DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver man says his dog will be on a leash on all mountain hikes moving forward after a scary encounter with a mountain lion in the Mount Evans Wilderness on Sunday.
Cary Leppert says he was enjoying a typical Colorado weekend with a friend and his dog Tieg.
Leppert is an avid hiker who has tacked about half of Colorado’s fourteeners, and his Labradoodle is usually with him. But the morning hike near Bailey was anything but typical.
“All of a sudden I hear a scream and instantaneously I knew it was mountain lion,” Leppert said. “It was a roar — really loud like a scream. And in front of him I see Tieg darting through the trees and they were like within three feet of each other. He was just full of speed.”
Leppert began yelling for Tieg. That’s when the mountain lion, which he estimates weighed more than 150 pounds, stopped and crouched.
“The only thing on my mind is, I have to get the shot — I’ve got to get a picture,” Leppert said.
“Not your safety?” CBS4’s Jennifer Brice asked Leppert.
“Not safety. That didn’t really even cross (my mind) … he was crouched down and he would hiss.”
As Leppert snapped pictures and took video for the next 10 minutes the mountain lion didn’t budge.
“At any point were you scared?” Brice asked.
“No, not really,” Leppert said.
So the two hikers and the dog left, but it all sunk in later that night.
“It just really hit me, I was almost shaking on Sunday night thinking that I could have lost Tieg. Two feet and he would have been dead … I could have ran up there and gotten killed,” he said.
His advice to other hikers who hike with their animals is keep your dogs close.