An alarming video that went viral in 2020 is making the rounds again about a young hunter’s life-or-death encounter with a mountain lion in Colorado. In the video, she does everything she can to frighten the mountain lion before ultimately being forced to shoot it.
A section of the video is audio-only after the hunter, Mackenzie, drops her camera to shoulder her rifle. She then goes on to provide context for the encounter and tell the story of what happened on that very uncertain day.
She and her father had been tracking deer and elk separately near Gunnison, Colorado when she looked up and saw the mountain lion on some fallen trees just a few yards away. She said it was close enough to see the color of its eyes.
“I’ve always loved big cats my whole life, but I never thought that I would run into a mountain lion,” she said. “They’re so elusive, and rare, and typically afraid of people.”
“Of course, I thought ‘I need to get this on camera,'” she continued, “so I pulled out my phone, got a picture, and started the video.”
Instead of running away, the mountain lion hissed and stayed still. She tried to make noises, yell, and scare the mountain lion by waving her arms, but it didn’t react.
Doubling down, she began to shout at it louder, and charged the cat. She thought she had successfully startled it, but in the commotion, realized that the mountain lion was closing the gap between them.
At that point, she decided to drop her phone, back away, and get behind her rifle as quickly as she could.
“Thank goodness the mountain lion decided to stop on the last downed tree,” she said. “Survival mode just kinda kicked in for me. I realized I couldn’t keep moving away because I didn’t want to trigger a chase response from the mountain lion.”
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Both she and the mountain lion stood their ground, but the big cat slowly moved into a pouncing position, forcing each of them to make a decision. Before the mountain lion could make a final attack, she shot it.
The mountain lion fled and Mackenzie found her father and the two reported the incident to wildlife officials. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the mountain lion died shortly after.
“I’m very sad about that,” she said. “I wanted it to keep living, that’s why I tried so hard to scare it away.”
“From the moment that I saw the mountain lion, I started quietly praying, just asking God for protection, and I really do feel that He was right there with me for the whole thing,” she said. “Just grateful that everything kinda turned out okay in the end. Still just sad for the mountain lion.”