(CNN) — Could a music-free run have been the difference between life and death for a Colorado man who made headlines last week by killing a mountain lion with his bare hands?
Travis Kauffman lived to tell about his encounter with a mountain lion at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space in Larimer County.
Kauffman said on Thursday he was not wearing headphones during his run on Feb. 4 – which allowed him to hear the big cat’s approach.
He described his reaction when the mountain lion attacked and how he fought it off.
“It started to claw at my face and neck and that is when kind of my fear response turned into more of a fight response,” he said. “Because I realized how close it was getting to my eyes and it got a claw in my lip.”
He said he and the mountain lion basically began to wrestle down the trail.
“I tried to throw it off of me at that point, and then we took a little tumble down the southside of the trail and down there just kind of had a little wrestling match,” he said. “At which point I was able to get on top of it, pin its back legs so I didn’t get any soft tissue scratched out in my nether regions.”
Kauffman ran three miles through the trail after killing the animal.
Fortunately, he encountered other joggers and one of them gave him a ride to the hospital – where he received 20 stitches for cuts.
Two other mountain lions were found in the same area and removed just a few days after the attack.
Kauffman, 31, admitted, “There was a point where I was concerned I wasn’t going to make it out.”
He did, and now he’s famous. But he’s trying to downplay his new mountain man, survivalist image.
“I will never be able to live up to the reputation. And maybe that’s what has led to some of my reticence for actually coming out,” he said. “The story is bigger than my puny form.”