Reporting Maria Medina
BUTTE COUNTY (CBS13) - A 69-year-old local man says he has been hiking for decades. But on one recent outing along the Feather River in Butte County, a mountain lion pounced on him and knocked him to the ground. He survived the incident, he says, all thanks to a very unlikely hero.
Bob was hiking near the river when he saw a bear that he’d seen twice before. And he says that was exactly the key to his survival that day: the bear knew exactly who he was.
“And I said to myself, “Well, I better not go down there. I better leave them alone,’” said Bob.
Bob says he made eye contact with the mother bear but decided to walk away when he spotted her yearling and newborn.
“So I turned around to go on down stream,” he said.
What Bob didn’t see, he says, was the mountain lion stalking the bears.
“I got in between it and the cub. When I turned around I think it might have thought I was coming after it,” he said.
Suddenly, he became the lion’s new target, and the 100-pound animal gave Bob no time to react.
“And I got hit from behind and knocked me to my knees,” said Bob. “This mountain lion grabs me from the left side of the rear and climbs up on my back and just starts shaking.”
With the mountain lion’s paws firmly gripped onto his backpack, Bob says he took the rock pick in his hand and started fighting for his life.
“And I come around and come swinging, hit it in the side of the head and it screams,” said Bob.
Still, Bob says the mountain lion didn’t budge. So he took another swing.
“And as I’m coming around I see something coming from the left and it was the bear grabbing the throat of the mountain lion and it just shook it,” said Bob.
That mother bear he’d just seen ripped the mountain lion off him and even fought with it for a few seconds before the cat was able to get away.
“The bear just kind of calmly got down on the ground and went back down to the beach, “ said Bob.
“I wanted to know what the heck happened,” said Bob’s wife, Suzanne Biggs.
Bob came home and told his wife what happened. It was hard to believe, but he showed her the bruises to prove it.
“I couldn’t believe it myself, hardly,” said Suzanne.
And to those who feel the same way, they believe the mother bear protected a man she’s gotten to know over the months. He’s hiked the area for nearly 60 years.
“It’s just another day in the woods,” said Bob.
If you’re not already amazed by Bob, he said he went back to the Feather River to look for the mountain lion because he was concerned it was hurt.