Puma/Mtn Lion/Cougar encounters - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-02-2014, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North California
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Puma/Mtn Lion/Cougar encounters

How many have you encountered?
About 9 month ago I was cantering along a fairly busy path alongside the cow ranch and from my hind left the momma loin ran out from the tall grass and chased me on my horse (large 17hh) for about 30 feet before stopping the chase and just glaring at me, slinking into the grass again.
My horse just kept running steady and seemed unphased, I yelled at it,
No puma, no! You can't do that! I was a bit shaken, and the trail led into a ravine after that, freaky!
I am originally from southern California where there are only a few loins, up north where I am now there are more!
It was an exciting day seeing a cat the size of a large human chase you for a while... She stopped because I'm guessing she was giving her nearby babies a lesson on hunting, or it is possible she realized how big a 5'9" person on a 17hh horse is haha!
I've seen all kinds of stuff, birds, bob cats, foxes, bears in Yellowstone, this was my first lion.
Have you seen one? How did it happen?
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-02-2014, 06:40 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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I was just thinking about this today on my ride... how terrifying it would be to encounter a Mountain Lion. They are, supposedly, in my area but encounters seem very rare.

Hopefully I will never have to go through that! Glad you and your horse are ok.

Horse, thou art truly a creature without equal, for thou fliest without wings and conquerest without sword. - The Qu'ran
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-02-2014, 07:42 PM
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Filou, That is something! I'm glad that your horse didn't freak out and dump you in the process. My wife and I have been taking our horses west since 1984. Usually staying for 3 to 6 weeks at a time in almost all of the western states. In all those years the only bear I saw crossed the trail ahead of us and disappeared in an instant. We have never seen a mountain lion - just tracks. I think that is going to come to an end as more stringent hunting rules are introduced and the population of predators increases.
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-02-2014, 11:28 PM
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you got mighty lucky, in two ways; you saw the elusive mountain lion. . and you escaped.
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-02-2014, 11:47 PM
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Only saw one - or really, just the back half of one - moving away at a fairly brisk pace. Didn't even have time to think about getting the camera out.
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-02-2014, 11:55 PM
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I have never encountered one on the trail, but I saw one in the backyard of my old house when I was six or seven. It was really strange, since there were some woods behind my yard, but only for about a quarter/half mile before reaching the back lot of a Home Depot. I have only told my boyfriend about this since I know that my family would play it off as my overactive imagination, but I know what I saw. It was a huge, cream colored cat, stalking through the grass at the edge of my yard and disappearing into the forest. Me, being a little girl who loves animals, decided to go outside to try to tame it and make it a pet. Luckily, I was so mesmerized by this regal cat that I stared at it for too long, and by the time I got outside to look for it, it was long gone. I was really sad. :(

But, I would have been lion lunch, so there's that.

I trail ride in a fairly rural area. Private land, with permission of course, and while I have heard, and briefly hunted, coyotes, I have never witnessed the family of bears, wild boars, and possibly cougars that everyone else has. Call me lucky, I guess? I've never even seen a deer, but I had seen their tracks and scat. I also chased a wild turkey once, for the heck of it.

Mountain lions are rare, but there have been whispers of them in my area over the years, and if they are going to congregate anywhere, I'd say my trails are ideal. :/ Especially with the dead calf someone put out there as coyote bait.
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-03-2014, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North California
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I am glad my horse didn't freak out too, I think he knew he wasn't going to be eaten!
I saw a coyote the other day but it looked awfully small, I thought it was a fox at first.
I talked to another lady who said she saw a lion and her horse ran back to the barn, she just tried to stay on and let him run! I'm wondering if I will be lucky enough to see her again on her migration back north, or any of her young come spring.
I remember there being attacks on bikers every year where I grew up, but some stopped to pick up the babies so they were totally asking for it!

One time I remember trotting down asphalt and there was a snake in the bushes who got so shaken it flew over the path to the other side, never touched the ground! it was odd.
Thanks for sharing your stories too!
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-03-2014, 09:51 AM
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I have had 1 encounter, and it was more than enough.

I used to live in Oregon, and one spring there were some cat sightings locally, generally around the spring-calving beef herds. I didn't think anything of it and went about my business.

I was out on trail with the youngster I was training, who was one of those horses who was born broke. Never did a thing wrong, willing and calm. We were out on a trail we had ridden lots of times before, when he suddenly got hesitant. From nice foward trot to jog to walk to barely crawling along to dead stop. He was obviously concerned about sometimes, with his ears going like mad, eyes rolling, and very very tense. I was looking all around but couldn't see anything out of place, but as he had never behaved that way ever before, I didn't press him. After about 10 seconds, I finally saw movement.. a cat oozed out of the underbrush onto the trail about 20 yards in front of us, and stood looking down the trail at us. I had only seen mountain lions in zoos, but no mistaking that was what was looking at us. I am not sure if I cued the horse to turn and run or if we just had the same thought at the same instant.. but turn and ran we did.. and I have to admit to not looking back to see if anything was behind us for at least a half mile down the trail!!

No idea if the cat came after us or not. I wasn't brave enough to try that trail again for several weeks, so tracks were long gone. I appreciate nature, but would prefer to see it when I am not potentially on the menu!!
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-03-2014, 09:38 PM
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I was sitting in a deer stand 2 years ago with my son on a foggy, foggy morning. I was looking dow a game trail and I could see movement, you know how light behind something in a fog creates those long eerie shadows? The shadows gradually got shorter and and shorter til I could make out the head of a cat. Only time I have seen one in the wild.
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-03-2014, 09:57 PM
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Cougars don't like humans and for the most part will avoid you. Occasionally
they get curious and sneak up to see just what you are. But usually you can shout and holler and they will leave.

It's rare to see them in the wild. We actually see one every year or two by just being outdoors. But I frequently see the deer they kill, see them in our game cameras that we set out, and of course we see them in the winter when we chase them with the dogs.

I have very large hands and can easily palm a basketball if this gives you any idea of the size of this print in the sand
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