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Being prepared when trail riding when you become the prey

This is a discussion on Being prepared when trail riding when you become the prey within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        08-23-2014, 03:05 PM
      #51
    Yearling
    Just to keep things in perspective, though:

    Number of people killed this century:

    Coyotes: 1 Coyote attacks on humans - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Mountain lions: 3 List of fatal cougar attacks in North America - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Rattlesnakes: 14 List of fatal snake bites in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Bears: 37 List of fatal bear attacks in North America - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Bees, wasps, &c: about 600 Deadly Bee Stings, Severe Allergic Reactions - ABC News
    Police officers: >6000, accurate figures not available Nobody Knows How Many Americans The Police Kill Each Year | FiveThirtyEight

    And of course, driving to/from the trailhead is still far & away the biggest danger, with 30-40 thousand deaths per year.
         
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        08-28-2014, 02:58 AM
      #52
    Yearling
    I recently put a bear bell on my lead mare. We just moved to a new property and the pasture is 25 plus acres, about 5 of which are wooded. I thought the bell would help me if I were trying to find them. But I also wonder if it is a help for horses with bear or cougar. We have a lot of both in our area.
         
        08-28-2014, 09:42 AM
      #53
    Yearling
    Bear bells just alert bears to your presence. You are dependent on the bears being afraid of human contact, and wanting to leave an area before you enter that space. Basically you don't want to sneak up and surprise a bear.

    Once the predators become accustomed to hearing the bells. It no longer acts as a warning. Something / Someone needs to keep reinforcing the threat to the bears each time they hear the bells. Letting a horse or goat wear the bells full time with no threat soon. Becomes like Pavlov's Dogs where the bell becomes a dinner bell.
    jamesdean57, Yogiwick and KsKatt like this.
         
        08-28-2014, 11:03 PM
      #54
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
    Bear bells just alert bears to your presence. You are dependent on the bears being afraid of human contact, and wanting to leave an area before you enter that space. Basically you don't want to sneak up and surprise a bear.

    Once the predators become accustomed to hearing the bells. It no longer acts as a warning. Something / Someone needs to keep reinforcing the threat to the bears each time they hear the bells. Letting a horse or goat wear the bells full time with no threat soon. Becomes like Pavlov's Dogs where the bell becomes a dinner bell.
    Creepy, but I think true.
    KsKatt likes this.
         
        08-29-2014, 11:11 PM
      #55
    Foal
    I ride in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area in Oregon. Although I have never come face to face with a cougar, I know they are out there!
    One time while coming back down the trail, there were tracks in the hoof prints my horse had made not 10 minutes before.
    Another time there were tracks of a cat and cub circling around my horse trailer at the trailhead.
    One night I heard one scream above our camp. That will raise the hair up on your head!!
    I carry a small aluminum pan and a wooden spoon in one of my easily accessible packs. Pounding on the pan will scare about anything! Just be sure your horse can take the noise. I also carry a Smith & Wesson 22 Magnum for added safety.

    Used to carry bear spray-lost it twice-decided it might be more hazard than help, I.e. Blowback, spray self, horse and so on. Knife idea only good for cutting ropes in an emergency, not fighting off a wild animal.
    KsKatt likes this.
         
        09-05-2014, 01:20 AM
      #56
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jamesqf    
    Just to keep things in perspective...
    And of course, driving to/from the trailhead is still far & away the biggest danger, with 30-40 thousand deaths per year.
    All too true. If everyone was completely oblivious to the dangers of animals in the wild and twice as careful driving from home to the trailhead, more of us would be alive to discuss the dangers of bears and big cats.

    Complacency kills more of us than everything living in the woods combined.
    KsKatt likes this.
         
        09-05-2014, 01:41 PM
      #57
    Foal
    Interesting subject - we have active cougar activity on our property and neighbor property right now. Keep in mind - cougars and wolves will track and follow you. Sudden movements - like kids tend to have will make cougars more likely to attack - like a kitty playing with a live mouse.

    No sudden movements if you find yourself off your horse, like others said, make yourself bigger, don't move, and stare them in the eye. Even if hungry, cougars are careful about not getting hurt. If it is far away, slowly move back toward home or cover, and find a big stick or rocks. Since I know cougar are around here, and we are in the US, I would be carrying a gun.

    If a cougar is close and looks ready to strike (kind of like a kitty ready to pounce), make a ton of noise (you will be living on adrenaline at that point anyway), and fight like heck - aim for the eyes or nose, hitting it with whatever you can find. Never turn your back.

    Cougars are sprinters, not necessarily long distance runners - that is why deer can get away, but I sure wouldn't recommend running away from one.

    I don't know if there is necessarily anything you did wrong in the moment but I personally would never get off my horse - just turn around and keep moving home. A couple friends had a similar encounter when a baby cougar crossed the trail, and then saw mama was watching from a hill above - they turned around, and mama followed them all the way back to the main road. From what I understand, their horses were nuts too.

    I know people around here who use cougar "fur" to work on desensitizing their horses at home. I can't recommend where you would find that but maybe a taxidermist or hunting club.
         
        09-05-2014, 05:17 PM
      #58
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunnyone    
    I know people around here who use cougar "fur" to work on desensitizing their horses at home.
    I'm asking this as someone who knows less about cougars than he does about horses, but is that actually a good idea? Horses have good cause to be afraid of cougars.

    Your horse would, I imagine, be aware of a cougar before you are. I get that you don't want the horse to spook, but is teaching it to ignore that threat wise? It seems like you're disabling an early warning system, kind of like turning off a smoke alarm.
         
        09-05-2014, 05:50 PM
      #59
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RegularJoe    
    I'm asking this as someone who knows less about cougars than he does about horses, but is that actually a good idea? Horses have good cause to be afraid of cougars.

    Your horse would, I imagine, be aware of a cougar before you are. I get that you don't want the horse to spook, but is teaching it to ignore that threat wise? It seems like you're disabling an early warning system, kind of like turning off a smoke alarm.
    Interesting question as I have not personally done it. I don't believe one can condition a horse to ignore a natural danger and they would always let you know. I think this technique is maybe to get them accustomed to the scent and remain manageable.
    Bojotyco and RegularJoe like this.
         
        09-05-2014, 09:50 PM
      #60
    Foal
    Hi regular Joe,
    My input; You can NEVER teach a horse to ignore a cougar, but desensitizing it is not a bad idea. Of course, I am not sure how one would go that, but by desensitizing I mean; teaching it to trust you and not go crazy and throw you off if a cougar or other wild animal is nearby.
    Kind of tough to desensitize a horse to something it may never see.

    As for the cougar fur idea, that is a new one on me, maybe someone can enlighten me.
    RegularJoe likes this.
         

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