KREMMLING, Colo. – It's been a bad month for big cats doing what big cats do in Colorado.
Consider first the man who was being followed by a mountain lion in the rumple of ridges between Winter Park and Steamboat Springs.
Richard Marriott told the Sky Hi News that he had watched the sun go down and then was making his way toward his weekend cabin. It was getting dark, and he had an eerie feeling. "It's just funny how your instinct comes into play," he said.
Walking under a bright moon, he heard something rustling in the forest behind him. He thought it was a deer. But the noises continued. As he turned around, he saw a mountain lion. "Oh crap, this is really happening," he thought.
The cat didn't attack, and Marriott backed up, keeping his eyes fixed on the lion. Tripped on a log, he thought the mountain lion would surely pounce. "But luckily, it came up and just kind of swiped my leg," he told the Sky Hi News. "In all honesty, I think it was curious."
But as it did, he jabbed at the lion with his pocketknife, enough to draw blood. The mountain lion continued to back him down the trail, and Marriot said he screamed, attracting attention of neighbours, who ran off the lion.
The next morning wildlife officers with dogs tracked down the mountain lion and shot it.
In the foothills southwest of Denver, another mountain lion made a mistake. A boy was running from a trampoline to a house and was attacked by a young mountain lion. The father of the boy ran off the lion, which was later killed.
Mountain lions have attacked three people in Colorado this year, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. There have been 22 attacks since 1990, with three resulting in deaths.