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
. Sorry for it being so wordy.
Your 9mm would probably serve well to make the cougar or bear mad ;)
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.