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  1. #1
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    Dropped in on a large cat today....

    I was headed back to the parking lot, about 1-2 miles away, went down a hill, around a bend, then lo and behold, I almost bulldoze a large cat running across my path. I was able to stop, but, boy was that a surprise.

    About 30-35 pounds, the size of a 1-2 year old pit bull. It ran away pretty fast, I got a good look at it when it was running under the shade of a tree. Didnt see no spots. No bushy tail. Just a muscular cat the size of an average dog, I'd say the color was brown. Brown as the bark of a tree, not tan, not sand, just brown. Neat!

    Gotta love Cali

  2. #2
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    mtn lion maybe?
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider
    mtn lion maybe?
    Couldve been a juvy mtn lion, or an adult bob cat. I'm trying to research it right now, and it seems to be the former, as I saw a distinctive long muscular tail. The bob cat apparently has a short bush tail.

  4. #4
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    Kind of dark for a mountain lion. Do you have bobcats in California? No tail at all. Usually dark on the back possibly with spots and/or stripes. Running away fast it may just look dark. About the size of a pit bull.

    Our posts crossed. I agree probably a small mountain lion. they have quite a range of colors depending on where in North America they are.

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    TN, I know what youre saying. The color is throwing me off too.

  6. #6
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    like this?



    look like that?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldassracer
    look like that?
    It never looked me in the eye as it was running away. I only saw the back of the head. Looking at the paws/legs and tail of that thing, seems like it.

    If it was, I feel pretty fortunate. Those things are supposed to be very stealthy.

    I just hope momma ain't around coz I really liked that trail

  8. #8
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    Where in Ca were you riding? Bay Area, pennisula?

    Tail or no tail would be the key to whether bobcat or mtn lion.
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  9. #9
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    bobcats can be extremely variable in coat color/patterning. I have more than a hundred pictures of them from motion sensing trail cams, and they range from very light uniform tawny with nearly indistinguishable patterning to having very bold rosettes you can use to identify an individual cat. The BIG ID feature is the tail. they ALWAYS have a short "bob" tail. It's usually almost entirely black, too.

    you saw the back of its head, you say? did you see the backs of its ears, too, or were they lying down against its head?



    You can see in this picture that the backs of their ears are primarily black with splashes of white. also note the tail in this bobcat. If the cat you saw had more tail (longer than body length is the 'rule'), it was a mtn lion.

    on mtn lions, that white splash is much less well-defined, and from what I can tell, is sometimes not even present. the backs of the ears look like they can range from all black to tawny like the body color.


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldassracer


    look like that?
    I want to give kitty a hug.

  11. #11
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    I've seen two bobcats at sycamore canyon, riverside in the last month. I probably saw the same one twice, but it was about the same size as the cat you saw.

  12. #12
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    Mountain lions aren't always stealthy, especially juveniles. I had a young one stalk me for a week last summer.

    I could hear him and see him most of the time. Every once in a while I'd turn around and look right at him and tell him I could see him. He would just crouch down a little farther.

    He was almost full grown but he'd been living near some "hobby" farms (read city people playing farmer). He ate mostly chickens and ducks and those little lap dogs. I don't think he never learned to stalk because he never had to.

    By the way, I'm not particularly brave or anything. I was heavily armed with trail building tools. I was carrying a brush hook that will cut a cougar in half.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja
    Mountain lions aren't always stealthy, especially juveniles. I had a young one stalk me for a week last summer.

    I could hear him and see him most of the time. Every once in a while I'd turn around and look right at him and tell him I could see him. He would just crouch down a little farther.

    He was almost full grown but he'd been living near some "hobby" farms (read city people playing farmer). He ate mostly chickens and ducks and those little lap dogs. I don't think he never learned to stalk because he never had to.

    By the way, I'm not particularly brave or anything. I was heavily armed with trail building tools. I was carrying a brush hook that will cut a cougar in half.

    I've been stalked by juvies before, too. Not too subtle, are they? hehe

  14. #14
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    or did it look like this?

    Hwy 1 in pacifica last week...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dropped in on a large cat today....-cat.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by PTownDiddy
    Hwy 1 in pacifica last week...
    Thanks for posting this one PTownDiddy, I didn't want to have to download from my phones microchip.

    Compare the length of that cat (minus the tail) with the bumper of that crown victoria. That's a pretty large cat!
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  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    At least the European Lynx (Bobcat relative) gets much shorter hair for summer. But the tail is pretty nonexistent.

    (newspaper photo: )

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I've been stalked by juvies before, too. Not too subtle, are they? hehe
    Reminds me of me trying to sneak into the house drunk when I was a kid.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PTownDiddy
    Hwy 1 in pacifica last week...
    Bummer.
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  20. #20
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    Wow To the original topic. We dont have anything like that here in the North Georgia mountains just black bears, deer, and coyotees. All of which run like hell before you really get to see them. It would be pretty cool to ride in a differant area and experience these things.
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    Anybody know what this cat is? I got a pic of it while it stared me down over here in San Jose, Ca. Bobcat? The face didn't have the "outward" fur on it like in the pic above.

    I had to manipulate my pic because the dude was so camo. He was pretty "agggressive" as he kind of lurched toward me. Looks like a little Mt. Lion to me re: the long tail. But it was pretty small.

    Last edited by Dion; 08-06-2010 at 09:37 AM.

  22. #22
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    only time seeing a cat on trail was a bobcat. totally cool though as he jumped onto the trail in front of me and i "chased" him (going fast downhill) for about 50 yards before he went back off-trail. after that encounter my guess is i would never mistake a mtn lion for a bobcat, but i have yet to ever see a mtn lion on trail.

    wish i had a helmet cam that day though. was pretty cool.

  23. #23
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    [/QUOTE]

    I'd say this is a Bobcat, they can get pretty big here, and they do have tails.

    Bobcats are less stealthy then mt lions. I've seen plenty in the San Diego mountains. They are awesome and very strong. I saw one run up a near vertical scree wall to get away from me.
    It wasn't me

  24. #24
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    Savannah cat?!
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    TN, dagenhay, and Dion - it looks like you guys are from the Bay Area. Dion where in San Jose did you get that shot? I'm from San Jose as well and I just started biking about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Biking as in using my newly owned mtb and just hitting the road and dirt trails. Need to get my cardio back before I hit them singletracks since it's been WAAAAY too long for me. I wanna try Santa Teresa, but my friend who also just started after a long hiatus like myself said you have to be fit to be able to tackle that Park since his heart almost exploded.

    Did you take that shot in Alum Rock or Grant Ranch? I wanna go to a beginner-like trail just to get back into it again, but anything around or close to the Evergreen side of San Jose?
    Last edited by gundom66; 08-06-2010 at 05:50 PM.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundom66
    TN, dagenhay, and Dion - it looks like you guys are from the Bay Area. Dion where in San Jose did you get that shot? I'm from San Jose as well and I just started biking about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Biking as in using my newly owned mtb and just hitting the road and dirt trails. Need to get my cardio back before I hit them singletracks since it's been WAAAAY too long for me. I wanna try Santa Teresa, but my friend who also just started after a long hiatus like myself said you have to be fit to be able to tackle that Park since his heart almost exploded.

    Did you take that shot in Alum Rock or Grant Ranch? I wanna go to a beginner-like trail just to get back into it again, but anything around or close to the Evergreen side of San Jose?
    I mostly ride my cyclocross bikes on ALL the trails here, even the rocks. I have 3 mountain bikes, but all they do is hang. Recently I've been doing hill interval training getting ready for the cyclocross season.

    I'd be MORE THAN happy to show you some trails here. I'll PM you.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisrupTer911
    Savannah cat?!
    DUDE. That's what I was thinking for a sec! It almost was like a wierd feral cat because it didn't look like a bobcat nor a mt. lion.

  28. #28
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    I'd pick that up and put it in my trunk for eating later. I bet it tastes good. num num num

    Quote Originally Posted by PTownDiddy
    Hwy 1 in pacifica last week...


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion
    Anybody know what this cat is? I got a pic of it while it stared me down over here in San Jose, Ca. Bobcat? The face didn't have the "outward" fur on it like in the pic above.

    I had to manipulate my pic because the dude was so camo. He was pretty "agggressive" as he kind of lurched toward me. Looks like a little Mt. Lion to me re: the long tail. But it was pretty small.


    Definitely not a mtn lion. The cat is too small relative to the tree, and see the markings on its foreleg? That looks more like a bobcat to me. The angle is off, but the tail does not look proportionately nearly as long relative to the body length as a mountain lions tail should.



    Here's a good shot of the patterning on the inside of a bobcats foreleg.

    This one illustrates that depending on how the cat is holding its tail, it can appear white. The underside of the tail is white, even though the top side has lots of black on it.



    Your pic is far from perfect, which makes ID a bit difficult, but I'm hedging my bets on a bobcat. They're extremely common in the US. I'd say they're actually just as stealthy (if not stealthier due to their smaller size) as a mtn lion, but because there are so many more of them, you've got a better chance of seeing one.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by AC/BC
    I'd pick that up and put it in my trunk for eating later. I bet it tastes good. num num num
    Actually that is what one of the city workers did on his way to work. Threw it into the back of his personal pickup. Although, Department of Fish and Game came by to collect the cat. Heard they were taking it to the Academy of Sciences because it was a good specimen.

    We did have a BBQ the next day though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idriver
    Wow To the original topic. We dont have anything like that here in the North Georgia mountains just black bears, deer, and coyotees. All of which run like hell before you really get to see them. It would be pretty cool to ride in a differant area and experience these things.
    And yet when I was growing up my mother's generation was still talking about panther's particularly in the area around the river. Bobcat / lynx wasn't uncommon.

    Coyotes are a reasonably new addition. We didn't have many of them when I was growing up you might hear one occasionally but didn't see them. I understand they have become a bit of a statewide problem.

  32. #32
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    This thread would get alot more traffic if you changed the thread title from:
    Dropped in on a large cat today....
    To:
    Went down on a large cougar today....
    Honestly... ahh I give up

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howeler
    Could be one of those "hybrid" cats -- like a Savannah. Or an earlier generation Bengal (direct cross between the Asian Leopard and tabby cat (F1), most "pet" bengals have been bred a few times with domestic cats to help reduce the wild tendencies they'd inherit from the Leopard).
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    panther no panths, I'm goin' thwimmin'

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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    This thread would get alot more traffic if you changed the thread title from:
    Dropped in on a large cat today....
    To:
    Went down on a large cougar today....


  36. #36
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    Maybe it was a CHUPACAPRA?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambassadorhawg
    Maybe it was a CHUPACAPRA?
    everybody knows that chupacabras are mangy coyotes (well, at least that's what the ones in Texas are)

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    everybody knows that chupacabras are mangy coyotes (well, at least that's what the ones in Texas are)
    Chupacabra loosely translates to 'goat sucker' which might as well be goat fcuker...if so, that is some classic art...
    Honestly... ahh I give up

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    Quote Originally Posted by random walk
    panther no panths, I'm goin' thwimmin'
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanna
    Could be one of those "hybrid" cats -- like a Savannah. Or an earlier generation Bengal (direct cross between the Asian Leopard and tabby cat (F1), most "pet" bengals have been bred a few times with domestic cats to help reduce the wild tendencies they'd inherit from the Leopard).
    Yes. Way too small to be a mountain lion, and leaner than a bobcat. It really looked like a "big housecat" so I'm guessing it was a wierd hybrid cat.

  41. #41
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    I still say it may have been a CHUPACABRA!!!!
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    In regards to Idriver's comment about N. Ga

    I live up in Blue Ridge, Ga. and we do have the bobcats around here; have seen one on Stanley Gap (Aska road system) and another on Brush Creek (just over the line in TN) near the Oympic system. I've come across the one on Brush Creek 3 times; usually he is sitting in the middle of the trail, hunting I imagine. I ride a SS so he doesn't have much of a warning; when he sees me he slowly saunters to the side of the trail an watches me go by. Very cool!,

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion
    Yes. Way too small to be a mountain lion, and leaner than a bobcat. It really looked like a "big housecat" so I'm guessing it was a wierd hybrid cat.
    Savannahs are actually pretty cool (people-wise too) - I had a buddy that had one - It was up to the top of my knee and I'm long legged.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisrupTer911
    Savannah cat?!
    exactly what i thought. they are around the size of a medium dog and one step removed from being wild. really cool cats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul
    exactly what i thought. they are around the size of a medium dog and one step removed from being wild. really cool cats.
    I'd think that's pretty unlikely that the photographed cat would be one of these, but not impossible.

    I suppose that depends on how many there might be in the local area. I've never seen one, but I do know that they are pretty expensive because they're relatively rare. I have two cats, which are both inside-only. seriously, I'd be even more careful with a big, expensive cat like a savannah about keeping it in the house lest it be hit by a car, catch a communicable disease, or get shot by a landowner who thinks it's a wild cat hunting his kick-me dog. let alone with a larger animal running loose, someone would be opening himself to liability if the pet injures his neighbors' pets or otherwise damages their property.

    I have problems with people letting their small housecats run loose (I have counted no fewer than a dozen in my yard alone). I'd have a real problem with a neighbor letting their oversized pet cat run loose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I'd think that's pretty unlikely that the photographed cat would be one of these, but not impossible.

    I suppose that depends on how many there might be in the local area. I've never seen one, but I do know that they are pretty expensive because they're relatively rare. I have two cats, which are both inside-only. seriously, I'd be even more careful with a big, expensive cat like a savannah about keeping it in the house lest it be hit by a car, catch a communicable disease, or get shot by a landowner who thinks it's a wild cat hunting his kick-me dog. let alone with a larger animal running loose, someone would be opening himself to liability if the pet injures his neighbors' pets or otherwise damages their property.

    I have problems with people letting their small housecats run loose (I have counted no fewer than a dozen in my yard alone). I'd have a real problem with a neighbor letting their oversized pet cat run loose.
    i see where your coming from but if you worry about your cat getting hit by a car or catching a disease i think thats a bit paranoid. it seems to me that dogs do stupid things around cars that make them much more likely to be hit (ive seen a couple get hit, one run into the side of my moms car, and a few jump out in the road and surprise me, never a cat). as for the cat getting shot, i suppose but that seems highly unlikely to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul
    i as for the cat getting shot, i suppose but that seems highly unlikely to me.

    I sure wish I could live in your world, but the shelter where I volunteer has received several abused/shot cats recently (and have received many in the past 5 years I've been there), so your "highly unlikely" beliefs are completely untrue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I'd think that's pretty unlikely that the photographed cat would be one of these, but not impossible.

    I suppose that depends on how many there might be in the local area. I've never seen one, but I do know that they are pretty expensive because they're relatively rare. I have two cats, which are both inside-only. seriously, I'd be even more careful with a big, expensive cat like a savannah about keeping it in the house lest it be hit by a car, catch a communicable disease, or get shot by a landowner who thinks it's a wild cat hunting his kick-me dog. let alone with a larger animal running loose, someone would be opening himself to liability if the pet injures his neighbors' pets or otherwise damages their property.

    I have problems with people letting their small housecats run loose (I have counted no fewer than a dozen in my yard alone). I'd have a real problem with a neighbor letting their oversized pet cat run loose.
    I live in one of those historic areas where there are the super rich, and then "the locals". This was in a historic area where there used to be mining, pretty removed from any homes, but it wouldn't suprise me if one of the hoity-toities accidentally let their cat out. Or worse, because of the economic conditions, a once-rich family got foreclosed on and they just picked up and left.

    If the latter is true, this would be the 3rd domestic cat I've seen left behind, and I've heard there are more - dogs included.

    One time I was riding the trail and I saw two random German Shepards frolicking in the meadow (again far removed from any homes). No other human around.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul
    i see where your coming from but if you worry about your cat getting hit by a car or catching a disease i think thats a bit paranoid. it seems to me that dogs do stupid things around cars that make them much more likely to be hit (ive seen a couple get hit, one run into the side of my moms car, and a few jump out in the road and surprise me, never a cat). as for the cat getting shot, i suppose but that seems highly unlikely to me.
    IMO, if you're gonna keep pets, it's your responsibility to keep them safe. That means they're indoor animals. The dogs are trained and are allowed outside off-leash under supervision (I don't have a fenced yard). The cats will not come when called, and therefore are not allowed outside off-leash. I've tried leash-training the new one, but she hasn't taken to it. She doesn't freak out like the old one, but she also won't walk with you.

    There is nearly a zero chance for our cats to have a problem outside, because they don't go out. The only tiny chance that exists is there because maybe one day they'll get out. The old one has no desire at all, and the young one only wants to chase bugs.

    The dogs, only slightly higher, but that's because they're allowed outside regularly. I live in Texas, a fairly rural area mind you, and you wouldn't believe how many people run over their OWN DOGS in the driveway. Totally preventable. I know of a dog hit by an airplane a couple years ago. Prop whacked it in the face. I also know of many cats shot because people don't like cats running around in their yard.

    I live in one of those historic areas where there are the super rich, and then "the locals". This was in a historic area where there used to be mining, pretty removed from any homes, but it wouldn't suprise me if one of the hoity-toities accidentally let their cat out. Or worse, because of the economic conditions, a once-rich family got foreclosed on and they just picked up and left.

    If the latter is true, this would be the 3rd domestic cat I've seen left behind, and I've heard there are more - dogs included.

    One time I was riding the trail and I saw two random German Shepards frolicking in the meadow (again far removed from any homes). No other human around.
    Well, if you live in an area where that sort of thing has been a trend, I suppose there's something to the possibility that you may have seen a savanna cat in the woods. Those cats are about the size of a bobcat, so the picture would fit.

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    A friend sent me this pic that was taken near Durango, CO on 7/15. Wouldn't want to run into this group!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Avenger
    A friend sent me this pic that was taken near Durango, CO on 7/15. Wouldn't want to run into this group!
    Dunno ... I reckon a big ball of string thrown in the opposite direction would give you time to get away.

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    so...okay I'll as the question most city-folk are thinking..How many of you guys ride with some form of defense "implement" (gun, knife, spray, etc) when riding on trails known to have animals that can kill and eat you if they put forth the effort? We've heard of the occasional hiker getting pounced on at worse or "observed" at best by the occasional cougar.

    Sometimes I think of how physically beat I am partway into a ride and think "this would be a really bad time to meet a pair of irate girl scouters that demand I buy their cookies." At times I'm just so physically wasted that the idea of a curious and perhaps peckish mtn lion def would not be good to meet riight about then. Or is that seriously overblown concern from a city dweller.

  53. #53
    local trails rider
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    There's never a right time for that question on mtbr...

    There have been several bear sightings in my area, recently, and the most lethal thing I carry is my sweet temper. The pocket knife that might or might not be in my pocket does not compare.

    At least the moose flee from me when they hear my Hope hub.

  54. #54
    Terrain Sculptor
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    You're way more likely to be hurt or killed driving to the trailhead than by an animal on the trail. I don't carry weapons for protection.

    I live in an area with one of the densest populations of cougars/mountain lions in North America. Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare and the last time an adult was killed (in this area) in the woods was 1976. There were two children (preferred food for cougars) killed since then. One at home and one in a schoolyard.

  55. #55
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    I never carry a weapon, but always have bear spray, as I live in an area with a large Grizzly population (they are said to outnumber the black bears around here).

    In regards to cougars - if you live in an area where they inhabit, you've most likely rode by one and never knew it. While they can be aggressive towards humans, it's normally because they feel cornered, or are wounded. They hunt by ambush and normally choose smaller prey, as they can't afford to be injured. As mentioned before, attacks on adult humans are very rare.

  56. #56
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    Alaska troy2k?

    One other note about cougar attacks. If you are attacked by a cougar, unless your weapon is in your hand all the time, you're pretty much out of luck.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by troy2k
    In regards to cougars - if you live in an area where they inhabit, you've most likely rode by one and never knew it.
    I ride a DH trail that is off the main fire road. At the top of the DH trail, while putting on my gear, I often hear mtbrs and hikers coming by on the main fire road. I always watch in amazement as they go by having no idea that I am only 5 feet off of the fire road. They are all oblivious and don't even glance over at the trail they are passing.

    So if they don't see me in full body armour with a bike, there is no way they are seeing the cougar in the bushes.
    Take Gravity For A Ride

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Well, if you live in an area where that sort of thing has been a trend, I suppose there's something to the possibility...
    Yup. In San Francisco (45 min. north from here) there are TONS of very expensive wild parrots flying around. I see them when I'm BMX'ing up there.



    Now that I've looked at the Savanah cats, I'm pretty convinced it was one. It really didn't look like a bobcat - I've seen plenty of those and it didn't look like one. It was cool, whatever it was!

  59. #59
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    There are wild parrots in San Diego too!
    I saw one in Balboa Park and tripped out man!
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja
    Alaska troy2k?

    One other note about cougar attacks. If you are attacked by a cougar, unless your weapon is in your hand all the time, you're pretty much out of luck.
    Trail Ninja: No, I live in the Bella Coola Valley in BC.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by troy2k
    Trail Ninja: No, I live in the Bella Coola Valley in BC.

    Makes sense.

    Stop sending us grizzlies. They go to all the trouble of swimming over to the Island and they just get shot by Conservation.

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