A Utah man found himself in a nightmare scenario on a recent hike near his home. Kyle Burgess was stalked down a gravel path for six minutes by a mountain lion after he accidentally got too close to its cubs.
Burgess captured the entire encounter on his phone, which he had taken out to record the mountain lion cubs he thought were bobcats. He told Buzzfeed News that he quickly realized his mistake.
“After I took the first couple of steps, that’s when the mama saw me. And I realized these are not bobcats; these are baby cougars,” he said. “And mama did not like that.”
Burgess backed away from the cubs but that was not enough to please the mountain lion. She followed him away in spite of Burgess’ best efforts to scare her off. He made himself large and shouted while backing up, but the cougar pursued.
“I was the one who was obviously in the wrong because I was close to her baby cubs,” he said. “I had to get away from those cubs, so that’s why I started backing up as much as I could.”
Several times he tried to reach down for a rock to throw, which caused the mountain lion to charge forward at the sign of vulnerability. Eventually, he was able to get his hands on a rock and use it to frighten away the mother. The resulting video, which he shared on social media, has been viewed millions of times.
In spite of the terrifying incident, Burgess holds no ill will toward the cougar.
“If she wanted to take me out, I would have been taken out,” he said. “I knew that since she didn’t already attack, she was just protecting her cubs.”