A Utah hiker took on a mountain lion and won when the feline predator ambushed him on a trail.
70-year-old Evan Ray Nilsen was on a solo hike in the Diamond Fork area of Spanish Fork Canyon, when he was stalked and attacked by mountain lion.
“[The] mountain lion hit me right on the side, knocked me down the hill,” he told KUTV. “I kind of hunched up or folded up, and it come down around behind me. And I hit it with a rock—just with my hand with a rock—and it took off.”
Despite injuries from the big cat’s claws and whiplash from the impact, Nilsen was able to hobble to his car and drive to a local hospital.
Doctors bandaged up the wounds on his arms and preemptively treated him for tetanus and rabies, but otherwise in good health.
“I’m feeling all right. I’m feeling okay,” he toldA co the outlet. “Just shock. Let me tell you, it was a shock and a half.”
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources searched for the mountain lion, but was unable to locate it.
Conservation manager Steven Root said that attacks by mountain lions were “very rare,” but suggested that hikers stay safe by trail blazing in groups during the day, and carry bear spray for protection.
“We do have mountain lions that may be lower in elevation,” he said. “With all this deep snow, we had all the big game down lower, and so that probably brought a few lions down lower too because of the deep snow.”
“But now they should start working their way right back up the mountain because of the green-up season and the snow’s melting off.”
A Colorado man was recently attacked by a mountain lion when he was sitting in an in-ground hot tub with his wife in their backyard.
He told wildlife officials that he flt something grab his head, then began screaming and thrashing. His wife grabbed a flashlight and shone it on the animal, which stopped the attack.
“We think it’s likely the mountain lion saw the man’s head move in the darkness at ground level but didn’t recognize the people in the hot tub,” said wildlife manager Sean Shepherd.
“The couple did the right thing by making noise and shining a light on the lion.”
Fortunately, the man only suffered scratches on is head that were minor enough to decline medical assistance.
Wildlife authorities were unable to locate the lion.