Carlson had only a pocket knife, but luckily as he approached the animal mauling his son, the mountain lion let go.
“That parental instinct to protect your child kind of kicks in,” Carlson told KUSA-TV. “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.”
When Carlson grabbed his son, the boy’s entire face was bleeding, with his scalp opened in several places, Carlson said.
“It was something that no parent should ever see,” he told KUSA-TV.
Pike’s skull, jaw and orbital bone were cracked, and the boy needed more than 60 staples, KMGH-TV reported. He also is to have surgery on his eyelid.
The mountain lion that attacked Pike was euthanized a day later, state wildlife officials said. The animal and another mountain lion were spotted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials after they killed a domestic goat, the agency said. DNA testing later confirmed it was the same mountain lion that attacked the boy.
According to KDVR-TV, there have been 22 mountain lion attacks on people in Colorado since 1990, three of which were fatal.
As for Pike, he is in good spirits after the horrific encounter.
“The mountain lion is a cheater,” he told KUSA-TV. “No one try to wrestle a mountain lion. It is a cheater.”