Terrifying moment hiker is stalked by ferocious COUGAR for five minutes as he 'prayed he'd see wife and kids again'
THIS is the terrifying moment a hiker is stalked by a mountain cougar as he feared he wouldn’t return home to his wife and kids.
Jared Smith was walking along the Broads Fork Trail in Utah when the wild cat appeared and followed him for around five minutes.
As he captured the terrifying footage, Jared said that he was thinking about his family.
Video shows the panicked hiker repeatedly telling the cougar: "I’m going away. I’m not going to bug you."
The predator, who is about 20-30 feet away, continues to prowl towards the hiker.
Jared once again tells the cougar that he’s moving away and that he won’t harm the animal.
Then, the cougar appears to speed up as she heads towards the hiker.
Jared, who is clearly startled, repeats: “I’m going away, I’m going away."
Recalling the moment, he told Fox13: “Honestly for me, the thing that’s most important to me is my family and I have a wife and child and thinking I need to make sure I make it home from this.”
After five minutes, the cougar veered off to the side of the trail and he managed to get back to his vehicle.
Jared thinks the female wild cat was trying to protect her cubs.
He said he was shaken by the terrifying experience but has not been deterred from hiking.
He said: "This definitely shook me more than the hundreds of hours I’ve spent hiking and climbing and other outdoor experiences just because of the prolonged nature of it."
What is a cougar?
Cougars are large wild cats that are native to North America, a small region of Florida and South America.
Adult males tend to weigh up to 200 pounds while females weigh up to 120 pounds.
They prey on deer but also feed on smaller animals such as livestock and insects.
The predators are excellent climbers and can jump over 6 meters (20 feet).
Females can give birth to 2-3 kittens at a time and cubs tend to leave their mother at the age of two.
In the wild, cougars have a life expectancy of around 10 years but in captivity, they can live to as long as 20.
It is not the first time a hiker has been pursued along a walking trail in Utah.
Kyle Burgess, 26, posted the full video of his encounter, which took place in the Slate Canyon Trail near Provo last October.
He initially approached a set of cougar cubs that he thought were bobcats, only then to come face-to-face with their enranged mother.
He told Fox13 at the time: "Once I did realize what they were, I was like, that's mom right there. I'm screwed.”
As he walked backwards, Kyle swore and yelled at the big cat.
Fatal attacks by cougars on humans are rare, but a mountain biker was killed near Seattle in 2018.
About 25 people have died in cougar attacks in the past century.
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