Watch: Mountain Lion Chases Man Down Utah Trail

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

The cougar followed the man for approximately five minutes

A Salt Lake City man was running on a trail in Utah’s Big Cottonwood Canyon when he got the scare of his lifetime.

Jared Smith told FOX 13 he was on Broads Fork Trail when a mountain lion appeared and began following closely behind him.

"I was running back down the trail and was probably about a mile from getting back to the parking lot when I heard something off to the side of the trail," he said. "[I] looked and there was a cougar probably 15-20 feet away from me… Definitely startled me."

Remembering advice from wildlife experts, Smith said he tried to remain calm and appear bigger as he backed away from the agitated feline. He also decided to film the encounter with his cell phone. You can watch the full video here

"He basically followed all the recommendations that we give... Make yourself big, use a loud voice, maintain eye contact and back away slowly," said Faith Heaton Jolley with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. "That's exactly what we tell people to do because if they turn and run, sometimes it can trigger that prey, chase instinct that cougars have."

But, the mountain lion continued to follow him.

"Periodically, the cougar would pounce and was baring its teeth and kick its legs and its tail up, almost like a little sprint right at me," Smith said. "If you watch the full video, you can see my voice kind of crack at those points in time because it scared me."

In the video, you can hear Smith repeatedly saying, "I'm going away, I promise I'm not going to bug you," as the cougar continued to follow and hiss at him.

In a Facebook post, Smith says he thinks the mountain lion’s cubs were nearby.

"Honestly for me the thing that’s most important to me is my family and I have a wife and a child and thinking I need to make sure I make it home from this," Smith said. "I know cougar attacks are very uncommon but I believe in this situation she was probably protecting her cubs so I know they’ll do just about anything to keep their cubs safe."

Smith says the mountain lion followed him for approximately five minutes.

"It was about five minutes into the encounter that she just veered off to the side of the trail and I continued to back up for another minute or two, continuing to talk because I couldn’t see where she went off to," he said. "After a couple of minutes of doing that, once I felt like she was no longer close to me, I started running down the trail trying to distance myself as much as I could."

Smith said he is rattled from the encounter, but otherwise is fine.

"This definitely shook me more than the hundreds of hours I’ve spent hiking and climbing and other outdoor experiences, just because of the prolonged nature of it," he said.

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