A Canadian Hiker Played A Metallica Song To Scare Off A Wild Cougar — And It Worked

A still of Metallica frontman James Hetfield performing live at a concert
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Metallica’s music is often associated with darkness and death, but a Canadian woman is claiming that the music of the iconic heavy metal band saved her and her dog from a ravenous cougar.

The Independent reports that Dee Gallant and her dog, Murphy, were hiking through the wilderness of Vancouver Island in British Columbia last week when they encountered the wild beast.

As they were hiking through the woods, Gallant noticed that she and Murphy were being stalked by the cougar further up the trail. When she eventually noticed that the deadly cat was heading towards them and her cries for it to back off weren’t registering, she was forced to think outside of the box.

Just as the cougar was preparing to attack them, something amazing happened. In a last-ditch effort to save their lives, Gallant whipped out her cellphone, played Metallica’s “Don’t Tread On Me,” and cranked up the volume.

Recalling the story to KelownaNow, she said the music terrified the cougar, causing it to run away as a result.

“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. As soon as the first notes blared out it ran into the bush.”

Despite how horrific the situation must have been for Gallant, she’s taken the experience in stride. The hiker now hopes that the terrifying ordeal can put her in contact with the band so that she can thank them for their help.

“I would love to contact them someday and tell James Hetfield that he saved my life.”

She couldn’t have chosen a more fitting song for the showdown, either. The thrashing riffs are intimidating in their own right, but the meaning behind the lyrics pertains to standing up for oneself in the face of conflict. In the past, the track has been misinterpreted as pro-war, but it’s all about self-empowerment.

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The band members have yet to respond to the story, but they’ve been keeping to themselves since their last album, Death Magnetic, stormed the charts in 2016.

In the event that anyone else comes face-to-face with a cougar, Wildsafe BC recommends that people keep calm, back away slowly, and never under any circumstances turn their back on the animal.

While they’re known to typically prey on deer, rabbit, and other animals, their carnivorous and wild nature means that they’re also prone to attack humans and dogs.