Earlier this month, a then-unidentified trail runner in Colorado made headlines when he was attacked by and then killed a mountain lion. While rumors had swirled about how exactly the man had killed the big cat, all of them (including the method of strangulation and the idea that the man had experience in BJJ) were unverified, as the man was unidentified at the time.
Now, the individual in question has spoken about the incident in an interview. As it turns out, he had no martial arts experience, and his ability to survive and retaliate was mostly based on his prior knowledge of how to handle large animal attacks and his six months of experience owning a house cat.
Travis Kauffman, 31, says that he heard the mountain lion when it rustled some foliage behind him. When he turned and saw it about ten feet away from him, he started yelling and waving his arms to scare it away. Instead, the cat lunged for him and latched onto his wrist. Kauffman’s attempts to stab the mountain lion with sticks failed, as the sticks had rotted and immediately broke. He managed to pin the cat’s back legs down with his knee, which he had learned was an effective way to manage the thrashing back legs from his experience with house cats.
Kauffman managed to suffocate the cat by switching his base and putting his right knee and then his right foot on its neck until it stopped breathing. After he sought help, park officials went back and found the predator, which had been partially eaten by other animals. They estimated that the cat was only a few months old, and although its state made it hard to determine its exact size, they believe it was between 35-40 lbs and about 4 ft long.
Kauffman required stitches in his face and wrist, but he’s now out of the hospital and recovering with the help of physical therapy.
Watch the whole interview with NBC News below: