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After Seeing This, He's Thankful for Dull Pocketknife

Colorado's Richard Marriott escapes cougar attack with a scratch
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2019 7:41 AM CDT
This 2015 file photo shows an adult male mountain lion.   (National Park Service via AP)

(Newser) – A hunter has survived a cougar attack in Colorado by stabbing the animal in the face. Richard Marriott of Evergreen was returning from an elk scouting expedition in Kremmling's Big Horn Park—the site of a week-old cougar sighting—when the young adult male appeared after dusk on Aug. 10, reports Sky-Hi News. Marriott, on a trail just a quarter-mile from his vehicle, says he walked backwards for 200 yards as the cougar stalked him, swerving between trees. "At that point, I'm going, 'Oh crap, is this really happening,'" the hunter tells the outlet. Then he tripped and fell. It was at that moment that Marriott regretted not bringing along his pistol. He says he had only "a little pocketknife" with "virtually no point"—but it did the job. Marriott took a swipe with his knife, hitting the curious animal in the face, as it "swiped my leg."

It was enough that "the cat knew I wasn't going to lay there and have him devour me," continues Marriott, who also hit the animal in the head with a thrown rock. "I'm lucky it didn't get a lot worse," he adds, noting he was barely grazed by a single claw. The next morning, officials working with hounds found the cougar about 100 yards from the site of the attack. Mike Porras of Colorado Parks and Wildlife says the animal was so aggressive it actually fought with the hounds rather than run away. It was subsequently put down. A necropsy showed the male was in good health but likely hungry, with only grass in its stomach. Porras now hopes to use the case to teach others how to react in similar situations. He says Marriott did everything right, particularly in facing the animal while slowly backing away, as sudden movements may provoke an attack. (Read more cougar stories.)

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