raising your arms and waving them. Speak loud and firm to the cougar.
  • If you have children, pick them up. Try to pick children up before they panic and run. When you are picking children up, keep eye contact with the cougar and try not to bend over too far or turn your back to the cougar.
  • If you are attacked, fight back! Protect your head and neck, as the neck is the target for the cougar. If the cougar thinks it is not likely to win its fight with you quickly, it will probably give up and leave.

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Cougar Stalks Man For Six Minutes During Run In Utah Canyon