Hiker blasts Metallica tune to ward off stalking cougar

Those who know me well enough know that I’m a connoisseur of life’s finer things. Islay scotch, fine art, entomology, wildlife management, charcuterie - I’ve got my passions.

Metallica frontman James Hetfield (Photo | Ralph Arvesen)

I’ve also been a devout fanboy of hard-rock/thrash-metal band Metallica since the age of five; witnessing the Metal-Gods in concert just about every time they’ve made their way to the Northeast since the late 90’s.

The band has carved out unsurpassed success in the nearly 40 years they’ve been making music - with a catalog that includes pioneering the 1980’s thrash metal scene, jamming with an entire symphony orchestra, bridging the gaps between country, hard-rock, metal, and the mainstream; even coming out with their own whiskey brand.

Its nice to know the ‘Tallica boys can now also double as a predator deterrent if you’re hiking the forested trails of British Columbia, Canada.

45 year-old Dee Gallant was on a hike only a few miles into the South Duncan forest with her dog last week when she discovered she was being followed by a prowling cougar.

After realizing the animal was approaching her, Gallant began to yell and wave her arms in an attempt to scare the animal off. The cougar stopped to observe, but refused to retreat, despite the human presence.

The animal continued to stand its ground until Gallant used her phone to blast the loudest thing she could think of - a blistering Metallica number.

The tune in question - “Don’t Tread On Me” - from the band’s 1991 acclaimed Black Album release.

The predatory growls of frontman James Hetfield’s trademark pitch proved too much for the lesser of the two beasts - sending the cougar scurrying off into Canada’s underbrush.

Gallant told news outlets that she kept the song on rotation for the duration of her hike. "I definitely think Metallica saved the day there, for sure," she said.

The news comes as cougar attacks on Vancouver residents, including a child, have made recent headlines across the country. While wildlife attacks on people across North America are rare, the trend seems to be increasing throughout urban areas where hunting activities are less abundant, or, in many cases, non-existent due to suburban limitations and frivolous restrictions. In many cases, wild animal attacks on people are driven by illness, disease, or starvation; situations where desperation of survival supersedes an animal’s judgement or fear of humans.

Sour 1980’s Metallica fans are likely to contend that the cougar in Dee’s case was merely repelled by the band’s shift to commercial fame in the 1990’s under the production of famed music producer Bob Rock.

Being particularly favorable of the band’s 90’s musical direction myself, I’d surmise that “Of Wolf And Man” - another track from the same album - would have been as equally fitting and powerfully cougar intimidating as anything from the band’s 80’s repertoire.

Playing something from Metallica’s 2011 collaboration album with Lou Reed on the other hand, now that may have warranted a conservation fine for inflicting undue animal abuse on the big cat.

Alas - based on Dee’s account of the incident, I suspect the cougar was more than likely just a passive Ed Sheeran fan.

It just goes to show, not even the insatiable hunger of a wild predator is a contending match for the thunderous vocals of Pappa Het.

Use your imagination with a John “Cougar” Mellencamp reference plugged in here somewhere.

Check out Dee Gallant’s cellphone footage of the ordeal below: