1-1-2023 Lion!!!

wisconsinteacher

Handloader
Dec 2, 2010
1,960
230
I have always dreamed of hunting mountain lions out west. For this hunt I I used my great grandfather's 30-30 that has never hunted before. He won it in a bar and gave it to my uncle who doesn't hunt. Because of the history, I figured it would be cool to use. I will give a quick recap of my lion hunt with Fred Wallace of Cat Tracks Outfitters.
I learned about Fred from the Bowsite forum years ago and put it on my bucket list. I was able to book my dates over 2 years ago and started saving up for the hunt. I also started working out 6 months ago so I could hike to the hounds if needed.

I left WI on Dec 26th and headed west. All went well and an I arrived at Fred's on the afternoon of the 27th. From this point forward the weather turned and made the hunt very difficult. Between the timing of the snow and the rain, we were not able to cut a track until day 5. It was not due to lack of effort. We were up at 1-3 AM daily searching for tracks. We put over 400 miles on just his UTV. We also used his truck and tracked 4-wheelers.

On the 5th morning, we finally cut a track 2 hours before daylight. It was warm and the snow was melting but we had to try the dogs on it. After putting the dogs on the track we were able to find a deer kill 50 yards from the trail. After that, the dogs covered the next 4.5 miles in no time. We were able to get closer to them and could hear them bayed up in some cliffs. At that point, we grabbed our gear and started straight up the muddy slope. As we got to the top, we could hear the hounds had moved to the next ridge. So, we skied down the mud slope to the bottom of the draw and started back up towards the sound of hounds going crazy. We were able to finally get below the dogs only to look up and see a lion in a 20' cedar with 3 dogs in the tree with her.

At that point, we did our best to climb the near vertical mud to the base of the tree. When we got there, Fred dug his heels in and started grabbing dogs. We were able to get all but one. He was still in the tree with the lion when Fred gave me the green light to shoot. I was able to make the 20 foot shot only to see the lion go straight down into the creek below that was full of mud.

We were able to get the hounds and ourselves down to the cat and end the hunt. In the end, the lion was a mud ball and the pictures do not look the best.

It still hasn't set in yet that I was able to take a hunt that has been a dream for many years. I have never looked at a picture or mounted lion without thinking I want to hunt them. Now, I can say I was fortunate enough to do it. Fred is a 1000% dedicated lion hunter. He worked very very hard to make the dreams a reality. I can't thank him enough. I also learned a lot on this trip. Winter travel in the mountains, sucks!! I also learned that I'm blessed to be able to chase my dreams and that my wife and family support me. It was probably one of the most mentally challenging experience of my life due to the weather and hours looking for a track.

The load for the rifle is Varget and the 160 FTX bullet.
 
Your first lion is a special hunt! And with a storied family heirloom rifle too! Congratulations and very well done!
 
Congratulations on getting a nice cat.

I hunted mountain lions with a buddy in Utah. It was very cold and very rugged. My buddy got a beautiful big tom while I videotaped his experience. The luck wasn't with me on that trip, but I had a great time. Can't wait to return for another go-around.
 
Congratulations on an excellent hunt. Your pictures not only tell a story of valiant exertion and ultimate success, but will serve as a means of refreshing your memories throughout the coming years. Thank you for posting.
 
Congratulations on your Mt Lion.
Awesome hunt.
Any plans yet with your cat? It sure would make a great life size mount.

JD338
 
I'm told that mountain lion tastes like pork. I'm leery about eating predators so I couldn't say firsthand.
When I lived in Nevada, my neighbor across the street was an old time trapper in the winter and prospector in the summer. He wouldn't eat a coyote for love not money but a Bobcat, Lynx or Mountain Lion was food fit for a king in his opinion. I've met several other old times since and they say the same thing. I know that should I ever bag one of the three cats mentioned, I'll sure check out the quality of table fare for sure.
Paul B.
 
Congratulations on your successful hunt. The people that say turning dogs on a track and shooting a animal out of a tree is easy, have never done it.
I used to run hounds until they outlawed running bears with dogs here in Colorado. I had better bear dogs than cat dogs, but put them on a warm cat track and they would get the job done.
I've eaten loin and bobcat, it's very lean meat and very good. Mountain loins eat porcupines, I shot a female that had quills in her chest and front legs. You have to watch out for quills while skinning.
 
Congratulations on a great hunt and thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Vince
 
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