I've only come close to encountering a bear on a ride once, up in the bush at my parents' place - thank goodness it seemed more frightened of us than we were of it and ran off into the bush. That was a small black bear though, not a grizzly. We don't have any grizzlies or cougars around here! Wolves, but they usually steer pretty clear of us. My dad's neighbour has lost a lot of cattle to them out in his far pastures though.
Personally, I am not to worried unless we are told to be worried. The rangers here tell us the current cougar population, and tell us if there are any cubs to be worried about coming across. We are also told what area the cougar was last spotted in and where the cubs are being kept so I'm not to scared. Also my horse can swim and giant kitties cannot :) always a good escape route!
We have pretty boring wild life in north dakota. Deer, pheasants, geese, wild turkeys, coyotes, foxes, the occasional buffalo. Just regular boring stuff lol nothing you can't see everyday :) I want to see a kangaroo while riding! That would def be a kodak moment! Lol
Cowgirl, I'm jealous of seeing Buffalo while riding! There's a guy up the road that breeds and raises them, but seeing a wild buffalo would just be amazing!
Craziest thing I've seen for wildlife is a bobcat or coyote, once a silver fox (but it was roadkill-d :( ), and they're pretty scarce. It's mostly deer, various wild fowl, rabbits, and feral dogs and cats. Our feral cat population is mostly long-haired and bob-tailed though, and a few baby bunnies are coming up with dutch markings, so that's kind of interesting, I guess? XD
The buffalo are cool to see at first, buuut if you get to close one of two things will happen:
1. They charge
2. They book it the other way and you hope they don't decide to do a 180 and end up with number 1...charging.
But most of them are pretty used to tourists with cameras "ooing" and "awing" so they don't do a whole lot. Lol Think of them as big fuzzy cows
Yeah I am in VERY NW Montana (almost Canada) and we have a lot of grizzly, bear, moose, cougars, etc. that we have to look out for... I was 30 yards from a bull moose the other day and I about had a heart attack! I love moose but from afar or through my scope!