So, apparently the DEP decided to release a lone male mountain lion into the woods to keep the deer population down a few years ago. I guess it's all working out well and good. I'm just wondering, if I do happen to come across his path while on my horse, do I need to be booking the hell out of there? I'm told he's a rather large cat.
I guess people ride through there all the time and there have been numerous sightings with no problems. If he has no intention of eating me or my horse, I'm fine with his deer control contribution. I've met a deer the hard way in my little Honda Civic and will happily co-exist with the cat instead of doing that again. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I just see myself falling off while my scared crapless horse takes off toward home and leaves me behind as a snack!
Well my son-in-law said he's not sure, but he thinks he would stand his ground....as long as his horse wasn't flippin! I would just be prayin hard everytime I rode that mr. Puddy was goin the other direction!
I live on a ski mountain, and used to trail ride all over and we have plenty of cougars and bears. I've never 'seen' one but there has been a few times when my bomb proof horse bolted and didn't stop for anything. I'm guessing she smelt them. She was fine with deer and quail, so for her to bolt I put it down to either a big cat or bear. Although, we've had bears in our yard and the horses don't seem to care too much.
A cat has a "Chase" trigger in its brain...thats the simplest way I can explain it. If you run that cat is going to run after you. DO NOT RUN!
Stand your ground and carry a co2 bee-bee pistol if you can find one. Those little *******s hurt and if strong enough will pierce skin without actually injuring an animal.
Mountain lions are big but not ridiculously big. One is going to think about trying after a horse, particularly if that horse is young fit and not running away. He will consider it as the horse standing to fight and most loner type predetors, such as a cat, will not risk injury attacking an animal that will fight back.
If he doesnt back off right away when you don't run make the horse walk towards him if the horse isnt freaking. This should make him run from you or atleast start backing down rather quickly. If he comes at you this is the moment to use that bee-bee pistol. If he comes at you and is suddenly in pain it is going to freak him the hell out cause he didnt even reach you yet and it should send him running for the hills.
So the proper thing to do is:
Stand your ground...if this doesnt work advance on the cat...if this still doesnt work continue to hold your ground or back the horse away but don't turn the horse away and do not run. Only shoot him if he comes at you first...otherwise you may provoke him to attack you.
I live in Utah and ride in the wilderness areas of the state. Cougars are common. I rarely see them unless we turn hounds loose to chase them. I've frequently hike and find that the cats have followed my tacks in the snow. I suspect being curious about me. If I had not seen the cats tracks following my tracks, I would have never have known the cat was following me.
I frequently see deer that the cougars have killed and partially eaten. So I know they are around me when I'm in the wild.
Pidge is correct about not running away. Stand your ground and appear as big as possibe. Make loud noises, Make sure the cat KNOWS that you are a human and not just something making noise in the bushes. Most cats will stay away from people. The exception being those that are starving and willing to take on almost anything to eat. Or the young cat just abondoned by his mom and trying to learn how to take care of himself. A big Tom cat can weigh 200lbs. So they are very capable of taking down a horse or a human. We've seen large bull elk that have been killed by cougars, so a horse is not out of the question.
This is a pretty big tom cat. I have very large hands, needing XXL sized gloves.