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Hiker stalked by cougar says Metallica song helped her escape

For The Win logo For The Win 8/1/2019 Pete Thomas
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A hiker in British Columbia, Canada, credits the heavy-metal band Metallica for helping her prevail in a scary confrontation with a cougar Tuesday on Vancouver Island.

Dee Gallant exercised appropriate safety measures after realizing she and her husky, Murphy, were being stalked. She stood her ground, waved her arms, and began to yell at the cat.

Remarkably, Gallant captured much of the encounter on video with her phone. Viewers can see the cougar 50 feet up the trail, slightly crouched and still, its menacing gaze fixed on Gallant and her dog.

"Get outta here - go on!" she yells, to no avail. "Bad kitty. Bad kitty!"

Gallant told For the Win Outdoors that the wind was "blowing the wrong way" and Murphy did not smell or notice the cat initially.

a large brown bear standing on top of a rock: Generic cougar image via Wikimedia Commons © File Photo Generic cougar image via Wikimedia Commons

"He was busy looking down [the trail] for bunnies," Gallant said. "When I started reprimanding the kitty, he was looking around for who I was talking to."

Gallant, an avid hiker who understands cougar behavior, began to realize that she was in a harrowing predicament.

She told Kelowna Now that the cougar "was crouched down, doing that kind of prowl, predator walk they do - that was when I waved my arms and yelled, 'Hey, you stop!' And it did."

a woman holding a dog posing for the camera: Dee Gallant and her husky, Murphy. Photo courtesy of Dee Gallant © File Photo Dee Gallant and her husky, Murphy. Photo courtesy of Dee Gallant

Dee Gallant and her husky, Murphy. Photo courtesy of Dee Gallant

But it refused to back off. "It just stayed locked on me and seemed really interested, so that's when I decided to stop recording and try to do something else."

In a stroke of brilliance, Gallant searched her playlist and clicked on Metallica's song, " Don't Tread on Me."

"I thought it was the noisiest thing on my phone that would probably scare it, that was also the message I wanted to convey to the cougar," she said. "As soon as the first notes blared out it ran into the bush."

She and Murphy safely advanced home and, when interviewed by Kelowna Now, she said jokingly of Metallica, "I would love to contact them someday and tell [band co-founder] James Hetfield that he saved my life."


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