Travis Kauffman has been identified as the man who survived a mountain lion attack, killing the lion with his bare hands on Monday, February 4, according to officials.
On February 14, the official Twitter account for Colorado Parks & Wildlife revealed Kauffman’s identity, along with an in depth video taped interview with Kauffman, which you can see below.
Here’s what you need to know:
Kauffman on His Attack: ‘So Far, I Feel Great’
To the Colorado Parks & Wildlife service, Kauffman explained that he was on a run when the attack took place. He said, “I did my first towers run of the year…so I was running up the hill, finally made it up to the top…and went down a trail through the south…I heard some pine needles rustle behind me, and luckily I was able to actually turn my head.”
He continued, “This time, [it] happened to be a mountain lion, so one of my worst fears was confirmed.” Kauffman explained that his heart “sank into his stomach” when he saw the lion.
Here is Kauffman’s explanation of how he responded:
“I threw my hands up, and started yelling, and when I first turned around the cat was 10 feet away from me, and it just kept approaching, and when it got close it just kind of lunged at me, so I threw my arms up and it latched onto my wrist. So I was just kind of protecting my face…and then it just started clawing along my face, and then my legs, and I was just kind of screaming the whole time, doing my barbarian yell as best I could, and I tried to throw it off of me, and as I [tried], we both left the trail…and kind of tumbled off the slope…and from there it was just a wrestling match. I was able to get my left knee to pin down its back legs, because as a pretty new cat owner I realized that once you get a cat on its back, its back legs go crazy…so I was pretty wary of the back claws hitting my guts or my groin or anything like that, so I was able to pin down its back legs…and then the front paws, I don’t remember what happened with those. I was kind of deflecting them with my left hand, but then I was grabbing at some sticks that were close by, and I was trying to stab it in the throat with some sticks…I was able to pick up a big rock with my left hand, but that was kind of a tough angle because my wrist was still in its mouth…but I was able to hit it in the back of the head a few times…so I used a body weight transition and got my right leg close to my wrist and was able to finally get it on the cats neck. I stepped on the cat’s neck and was finally able to suffocate it.”
Kauffman explained that after the cat released his wrist, he ran back to the trail on a “crazy high of fear” that he might run into another lion.
Kaufman’s Injuries Resulted in Over 20 Stitches in His Face & Wrist, as Well as ‘Several Puncture Wounds’
According to Kauffman’s testimony to the Colorado Parks & Wildlife account, Kauffman said the hospital “pumped him up” with antibiotics, so he wasn’t too concerned about infections, and that the majority of his injuries are a few wounds in his face that have required stitches (the largest being 17 stitches in his cheek.) Kauffman also noted the various “puncture wounds” the lion inflicted on his body, though no gashes or larger wounds.
When asked why he believed there was so much interest in his story, Kauffman replied, “It’s one of those things where it captures the imagination because it’s a modern day man vs. nature scenario…we get a little bit more disconnected as we’ve come through the 21st century, so I think there’s still a degree of aura and mystique around that, that there is certain scenarios where you can still kind of have a really dangerous and potentially deadly experience in nature.”
Authorities Were ‘Amazed’ After Hearing Kauffman’s Story of Survival
To The Denver Post, Rebecca Ferrell, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Parks & Wildlife Department, said, “It’s an amazing story. Everyone is baffled and impressed. He had no weapons, no knives or trekking poles with him. How did he do it? It’s pretty rare. That is definitely a twist on this, I’m sure.”