FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A trail-runner who killed a cougar with his bare hands in self-defense has come forward to tell his tale.
On February 4, 31-year-old Travis Kauffman was running on West Ridge Trail in Larimer County, Colorado. Suddenly, a juvenile cougar jumped attacked him, biting his face and wrist. During the struggle, Kauffman was able to gain the upper hand and kill the mountain lion.
Immediately after the incident, Kauffman’s identity was kept confidential. However, on February 12, his identity was revealed along with an extensive interview provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
In the interview, Kauffman explains he started trail running about a year ago. The day of the attack, he planned to run about 12 miles.
At one point in the run, Kauffman turned around when he heard a noise in the brush. “One of my worst fears was confirmed,” he said. He was staring down a cougar.
The cougar lunged, latching onto Kauffman’s wrist and clawing at his face. “I was kind of screaming the whole time,” he said, “doing my Barbarian yell as best I could.”
During the struggle, Kauffman said he was able to take the cougar to the ground, holding its rear legs down with his knee. “The front paws… I don’t remember what happened with those.”
According to Kauffman, at first, he tried stabbing the cougar in the throat with some sticks. When that didn’t work, he picked up a big rock. However, the angle wasn’t ideal and he couldn’t get a full swing in.
Eventually, Kauffman used what he called a “body weight transition” to get his leg close to his wrist, where the cat was still latched on. Kauffman was able to put his weight on the cougar’s neck, suffocating it.
Eventually, Kauffman left the dead mountain lion behind and made it back to civilization.
“I think it’s just one of those really weird, sensational stories,” he commented. “It’s super rare. I feel like I should go buy a bunch of lottery tickets.”
Kauffman appears to be making his way to a full recovery and is in good spirits, humorously commenting during a press conference, “By a show of hands, how many people are disappointed that I’m not Chuck Norris?”
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