I get it believe me. I work for fish and wildlife and walk remote areas getting to lakes to check anglers. I don't get to carry anything. Not a gun, not pepper spray nothing. And if I get caught carrying them, but trouble. I have my handy Sears crafstman knife, but that's not going to do too much in close combat. I'm always watching over my shoulder, but have found my bigger problems are really squirrels throwing sticks down on my head.
There is only a couple of places that guns are not allowed. And as of February 20, if Kevin is right, that law will be changed. At least for the national parks.
Short afternoon ride, I don't worry about it. For example going out to Antelope Island, which is a state park. You have to stay on the loop trails. So you are rarely more than a few miles from your truck/trailer. You have cell phone service most of the time, And if you don't have service, just climb the hill. The trails are easy, so chances of a horse getting hurt are slim. No need to worry about having to put a horse down. If you did need to, the ranger would probably be right there to help out. And he can drive his vehicle on all the trails.
But when I ride back into wilderness areas, Where It's an ALL DAY ride to get back to the truck, Where it's an ALL DAY horse ride and then a hour or two truck ride before I'll get cell service, I'm on my own, There is nobody that can come and help. In those sitituations, You need to be able to take care of things your self.
I'm not worried about strange people, I'm not going to pull a gun on a stranger. We are in the Wilderness, not a bar fight. Chances are conversation with strangers will be about fishing or the color of fall leaves, not hey give me your wallet. The biggest confrontation I've ever seen in the back country was tree huggers complaining about us having horses in the back country. And I'm not going to escalate that to a gun fight.
Most animals I don't see as threats. I had a grizzly charge us in Alaska and at the time I wished I had a gun, But we didn't and the bear backed down, in hindsight, I suspect shooting that bear would of got us killed. There is just no way you can kill something that big with pistol, At least not fast enough to save your own skin. I had a moose tree me once, and had to spend 20 minutes up a tree while she did a dance on my pack. Maybe a loud gun shot, would have sent her running. But I would have never shot her.
When you ride horses in country like this, There is no help, and things do occassionally happen.
Here we are cleaning out the eyes and ears of horse that went down in Quicksand. If you can't get the horse out of the quicksand, Is it best to just leave him to die?
I've been trail riding for about 15 years and frequently ride alone. I'm in Arizona. We have all sorts of wildlife. They've never given me a problem. I have never seen a cougar. I would love to see one!
I have never felt the need to carry a gun. Of course there is a first time for everything, so someday I might be caught off-guard, but really, the wildlife leaves you alone and you are blessed to get to see them, at least that is how I feel. I have been charged by elk a couple of times, but that is because I was calling them.
I pray I never need to put my horse down in the back country. For the most part I am within 4 hours of home (when I ride alone) and when I ride further I am with a friend. (She sometimes carries a gun.)
My Dad always told me it's the two-legged animals you have to worry about, not the four-legged, lol!
What's nice about being on horseback in a wooded area, is that you can disappear and pretty much avoid the few people you see out there.
So I dunno, I don't do pack trips or anything, just trail rides. I haven't felt like I wanted a gun yet. I agree if you are out there for days or weeks, a gun would be good!
I'm too young to carry a gun as of now, but as soon as I am old enough I will have one. We have had issues with break-ins in my hometown, and I don't trust to many people if I am by myself. I have pepper spray and 3 knives for now...lol. I'm thinking about getting a taser at some point. At home there are quite a few guns ranging from pistols to shotguns. I know how to load and fire all of them accurately, and I have two pits that would give me some time if somebody ever tries to get in my house. At the other house we have 5 dogs outside that would scare most people away before they could ever get to the door.
I think that everyone should have a gun. There would be a lower crime rate. Who wants to rob you when they know you probably have a gun and know how to use it?