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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Mon Jan 8, 2018, 10:01 AM

63. My encounters

have mostly happened while out riding my horse. Here are some:

Jogging up a fire road to the top of a butte, I looked down, and saw a bobcat jogging alongside us, about 10 feet away. My horse didn't even blink; we continued on for maybe 30 or 40 yards. When we reached a curve, I stayed on the road and went around the curve, the cat disappeared into some brush on the downgrade.

Same horse, different day, different fire road: came around a corner and there was a downed cow; a rancher had a lease on this public land, and had cattle turned out, so seeing them wasn't a surprise. The surprise was the golden eagle perched on the carcass. I stopped about 10 yards away; the eagle fluffed, flapped its wings, and stared at me. We stared at each other for some long moments, and when I didn't move, it went back to feeding. I stayed there for about 10 minutes, and then took a detour through the scrub to get around it with plenty of space. It ignored us.

Same horse, different day, same road as the eagle: Came around the bend, riding with a friend who also had her boxer alongside, and there was another cow, further off. The cow was surrounded by coyotes, standing over her dead calf, defending it from the hungry pack. While coyotes were ubiquitous in our area, I'd never seen so many together, circling that poor cow. We immediately moved off to another trail before the coyotes sited the boxer. Coming around the bend on the new trail, we found a few more coyotes milling around, wanting to get closer to the pack around the cow. The spotted the boxer. My friend jumped down, threw her dog into the saddle, and headed back to the ranch on foot. I stood guard. My horse was a known coyote-hater, and had been known to stomp them to death if they trespassed into her pasture. When she stamped her front feet, all but one took off. That one was determined, though, to get around her and go after the dog. My mare proceeded, out there all by ourselves, to give a text book demonstration of cutting, except she wasn't cutting a cow from the herd, but a coyote from its chosen path. It didn't want to give up, even when she started moving it in the opposite direction; we ended up pushing it down the path for about a mile before it gave up.

There have also been deer, raccoons, many, many snakes, and birds of all kinds. I used to carry binoculars and a field guide out on rides.

And bears, but not while riding my horse, thank goodness. While hiking and camping.

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