Being prepared when trail riding when you become the prey
 
 

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Being prepared when trail riding when you become the prey

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        07-31-2014, 01:40 AM
      #1
    Weanling
    Being prepared when trail riding when you become the prey

    There is a beautiful area with tons of trails that people use for biking, jogging, walking dogs and kids close to my barn. I have ridden all the trails in this area and have been doing this for years both alone, with my very level headed and reliable QH. We have had great rides in there, seen many bears and deer over the years. No big deal. There is always tons of people in there at any given time in the day. Sometimes I pass hundred or so people. In the past month there has been a cougar in the area that has stalked a couple of people and even chased a truck that had a dog barking in the back of it. Anyway, there has not been any sightings recently and being that we have never had any issues we went down for a ride, me NOT on my older reliable horse but my 5 year old. Anyway, we are on the top trail, one girl on her pony in front, me on my horse being a major pain in the butt up until this point, fighting me every step which I am not impressed with, and a friend of mine at the back. We are on the trail heading home...it is a long straight trail. We had just mentioned how quiet it was that there was no birds or anything making noise and that we had not seen one person at all. Looking back two big signs of something possibly lurking around. Girl on pony turns around quickly and I see her horses eyes and the girls eyes are about as big as her pony's,,,,I look past them down the trail and a cougar is walking towards us. We turn around and walk away (don't know if this was right or not), but we did...my horse spooks and backs up slightly rearing and ends up in a ditch...I get him out back on the trail and I decide for mine and his safety I will get off and walk him I'd been fighting him the whole ride and this wasn't the time to go sideways. We walk about 10 minutes and are on the trail heading back to the main trail to get out and I hear cracking in the bush alongside the trail we are on probably about 30 feet into the bush. None of us say anything, we get back to the main trail and get back out onto the main road. Only when we got back into civilization did we ask each other if anyone heard the branches cracking in the bush and we all did and realized that it was paralleling us. I was so scared I was shaking, sweating profusely and even felt like I couldn't breathe at one point. It took about an hour to finally get myself together completely. Sooo....here's my questions after all of this:
    1) What should we be carrying to protect ourselves: Bear spray, knives, etc.

    2) What is the right thing to do when you see a cougar while riding. Thinking of safety of the rider and the horse. Our horses were not going to face it and stand still.

    Any other advice would be welcome. I know we (I) probably did a lot of things wrong and probably shouldn't have gone into the trails in the first place. It is only when you are in situations like this when you realize that things can and do happen and that you really don't know how to deal with them.

    Thank you for any advice or suggestions. I am now calm, and enjoying a beverage to further calm my nerves.
    HagonNag likes this.
         
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        07-31-2014, 01:54 AM
      #2
    Weanling
    A knife is only going to help close up, way closer than I would want to be. Any kind of spray you'd better have a steady hand, a long thin stream (of spray) and little or no wind. In that situation I would carry a gun. I do not know how old you are or if you have any experience. Check the laws in your area. Long talk with parents, relatives, friends, law enforcement, gun dealers. Whoever could give you lessons. If you carry a gun, you had better know exactly how to use it and have LOTS of practice. Practice to be calm, knowledgeable and very precise.
    You might be surprised how many police departments offer training. In Oct I will be attending a day long event w/ handguns, rifles and even archery. It is called Women on Target. Obviously it is for women, but many of the trainers/[participants will be law enforcement.
    You have to be able to protect yourself.
    Corporal, Blue, 2BigReds and 4 others like this.
         
        07-31-2014, 03:11 AM
      #3
    Green Broke
    What state are you in?

    I have lived in Arizona my whole life and have never seen a live mountain lion. Bears, deer, elk, snakes, once even a badger. But never a mountain lion. I would think that would be awfully bold of a mountain lion. I've really only heard of things like that happening with sick mountain lions over in California. If it's chasing trucks and a group of riders, well, that's above and beyond normal behavior and needs to be reported to your game and fish authorities.

    They are the ones that need to be taking care of it because that is not normal behavior and it poses a risk to everyone out there.
    QOS, flytobecat, 2BigReds and 5 others like this.
         
        07-31-2014, 03:30 AM
      #4
    Weanling
    We did report our incident this evening and I had reported 2 other sightings in the past year...one on a trail behind my barn when I was riding my steady eddy and another one just sitting at the side of the highway as I drove. I have never seen a cougar ever around here until recently and they seem to be all over. Over the past year and a half cougars around here are coming into our community more and more. I teach at a school and even this year we had many sightings in the neighborhood. A week ago a boy was chased and the RCMP and conservation were out trying to track it. I was told by a conservation officer that they are coming closer and closer to town as the deer population in the bush is way down. I've lived in this town my whole life of 45 years and in the last couple of years there has been so many incidents and sightings with them than I have ever heard before. Also, these trails were closed over a month ago as there was a young bear that had charged a jogger.
    HagonNag and 3ringburner like this.
         
        07-31-2014, 07:57 AM
      #5
    Yearling
    I don't know about cougars, but in general I would think most wild animals would be scared away by loud noises.

    Here in South Florida we don't have much in the way of large prey animals, mostly pigs, deer, panthers are rare, an occasional bear in central Florida. But when I ride in the woods I ride with a set of bells that jingle as we walk and if I need to I can shake them to make them louder. I also carry a whistle, an air horn and a bull whip if I need to make some noise I can.

    A gun is good for self defense and to make noise, but there are other things that will make noise and you don't need a license to carry.

    Of course you would be advised to get your horse used to these sounds before you actually may have to use them.
         
        07-31-2014, 09:57 AM
      #6
    Foal
    Up here in BC the cougars have become a problem this summer as well. On Vancouver Island on the galloping goose trail (a well used and extremely popular foot/bike/horse trail with a lot of foot-traffic) a jogger was chased by a cougar all the way to her home. It was amazing that she outran it (just goes to show what good fitness and a burst of adrenaline can do I suppose). Here's a link to a news article on the incident: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/06...n_5440758.html The cougars have been posing a threat to people this summer and the wildlife folks had to go out and shoot the animal before it got someone else.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gssw5    
    I don't know about cougars, but in general I would think most wild animals would be scared away by loud noises.
    The way these animals are behaving (chasing people into residential areas/chasing cars) loud noises will absolutely not scare them away or deter them from attacking.
    karliejaye and elbandita like this.
         
        07-31-2014, 10:18 AM
      #7
    Yearling
    Remember what ever you do make sure the horse you are riding is use to it other wise you will spook him/her also
    2BigReds likes this.
         
        07-31-2014, 12:24 PM
      #8
    Green Broke
    Soak a patch in hoppe's number 9 and pin it on you hat......

    Seriously, it appears you're in Canada and can't take a handgun.....but a handgun is really just needed to get you to your rifle or shotgun.

    In your case....a shotgun.....loaded with buck shot.....if legal....
    HagonNag, EmilyJoy and elbandita like this.
         
        07-31-2014, 12:39 PM
      #9
    Weanling
    Littlebird I am on Vancouver Island up in Campbell River. We have had big problems with cougars since about a year and a half ago. I'm thinking the one we saw could be the one who stalked a 14 year old boy, chased another kid and ran after a truck even with a dog barking in the back box. Conservation have been out trying to find this cat with no luck. Unfortunately in Canada I can't just carry a gun around anywhere with me. I think the best idea is to just not go back in there. I've lived here all my life and never have there been so many sightings and incidences with people here. We were making loud noises and singing, but it kept paralleling us along the trail.
    outnabout likes this.
         
        07-31-2014, 01:13 PM
      #10
    Weanling
    IMO, big cats are much more dangerous than Grizzlies. IF they attack, you don't have time to draw a gun or maze. By the time you draw either, they are already on you. Bear do not stalk you like big cats. With bear, maze is very effective, not so with big cats.

    If there's one cat there's most likely others. Best solution I have is to feed them. And that's very problematic. They must be fed without the scent of humans on the food. If they are not seeking food, they seldom bother humans. Is your deer population low? Usually, they get all they want to eat from deer. OR, this cat has already tasted human flesh. If that's the case it needs to be destroyed.
    OR, this cat was in captivity, and was someones pet. I find it hard to believe anyone could run away form them. If it was a pet, it was merely playing with the people it was chasing. BUT, that makes it even more dangerous. It may not know how to hunt wild life, and is looking to humans for food.
    Mochachino and elbandita like this.
         

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