When Dee Gallant, a forestry worker from Vancouver, saw the mountain lion stalking her tracks she had to think fast to fend off the hungry cat.

The 45-year-old was out walking her husky retriever Murphy a little later than usual, after a busy day.

"It was already dusk when I started, but I thought I'd go anyway, because Murphy needed his walk," she told Outside Magazine.

The hiker said she had been "caught short" and was returning back to the trail after looking for a spot to pee, when she felt she was not alone. There, to her right was a large "rusty brown" mountain lion or "cougar".


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"My first thought after seeing the cat was, This is so awesome. My second thought was, It's coming toward me. This is not awesome," she said.

Fumbling with her phone she tried to take a picture. She was so alarmed, she hadn't noticed it was set to video. Hissing at the cat and telling it to "get out of here," she eventually uploaded the video to YouTube.

"Bad kitty!"

Standing on the track, aware it had been detected, the big cat freezes. It almost doesn't look real until the cat moves just a fraction.

"It didn't go away. It locked eyes and stayed there with me for probably five minutes, but it seemed like an eternity."

Yelling challenges at the lion it didn't seem to be giving up, creeping ever closer.
"I'm a pretty tough, Harley-riding kind of girl. I do kickboxing. I knew I'd get hurt if I had to fight it, but I wasn't going to just give up."

As the lion crept up on Gallant she realised that she would have to try something different.


Seeing her phone music library on the screen she came up with a plan to get rid of the hungry lion.

All the time she says her dog Murphy seemed oblivious to the big cat, which was following them from downwind.

She scrolled through looking for a song with a "punch-in-the-face kind of start." Passing Norah Jones and Jack Johnson, she decided that this was not the correct sound track for mortal combat with a cougar.

"Then I saw "Don't Tread on Me" by Metallica. That was perfect, just what I wanted. I turned my volume all the way up and hit play."

It had the desired effect.

Scaredy cat: Tjhe mountain lion was stalking the lone hiker through the woods. Photo / Priscilla du Preez, Unsplash
Scaredy cat: Tjhe mountain lion was stalking the lone hiker through the woods. Photo / Priscilla du Preez, Unsplash

"After being so fixated on me and looking so confident, the cat just turned and bolted into the bush as soon as it heard the music."

The cat was clearly not a fan. It was only when it bolted for the bush that Gallant saw how large it was.

"I didn't know how large it was until it turned sideways—it was a lot bigger than I thought. I wouldn't be able to take that kitty," she told Outside Magazine.

Having lived to tell her tale, and with a video of the metal-hating cat she had faced down in the woods Gallant's story found viral fame. However, the biggest surprise was what happened after returning from her walk in the woods.

About a week after the incident, gallant described having a phone call at work from an unknown number.

"I almost fell off my chair," she said. Which would have been a fair response, for on the other end was James Hetfield – lead vocalist of Metallica – a man whose voice apparently strikes fear into mountain lions.

The band's artist-liaison service had gotten wind of her story and they had reached out to her.

She said it was a memorable conversation and she got to discuss the incident and shared interests with her hero.

"We talked about what happened, dogs, and the places we live."

Gallant says she is resolved to never go walking in the woods without a heavy metal album cued up to frighten off hungry lions. Though, she says it doesn't have to be Metallica. Perhaps Def Leopard would do?

"I'm Just glad to be alive," she said.

Mountain lions or cougars are found throughout the mountainous spine of the Americas, from Canada to Chile and have been known to attack hikers and cyclists. They can grow to be 100kg and have no natural predators.

Last year there were two deaths from attacks by the cats in US parks.

At the beginning of the year trail runner Travis Kauffman shared his dramatic story of survival with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, telling how he was forced was forced into a fight to the death with a lion on a run in the woods.