I have a very real fear of being mauled to death by a mountain lion.
My fear of bears can usually be killed (no pun intended) by reassuring myself that bears generally think humans are scary and they don't like the smell of dogs. So since I can become scary if need be and since I generally have at least one dog with me while I'm in the wild, I chalk myself up in the surviving category.
But see, mountain lions typically aren't scared and dogs are prey.
We have a couple cow pastures I try and get to about once a week or so and everytime it's an exercise of my will to go. Yesterday I went with Elsie and Micah, two four-wheelers and lots of feed. There's one stretch of road with rock cliffs on one side and I can't look.
I am terrified I'll see eyes or worse yet, just be swept off my four-wheeler in unforseen fury and then eaten.
Some thoughts that go through my mind during these trips are:
1) I'm glad we have a gun
2) I'm glad we have the axe because if worse comes to worse (and in that situation, I'd TOTALLY be expecting worse to indeed come to worse) I can hack the creature off my dog or siblings. (and the fact my dog was listed before my siblings is no indication of priority or anything.)
3) Hurry up!!!! I don't want to stop in these canyons to wait for you.
4) Can a mountain lion swoop on top of me if I'm going 25 mph? I'm not sure but it's worth a try.
5) Seriously, how awful to die like that.
6) Will I see one standing in the road waiting for me around this bend?
7) Are those mountain lion tracks?
8) I don't want to die like this!
You can see the paranoid progression of my thoughts. Yesterday I had to mentally grab ahold of myself and tell myself to 1) STOP looking at the tracks in the snow because my imagination WILL make them lion tracks even if they aren't and 2) just stop thinking lions period. PERIOD.
We got to the first pasture and fed the three cows who were there.
"Guys, I think we should go up to the Big Green. It's not that much farther and I want to check their water and see if we can call some cows there," I said. We have sirens attached to the four-wheelers that the cows are trained to come to/follow, etc. I also find that they could possibly be good deterrents in letting creatures of the attacking nature know that we're coming. I blew my siren the whole way.
Neither Elsie or Micah were really excited about going to the Big Green.
"What? Why don't you want to go?" I grilled them. They just kinda shrugged.
"You guys. Is it because you're afraid there's going to be a mountain lion or a bear?" (I mean, that's the main reason I don't like going to the Big Green. Too many rocks and good hiding spots)
"Holly," said Micah. "I really think you're the only one who's worried about that."
(and yes, we went to the Big Green and would you believe it?! We survived!)
So hearing coyotes around here is not unusual and hearing them behind them the house isn't out of the ordinary either.
But seriously, last night there was one (or two, or maybe a whole herd!) that were IN OUR YARD!
The scary part is that I'd left Skye (my German Shepherd) in the garden pen all afternoon, a place I know she can't get out of and where she doesn't have to be tied up because, well, Skye likes to kill sheep. So last night I went over to my house about 10:30 and realized I needed to go to the garden to get Skye for the night. The garden is probably about 150 yards from my house. I thought about getting someone to go with me but decided to put on my big girl panties and get the job done.
I didn't have a flashlight with me so I lit the oil lamp I still had leftover from when we had no power, took Jada (my Aussie) and went to the garden.
I was not eaten.
But AS SOON as I got back to the house, this coyote started in. And seriously, he or she was RIGHT OUTSIDE. I locked my door and called mom's house.
And the reason I locked my door was because sometimes it doesn't shut and can be pushed open. I will not be eaten by a coyote in my own living room.
My brother Daniel said he heard it too (obviously) and that he'd check it out. He and Micah went down to the barn with the rifle to check on the sheep but as soon as they opened the front door, the coyote(s) were gone.
So naturally my overactive imagination started and I realized that, quite possibly, the coyotes had been calling each other into the garden pen where Skye was so they could eat her. And that maybe, just maybe, when I went out there (alone and unarmed) they'd been RIGHT THERE but I just didn't see them. Then, when I took their dinner away, they got angry and started howling.
I mean, it's likely, right?