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Utah Hiker Gets Stalked by Cougar For 6 Minutes and Films Everything

Utah hiker stalked by cougar

Hikes are meant to get your heart racing, but for Kyle Burgess the reason for his pounding heartbeat wasn’t the cardio (as terrifying as that can be.) Instead, this Utah hiker could blame the fact that he was stalked by a cougar – for a whole 6 minutes. Not only that, he caught everything on camera.

However, not to downplay Kyle’s very justified fear, experts allege that he actually wasn’t in grave danger – let’s find out why.

Utah hiker stalked by cougar
©ABC7 – YouTube

Utah’s Cougar Population

Utah, with its expansive 36,000 square miles of habitat, is home to a cougar population currently estimated at around 1,600 animals.

Sadly, though, this number may be on the decline due to increased trophy hunting and habitat loss​​​​. Consequently, recent legislation allowing year-round hunting and trapping of mountain lions has been highly criticized. So, although we might fear these predators, they have much more reason to fear us.

What to Do If You Come Face to Face with a Cougar

In the event of a cougar encounter, experts advise to stop immediately and not to run away. In fact, how the Utah hiker acts in the video is a great example of how to handle the situation.

Maintaining eye contact, standing tall, and making oneself appear larger by raising arms or a jacket above the head are recommended. Speaking loudly and firmly, backing away slowly, and not crouching or squatting are also important.

Running away or showing fear can trigger a cougar’s instinct to chase. The key is to convince the cougar that you are not prey but a potential threat.

Utah Hiker Stalked By Cougar: The 6-Minute Long Footage

YouTube video

Prior to the video captured by Kyle Burgess, a 26-year-old man from Utah, he comes across four cougar cubs while trail running. He soon finds himself being stalked by their mother for over six minutes.

The tense footage shows Burgess backing away, trying to scare the cougar off by yelling and making himself appear larger. At last, the nail-biting situation ends when he throws a rock at the cougar, causing it to retreat​​.

Experts Say That He Wasn’t Really in Any Danger

Despite the apparent danger, experts suggest that the cougar was not attacking but rather trying to escort him away from her beloved cubs. Wildlife experts also underline that if she truly had been intending to attack him, she wouldn’t have come into sight until right before the attack.

The cougar’s behavior in the video, involving mock charges and vocalizations, aligns more with a warning or a scare tactic rather than an intent to harm.

Are Cougar Attacks Common?

Cougar attacks are relatively rare. In North America, there have been a total of 126 attacks, 27 of which were fatal. This might sound like a lot, but bear in mind that this is over the span of 100 years.

Cougar attacks are far less common than fatalities from snake bites, lightning strikes, or bee stings. On average, there are about 4 to 6 cougar attacks per year in Canada and the United States​​​​​​.

Utah Hiker Stalked by Cougar: Conclusion

cougars
@National Park Service

The encounter in Utah serves as a powerful reminder of the wildness that surrounds us. How this Utah hiker acted is a great example of how to handle an interaction with a cougar. Remember, they have far greater reason to fear us than vice versa!

Thank you for reading this story about the Utah hiker who was stalked by a cougar! For more cougar stories, take a look at these posts:

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