Utah Hiker Captures Tense Encounter with Cougar on Camera: 'I Don't Feel Like Dying Today'
A Utah hiker survived a frightening encounter with a wild cougar — and caught the entire situation on camera.
In a pulse-pounding six-minute video shared to Instagram on Sunday, Kyle Burgess documented the moment he came across a cougar while walking along a trail, first seeing smaller cougar cubs and then the protective mother. Burgess then begins swearing in shock, walking backward as he tries to make intimidating noises to deter the animal.
The cougar continues to stalk him, lunging at times as Burgess shouts "No!"
"Go away. Please go away," he pleads with the cougar as he steps away while recording the large cat with his phone. Later, Burgess is heard saying, "I don't feel like dying today."
Near the end of the clip, the cougar becomes startled after he throws a rock at it and the animal runs away.
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Speaking to Good Morning America, Burgess said the cougar got "within four feet of me." He explained: "I came up on the cubs, obviously that's why I pulled out my phone, to take pictures of the wildlife. Once I realized there was a mountain lion chasing after me ...."
According to guidelines from Wild Aware Utah, the best way to avoid dangerous encounters with cougars is by not hiking alone, and by making noise while out to alert animals that you are there.
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When in a face-off with a cougar, the experts advise to stop and never run away from the animal. Instead, make eye contact, stand tall, and make yourself appear large as you slowly back away, careful not to turn your back.
"Stand up tall. Do not crouch or squat. Make yourself look bigger by raising and waving your arms or jacket above your head," Wild Aware says. "Talk firmly in a loud voice, back away slowly and leave the area."