Cache Valley man fends off cougar attack with snowboard

Feb 7, 2024, 6:41 PM | Updated: Feb 8, 2024, 8:27 am

GARDEN CITY, Rich County — A Cache Valley snowboarder says he came face to face with a mountain lion and ended up in a fight for his life.

There’s the well-known guideline that you’re typically much safer inbounds than out.

This story is one example of why.

“A little less than halfway through, I started to see some fresh paw prints,” Charlie Duffy said.

He started to hike off the beaten path Sunday, just outside of Beaver Mountain. “And that just got me, you know, on edge. Aware of my surroundings, just constantly looking around,” Duffy said.

That awareness may have saved him. Just minutes later it happened.

Charlie Duffy shows the snowboard he used

Charlie Duffy shows the snowboard he used to fend off a mountain lion Sunday on Beaver Mountain. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“I looked over my left shoulder and, you know, five or six feet behind me, about three or four feet up I saw a mountain lion,” he added.

The lion pounced. Duffy swung at it with his snowboard in self-defense.

“And it kind of got me on the neck when it was pouncing. Just a tiny bit – just grazed it. Nothing piercing the skin,” Duffy explained.

The lion also caught his jacket arm. “It kind of got it, ripped it up a good bit,” he said.

close up of Charlie's jacket

Charlie Duffy shows the holes in his jacket left after the mountain lion swiped at him. (Mike Anderson KSL TV)

Duffy said the cat wasn’t done. It came at him again.

“Just took my board and was just protecting its mouth, just not letting the mouth get to me and just push it back,” he explained.

Duffy eventually got some distance and ran off. He eventually rode his snowboard down the mountain.

He said the cat was about seven feet long, but it didn’t look well.

“You know, you could see its bones,” he continued. “It looked very sickly. I got very lucky.”

Duff wants people to know one thing. He said things could have turned out very differently if he had not been out there alone.

“Assume if I was with one or two other people the cat wouldn’t have even tried it,” he said.

He advised others to take the right gear and people.

“That’s the risks you take when you go out of bounds, is that stuff like that can happen.”

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Cache Valley man fends off cougar attack with snowboard