Wow it must be nice to not have any fears. Good thing you don't have a fear of say a car accident? Or a home invasion, cause then you wouldn't be able to live.. It's natural to have a fear in the woods, we're at our most vulnerable, humans are not superior in anything but intellect, if you want to pack for the slight chance that felix could rip your face off. Do it, I might just feel safer when I meet you on the banks. As far as a long gun, with a cougar, I don't see it helping, unless the cat bites the barrel and saves your neck. I carry my 7" hunting knife when fishing, makes me feel more comfortable, statistically it probably won't happen but, i've already got into a car accident and was fortunate to walk away, I don't need a 150 lb cat to take mine from me. Knife and mace, would be the best bet I think. Until you get to be 21 then a nice .380 or higher would be useful.