BAILEY, Colo. (KUSA) – When a 65-pound mountain lion attacked 8-year-old Pike Carlson in the back yard of his Colorado home, he knew he had to fight back.
“I was just punching, trying to grab anything that I can, like a stick,” Pike said. “I did find a stick and I tried to get it in the eye but soon the stick snapped.”
Pike was playing with his older brother Gage when the attack happened August 21. The Carlson family lives in a rural, mountainous area near Bailey, but they said they had never seen a mountain lion around their home before.
As the older brother ran into the home to tell his parents what happened, the boy’s dad, Ron Carlson, ran out to help.
“That parental instinct to protect your child kind of kicks in,” Ron Carlson said. “It never even entered my head that I was about to tangle with something that could kill me. All you know is you have to do something. It doesn’t matter what happens to you, you’ve got to protect your children.”
The mountain lion had grabbed Pike by the head and dragged him under a tree. As Pike tried to yell for help, he also tried to fight it off.
“He told me ‘Dad, all animals have a vulnerable spot, their eyeballs,'” Ron Carlson said. “So he picked up a stick that was underneath the tree and was reaching back trying to poke it in the eye.”
The lion let go of the child and ran off as Ron Carlson got to them.
From that point, the focus was on saving Pike Carlson’s life. The family drove him to the closest fire station. From there, paramedics took him to the hospital.
After two surgeries and dozens of stitches and staples, the boy is now home. He may need more surgery to fix his eyelid.
Pike is passing on a lesson he learned from the experience.
“No one try to wrestle a mountain lion,” he said. “It is a cheater.”
The family has a Go Fund Me account to help with medical bills.