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GIANT DISCLAIMER: DON’T WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW OR READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON’T LIKE WATCHING REALLY HARROWING LIFE OR DEATH NATURE VIDEOS, DEER GETTING KILLED BY COUGARS, OR CUSSING, OR THINKING ABOUT HARROWING LIFE OR DEATH SCENARIOS, THE POSSIBILITY OF GETTING KILLED BY A COUGAR, OR CUSSING. THANK YOU! THE BIG SOMETHING
Anyone who lives in the Pikes Peak region and spends any time hiking, biking or running in the backcountry has certainly thought about the very, VERY remote possibility of being attacked by a mountain lion/cougar/puma. Please keep in mind that, as this website points out:
* In California, from 1986 through 1998, exactly two people died from mountain lion attacks, whereas in one year alone, over 4,000 people died in traffic accidents, including 800 pedestrians. This means that your car or someone else’s car is 2,000 times more likely to kill you than is a mountain lion. (A Detailed Calculation gives the ratio as between 1,150 and 4,300.)
* Over 300 people have been killed by domestic dogs in the U.S. between 1979 and the late 1990s. This means that your family dog or your neighbor’s dog is ten times more likely to kill you than is a mountain lion and hundreds of time more likely than is a coyote.
That said, dying in the jaws of a mountain lion does hold a slightly more terrifying grip on the imagination (and neck) than the jaws of life or the jaws of Snoopy, which is to say fear is often more powerful than facts! (BTW, if you want to indulge your horror fantasies, here’s a page that lists cougar deaths in Colorado through 2001 and here’s a description of a more recent attack in Boulder).
And sometimes there are very good reasons to be afraid, such as this moment in August 2008 captured on video by local hiker Jen Kulier, who wrote to us to describe how she and her friends captured this video in the Crags on the backside of Pikes Peak:
Some friends (Mark Lee, Keith Emmons, Jackson Solway) and I were getting an early start to summit Pikes Peak from the Crags last August. We were driving up the road to the trailhead at about 6 am. I was riding shotgun and holding a video camera, because we planned to film some of our hike. Just before we got to the Mennonite Camp, a deer walked into the road and stopped, so I started filming the deer. At the same time the camera started filming, the mountain lion jumped out from the trees on the side of the road and attacked the deer.
See for yourself (“YouTube here we come!” Indeed!):
(Thanks to Joey Ernst for the tip and to you, as always, for your great comments and feedback! firstname.lastname@example.org)