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- - Encountering wildlife (http://www.horseforum.com/trail-riding/encountering-wildlife-92884/)
So I was wondering is anyone has any advice, other than don't run away from it, if you come across a cougar/mountain lion/other predator while trail riding. I live on 800+ acres and can ride just about anywhere. I haven't really gone back in the forest much because I have a nagging feeling that I'm going to run into something that will think me, or my horse, looks tasty. It's not so much of a problem when I'm riding with my aunt but, because she's so busy with my cousin and her catering business, I ride alone a lot.
I've heard that most predators are more afraid of you then you are of them, unless they're starving or you're around their young, but I still worry. I always ride with my cell phone but that won't really help much in the heat of the moment. My family own a lot of guns and we do a ton of target practice around my house but I don't think my horse would react too well if a pull out my 9mm.
Any advice would be extremely helpful to calm my nerves because I love the area back there and the views are AMAZING! Plus it's fun :D. Sorry for it being so wordy.
I would much rather my horse be startled by a gunshot than mauled by a mountain lion. Just saying. :lol:
I'm interested in others' answers.
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I totally agree I just wanted to see what other people had to say.
I worry more about hunters shooting us than wildlife mauling us!
I've never had a problem with the wildlife, and we have bears, mountain lions, etc. I've only seen a bear twice (and never while riding) and never a mountain lion. I would actually like to see a mountain lion!
I ride alone all the time and never even think about the animals, other than I enjoy seeing them and I do bugle for the elk during the rut.
Now during hunting season I dress me and my horse in flaming orange. Hunting season scares me, because of the PEOPLE with guns. (I'm afraid they may get a little excited and shoot anything that moves).
PS. I always feel safer on horseback than on foot. I figure they have an extra set of sharp eyes, can spot anything that moves and can outrun most anything out there. In other words, the horse is on my team and I am never alone when I ride. :wink:
I never feel alone when I am with my horse. :mrgreen:
I kinda figured that my horse would see/hear things way before I did and we're a pretty close team so I know he'd take care of me if necessary.
I horse will smell a cougar or mountain lion before you can see them....listen to your horse.
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We have coyotes and rattlesnakes. The snakes have been known to scare a horse on occasion, but they won't attack you unless you step on them or get too close. Dogs pose a bigger threat to me. A friend of mine was attacked by pit bulls while riding and got hurt pretty badly. The deer hunters do scare me. I avoid riding on opening day, and during the heaviest hunting times, I stay on the dirt roads. I did have an episode of a hunter threatening to attack me. I showed him my .38 and he decided to leave. I was glad I didn't have to shoot the gun to scare him away because my horse would probably still be running.
Go out and enjoy yourself. Don't rub a steak or bacon all over you before you leave and you will be fine.
We occassionally chase cougars. And for the most part, They want nothing to do with people. Bears are opportunist. If they thing you smell like a easy meal, maybe they will check you out. But most black bears are pretty easily intiminated. Make your self look as big and loud as possible. Grizzly bears are different store.
Use your gun as noise maker. No need to kill most preditors. Just make a big noise. Teach your horse to cope with that before you need to try it. Hold you horse and comfort her while somebody fires the gun 10-25 yards away. Fire away from the horse. As the horse gets used to , Move closer. It's won't take long before you can shoot of her back. ( Think Mounted Shooting competition)
Anyways, even "benign" wildlife can cause a wreck. I have a 23 yr old QH/Draft mix that has been there, done that. Rode him in WY in the wilderness for a week, didn't flinch. Got him back to South Florida, ran into an armadillo and he was interested (to say the least). He didn't do anything bad but the little thing darting across sure got his attention.
The other day we rode and ran across wild turkeys. My wife's 7yr old Heinz 57 and my 23yrd didn't care. The next day I came back with some friends and was riding a 3yr old filly on one of her first trail rides. She didn't loose it when she saw the turkeys but her head went up in the air and she was definitely aware of the birds. It is easy to see how less trained horses could cause a bad accident even with something as benign as a turkey :)
Hunters are in my opinion the bigger problem. We have 60,000 acres of a wildlife management area here (codename for hunter's paradise) and last year someone got shot (not on horseback). I routinely carry a 9mm not for the wildlife but for the drunken idiot with a rifle.
Most wildlife will hear you and see you way before they are a threat to you. If you do happen to stumble upon a grizzly bear momma with cubs, my advice is (if your horse is still between you and the ground) - run like hell.
Shooting a grizzly bear requires skill, plenty of weapon, shot placement etc. even when you are looking for a fight.
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