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Yesterday I was at Longridge, enjoying a beautiful day in the Bay Area. I was pedaling along when I saw a group of 6 or 7 deer grazing near the trail. I was on a higher ridge and saw them well before getting close to them.

So I stopped and watched. They were near the trail, but they were slowly grazing their way away from it. It was a downhill section and I decided (it wasn't really a choice, it's what I do every time) to stop and let them pass without scaring the hell out of them. So I sat there, waiting for them to get far enough from the trail to where I wouldn't startle them when I passed.

Another biker comes up fast behind me. I point out the deer as he darts past so he doesn't plow into the poor creatures who are now grazing on each side of the trail. He descends a little further, stops, and takes a picture. I'm thinking to myself, "Great. A mountain biker who cares about the environment."

Nope, the guy puts away his camera, hops on his bike, and speeds towards the peaceful deer at full descent speed. The deer go darting off in every direction, probably thinking a mountain lion was set to pounce.

And here's my question. How do you treat wildlife on the trail? Like I said, I will always give an animal the right of way, no matter how inconvenient it is for me. It is their house, and I consider myself a visitor. I know I can plow through and they will move, but to me that causes an unnecessary upset in the ecosystem. Am I in the minority? Are most mountain bikers like the guy in my story? Is this cavalier attitude held by so many wide-eyed-do-anything-for-an-undisturbed-ride mountain bikers just another reason for the hikers to throw us out of the parks we love? What do you do when a deer or a coyote blocks the trail?

I'd appreciate your thoughts.
 

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I think it depends where you are.

Arastradero and Fremont Older are full of deer (and coyotes), and they don't exactly go out of their way to get out of our way! They see so many people that they've pretty much lost their fear of us.

I wouldn't plow through a herd--but I'd roll through at a respectful pace. I'd like to think it helps them stay sharp when a real predator rolls up (like a Midpen ranger).
 

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Nice thinking beancrew49.
Sometimes you have no choice, but to yield to the homeowners.

http://forums.mtbr.com/california-norcal/next-night-ride-896656.html

"About a month ago, I was exploring a forgotten, overgrown and unnamed road out in the middle of nowhere.
Broad daylight.
20 minutes on the bike from my house.

The road had turned into a wildlife highway. Great descent on a steep ridge.
I often hear leaves rustling. Typical squirrel or bird foraging, right?
This time, I stopped my descent down the ridge.
That's a lot of squirrels...

The rustling of leaves was traveling... from left to right.
What the Hull?

As I stood there, I saw several large animals. About the size of a large dog.
My heart jumped. Are those dogs? Hunters?
Wrong season.
Am I trespassing?

Then more of them. It was hard to see through the manzanita.
They were definitely on a mission. Heading across the trail to the right.
Then one of them crossed the trail a little closer.

















HOLY SH!T! It's a wild boar! Male. Huge tusks.
He stopped and looked at me.
My heart froze. I was prepared to place the bike in front of me to block his charge.
I looked around for the nearest tree to climb.
I got nothing!
But the sounder

Animal Groups

of pigs were still traveling from left to right. More of them still crossing the trail.
The big male turned and continued on.
Must have been 15 - 20 of them.
Then one more male came of the the Toyon, Madrone and manzanita, closer to me.
He also stopped to stare me down...

Lucky for me, he carried on as well. Whatever mission they were on was more important than me.
I breathed a sigh of relief as the rustling of leaves quieted.
I stood there for a few more seconds waiting and listening.
Are there more of them?











Yup - sounds like someone else is coming.













But the rustling leaves stopped just short of the trail.
I stared into the brush to try and locate what I assumed was the trailing pig.
Then I saw it. I could see the ears.
Wait - those aren't pigs ears. Too round. Way too large.
That...that...that's a
















BEAR!
The large, furry beast was standing there on all fours, just staring at me.
I didn't know what to do.
Should I make some noise and scare it away? Keep still and wait?
I realized my helmet cam was not on.
Damn!
The pigs would have been cool to capture on video.
The bear was still there.
Probably about 30 seconds - it felt like 10 minutes - still staring each other down.
I finally decided to move. My first choice was to turn on the helmet cam.
He wasn't leaving.
I decided to keep quiet. Then I got bored of staring at him, so I continued on down the ridge.
The bear followed me down the ridge, about 20 feet to my left for several minutes.
Then veered off and I was alone again.

This was my first time riding this trail. I named the steep, overgrown ridge road - which was more of a trail

Bearpig Ridge."
 

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Should be called Manbearpig, half man, half bear, half pig
 

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I ride up there frequently and while I may occasionally yield for an animal I am also not bothered in the slightest if some deer are spooked for a moment by my passing. Last Thursday there must have been 30-40 deer and a few turkeys between Gap and the end of Long Ridge. Some were close to the trail and some weren't, some were spooked by my passing and some weren't.
I came up on a young buck a few years back descending Table Mtn., he turned and started running down the trail staying 10-20 yards in front of me for the next 1/3 of a mile or so and it was obvious to me he was enjoying it and I did too.
As I approached the Stegner bench in Long Ridge thursday I startled deer and turkeys both from their grazing, but as I took pictures and enjoyed the sunset the animals all drifted right back to what they were doing as if I had never been there.
I say enjoy your day and don't sweat the small stuff.
mtns.jpg
 

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