Irrational fear of mountain lions...
I guess it all started a while back. I used to have a good time cooling my horses out on a trail ride. So I was going through the trail by myself when my horse stopped and bristled up. I knew something was up, and then not a couple feet down the trail a big bobcat slunk out of the bushes and disappeared. I turned around and jogged back to safety, and have been a big baby about trail riding ever since.
Now I live in California and I'm terrified to go out on trails, or even hike because of mountain lions. What am I supposed to do if a freaking mountain lion decides I look good for dinner? Has anyone ever had this problem before? I simply won't go out on a trail alone, and if I do get someone to go with me, I'm constantly paranoid and freaking my horse out because I'm so worried about the imaginary mountain lions who want to eat me...
So I guess has anyone ever dealt with mountain lions? Or does anyone know how to get over irrational fears? Or is this a very real concern of mine?
All predators are attracted to what they perceive to be easy targets. A full-grown human mounted on a horse is generally more than they're going to want to screw with.
You can thank the lawmakers in your state for outlawing mounting lion hunting with hounds and for making it extremely difficult for you to carry the best means of self defense known to man.
Don't worry about them, You have a much greater risk of getting killed in a car crash than a mountain lion eating you. In fact I bet you have a greater risk of getting hit by lightning.
I've live in Utah and ride trails where I know cougars are in the area. I've never had a problem with them, They are sometimes curious and want to check you out. But usually a shout or scream will send them bounding away. As stated above they are looking for an easy meal not a difficult fight.
We often chase them with dog in the winter months. ( I don't think California and Oregon allow that any more). So we get to see the cats. I know many of the 200lb cougars we chase could easily turn and tear the 60lb dogs to pieces. But they don't they run away and eventually run up tree when they get tired. They are kinda anti confrontational
Fall of 2010, I was elk hunting and saw a cougar slinking around the edge of the meadow, He was circling and I was pretty sure his path would bring him pretty close to us. I was in como gear and had used scent control to hide my human scent from the elk. So I kept an eye out thinking he would stumble upon us. About 30 minutes later I turned around and he had snuck up to about 15-20 yards behind us and was sitting staring at us trying to figure out what we were. He3 knew we were there hiding, But he couldn't figure out what we were and probably couldn't smell us. The guy with me got spooked and jumped up screaming and the cat ran off.
If you fear things, You will never get out and enjoy the world. I think getting to see a cougar in the wild is a great opportunity, And I would not shy away from the chance.
I have very large hands, I wear XXL gloves. This is a pretty good sized tom's paw print
I definitely would never worry about a bobcat.
To add onto what I said before, I've lived in CA and hiked in these hills most of my life. In 25 years of hiking in lion habitat I've seen four cats and never close-by. They're much more aware of your presence than the reverse and will avoid people when possible.
If a cat were to attack you'd most likely never see it coming and so long as you fight and don't lay down and die you'll probably survive the experience. To me it makes about as much sense as worrying that a meteor is going to strike the Earth and kill everything though. :-P
I don't think it's irrational to fear something that can eat you!
Thanks for all your support guys. I was afraid because I did not know much about mountain lions, and the information you have provided me is reassuring. Thanks!
BTW, I'm talking pretty good sized dogs chasing the cougars. Little lap dogs that folks let out of their trailers in the campground to go do their thing before bed time, seem to disappear on a regular basis. I heard a camp ground host trying to explain to a blue haired lady why her little poodle probably wasn't coming back. The little yap-yap dogs don't have enough sense to run away when the cat comes around and they stand there barking until snack snack.
If you have concerns, Carry some bear spray ( works on cats) or some ammonia in a squirt gun, an airhorn on compressed air can or carry a real gun, You don't have to kill it, The noise will be more than enough to scare it off.
Might well have been taken by a coyote. They eat a lot of pet dogs and cats.
I have always wanted to see a mountain lion! Even on horseback would be fine with me.
We encounter all sort of wildlife so I doubt the horse would react any different than they do to elk, turkey, javelina or any of the other critters we have around here.
Yeah, maybe I'm crazy but I want to see a mountain lion alive in it's natural habitat.
I saw a gorgeous dead one once at the game & fish department. Some people hit it with their brand new truck. :shock: It was just beautiful and BIG, bigger than all the stuffed ones I have seen. It could have passed for an African lioness, size-wise. It was magnificent.
I ride in mountain lion country every time I ride (I'm a trail rider) and ride alone about 50% of the time. Mountain lions never cross my mind unless it is because I hope to see one.
The poor cats get a bad rap. Bears are a lot more dangerous and they don't get nearly the flack mountain lions do. A year or two ago a lady in our area was killed by a bear. I have never heard of anyone in our state being killed by a mountain lion. Maybe it's happened, but I don't recall it.
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