Elk Hunter Who Fought Mountain Lion With Pocketknife, Rocks Wishes He Brought A Gun
OutdoorHub Reporters 08.19.19
A Colorado man who was able to thwart a mountain lion attack using a pocketknife and a handful of rocks is thankful his run-in with the predatory cat didn’t turn out any worse than it did.
Richard Marriott was on his way back to his truck after spending the evening in the mountains scouting for elk near Kremmling, Colorado. The sun had just set and it was dark while he made his way down the trail, and that’s when he heard something behind him.
“It was kind of weird because I had an eerie feeling that night,” he told Sky-Hi News.
Guided by the light of his headlamp and a bright moon, he continued down the path until something froze him in his tracks.
“At fist, I thought it was just a deer I had kicked up,” he said.
However, Marriott soon figured out whatever it was that was making the sounds, was also following him, and it was no deer. Marriott said he turned around completely in the middle of the trail, and saw the mountain lion weaving through the trees behind him.
“At that point, I’m going, ‘Oh crap, is this really happening,'” he said. “All I had on me was a little pocketknife,” he said, adding that the knife’s blade is small and has “virtually no point.”
The large cat stalked Marriott for roughly 150 to 200 yards, and he said its eyes were fixed on him the whole way back.
Marriott recalls the moment he almost made a fatal mistake, tripping over a log and falling to the ground. He thought surely this would trigger the animal’s hunting instincts, but luckily it just “came up and just kind of swiped my leg.” “In all honesty, I think it was curious,” he continued.
Nonetheless, Marriott knew he had to defend himself, so he began slashing the mountain lion in the face with his knife.
“I didn’t really hit it that great, but I got it enough the cat knew I wasn’t going to lay there and have him devour me,” Marriott said.
The exchange opened up some room for Marriott to get some space between him and the cat, so he grabbed some rocks off the ground and started chucking them at the lion as it got back on its feet. This continued down the trail for another one-hundred yards, until Marriott said he connected with a large rock on the lion’s head and finally scared it off.
Apparently, some folks nearby had heard the commotion up on the mountain, dialed 911 and Marriott was met with authorities at the bottom of the trail.
Marriott told wildlife officers he believed the animal was more curious than anything else, but because it showed aggressive behavior towards a human, officers said it had to be put down.
Mike Porras, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Marriott “absolutely” did the right thing trying to defend himself with the knife, rather than attempting to out run the animal.
“I think I would have been able to give it a warning shot and hopefully it would have ran off,” Porras said. “That’s what I kind of take from all of this. When I go into the field now, I need to make sure I have my sidearm.”
Marriott said he’s happy nobody else will get hurt by that particular mountain lion, but he wishes he had brought his handgun with him because the whole encounter probably would have gone very differently.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife lists some advice on their website on what to do if you see a mountain lion in the field, including stay calm, make yourself look as big as possible and “throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back.”