Central Utah Male Mountain Lion-January 2021.

TheGrayRider

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Jan 3, 2014
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196
Location
Indiana
I have seen grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, and bobcats on hunting, hiking, and canoeing trips in my lifetime but never a wild mountain lion. I had only seen mountain lion tracks in Nebraska and West Texas on previous hunts for other game.

I stayed in touch with the houndsman from my black bear hunt in Spring 2019 and gave him a call this past autumn. He said now is the time to come out West to Utah on a mountain lion hunt with hounds.

Utah offered more opportunities to hunters with additional mountain lion harvest tags in 2020-2021 so I didn’t have to worry about the draws. Plus the airports, rental car counters, and hotels weren’t crowded at all.

The first area we hunted did not have much fresh snow plus there were numerous coyotes howling throughout the morning. Nonetheless, the hounds treed a legal female cougar after a couple of hours (photo below). We let her go because she looked younger and the houndsman does not like to kill the females. Seeing that first live cougar was awesome and I was glad to get photos.


We hunted a different area on the second day with substantially more fresh snow. The hounds treed an average male mountain lion on the second day of the hunt after running for a few miles. The rush to get up the snow-covered slopes with thigh deep snow was on. (Photo below) We sweated up the steep slope although the temperature was below freezing, studied the cougar for some time, and then finished the hunt.

C41C708B-295E-454B-97B3-BE3744F6E7AC.jpeg

I love listening to the dogs run and bay. Brought back memories of running dogs in the ‘70s and ‘80s for whitetails when I was young. The hounds are the real hunters on a mountain lion hunt. We simply follow their lead.

Plus the scenery in our vast public forests and lands was awesome. Surely beats staring at a computer screen or wasting life watching television.

D3BEC926-F92E-4A17-8E6D-11E15C53CD21.jpeg

I read that mountain lions are the fourth largest cats in the world behind tigers, African lions, and jaguars. I froze the meat for shipment back to the Midwest and sent the entire hide to my taxidermist.

I said I would never get a full-body mount of an animal again but cougars are just too cool. I hope to hunt mountain lions again in 2022 or 2023 with another houndsman in Montana. I am blessed and cannot wait.

Get out and mountain lion hunt with friends and dogs if you get the chance. You won’t regret collecting the memories and experiences.

A real bucket list experience and so much fun, The GrayRider.
 

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Jason73

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Nov 4, 2020
Messages
56
I came across some guys hunting with dogs, said they had one treed. Invited me to walk along and see the conclusion. No disrespect to anyone who finds this sporting but for me personally, no thanks. I understand it's legal and there's reasons for keeping numbers at a certain level but....
 

IdahoNick

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Apr 6, 2018
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367
Nice cat. Congrats. Make sure you see some cats done by the taxidermist. Lions are difficult animals to make look good.
 

IdahoNick

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Messages
367
I came across some guys hunting with dogs, said they had one treed. Invited me to walk along and see the conclusion. No disrespect to anyone who finds this sporting but for me personally, no thanks. I understand it's legal and there's reasons for keeping numbers at a certain level but....
I think perhaps the reason it seemed less than sporting is that you only saw the absolute tip of the iceberg....just the cherry on top. I do not blame you. I have turned loose from a road and had them tree just a few hundred yards away. But just walking to a tree and saying hound hunting is unsporting is like telling the guy who scouted all summer on a sheep tag, then hunted a month before shooting that his hunt is unsporting because you happened to be there when he crested a ridge and sent a bullet or arrow into a ram.

A lot goes into getting a cat in a tree, especially if you walk for tracks. In some years I have walked over 50 combined miles (over multiple days obviously) in snowshoes between lions in trees, or even fresh tracks. This is measured on a gps, not an estimate. My first outing this year was a five mile hike to a track, a few mile run before we treed one, and then I carried and helped get a hurt dog almost five miles back to the truck....then to the vet (just over 12 miles in snow total.) Other than the vet visit, it was a typical, average day. The next outing we were four miles deep when we cut and just over 17 miles total before we treed and got back to the truck according to the gps. Since then I have put in another 30+ miles on foot and not cut a hot track. 10 mile days are average. 15 miles is a long day...20-22 is a high end day. Almost always in snow, and often in snowshoes. The lion doesn't always go the direction you want to travel and once the dogs are loose you've commited. You might be back to the truck before lunch, or barely in time for breakfast the next day.

I took a guy last year who wondered about how sporting it was. He spent time getting shape with cardio and weights. We had a modest day and treed a lion. It was maybe 8 miles in the snow total. He was hunched over sucking wind after 400 yards and half his toenails turned black and fell off. He did not shoot the cat and I figured he was done with the cat thing. A month later he cut a track of a lion that had dragged a deer across the road and called me. It treed 200 yards from the road and I let him take it because he had cut it. Two different hunts, but the second would have meant nothing with out the first

Patterning and hunting large toms that have huge home ranges takes a lot of effort, skill and experience on the houndsman's part, not to mention he is sending a couple (or even just one) 40 pound dogs to chase a 160 pound cat in a tree, which frankly, most dogs would rather chase a frisbee. He probably raised them from pups and has spent hundreds of hours and thousands of miles on his truck finding precious tracks to train them on. They are a lifestyle more than a sport.

There is a lot that goes into lion hunting other than simply walking to a treed cat. It is not for everyone, but I disagree that it is not sporting.
 

TheGrayRider

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Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
196
Location
Indiana
I think perhaps the reason it seemed less than sporting is that you only saw the absolute tip of the iceberg....just the cherry on top. I do not blame you. I have turned loose from a road and had them tree just a few hundred yards away. But just walking to a tree and saying hound hunting is unsporting is like telling the guy who scouted all summer on a sheep tag, then hunted a month before shooting that his hunt is unsporting because you happened to be there when he crested a ridge and sent a bullet or arrow into a ram.

A lot goes into getting a cat in a tree, especially if you walk for tracks. In some years I have walked over 50 combined miles (over multiple days obviously) in snowshoes between lions in trees, or even fresh tracks. This is measured on a gps, not an estimate. My first outing this year was a five mile hike to a track, a few mile run before we treed one, and then I carried and helped get a hurt dog almost five miles back to the truck....then to the vet (just over 12 miles in snow total.) Other than the vet visit, it was a typical, average day. The next outing we were four miles deep when we cut and just over 17 miles total before we treed and got back to the truck according to the gps. Since then I have put in another 30+ miles on foot and not cut a hot track. 10 mile days are average. 15 miles is a long day...20-22 is a high end day. Almost always in snow, and often in snowshoes. The lion doesn't always go the direction you want to travel and once the dogs are loose you've commited. You might be back to the truck before lunch, or barely in time for breakfast the next day.

I took a guy last year who wondered about how sporting it was. He spent time getting shape with cardio and weights. We had a modest day and treed a lion. It was maybe 8 miles in the snow total. He was hunched over sucking wind after 400 yards and half his toenails turned black and fell off. He did not shoot the cat and I figured he was done with the cat thing. A month later he cut a track of a lion that had dragged a deer across the road and called me. It treed 200 yards from the road and I let him take it because he had cut it. Two different hunts, but the second would have meant nothing with out the first

Patterning and hunting large toms that have huge home ranges takes a lot of effort, skill and experience on the houndsman's part, not to mention he is sending a couple (or even just one) 40 pound dogs to chase a 160 pound cat in a tree, which frankly, most dogs would rather chase a frisbee. He probably raised them from pups and has spent hundreds of hours and thousands of miles on his truck finding precious tracks to train them on. They are a lifestyle more than a sport.

There is a lot that goes into lion hunting other than simply walking to a treed cat. It is not for everyone, but I disagree that it is not
Thanks for the response , IdahoNick. You seem to share the love for the outdoors, friends, and hound hunting.
 

LuketheDog

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Nov 29, 2015
Messages
2,353
Location
Sedalia, Colorado
I came across some guys hunting with dogs, said they had one treed. Invited me to walk along and see the conclusion. No disrespect to anyone who finds this sporting but for me personally, no thanks. I understand it's legal and there's reasons for keeping numbers at a certain level but....

You should learn more about it before forming an opinion, the hunt starts long before the lion is treed...
 

Jason73

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2020
Messages
56
I think perhaps the reason it seemed less than sporting is that you only saw the absolute tip of the iceberg....just the cherry on top. I do not blame you. I have turned loose from a road and had them tree just a few hundred yards away. But just walking to a tree and saying hound hunting is unsporting is like telling the guy who scouted all summer on a sheep tag, then hunted a month before shooting that his hunt is unsporting because you happened to be there when he crested a ridge and sent a bullet or arrow into a ram.

A lot goes into getting a cat in a tree, especially if you walk for tracks. In some years I have walked over 50 combined miles (over multiple days obviously) in snowshoes between lions in trees, or even fresh tracks. This is measured on a gps, not an estimate. My first outing this year was a five mile hike to a track, a few mile run before we treed one, and then I carried and helped get a hurt dog almost five miles back to the truck....then to the vet (just over 12 miles in snow total.) Other than the vet visit, it was a typical, average day. The next outing we were four miles deep when we cut and just over 17 miles total before we treed and got back to the truck according to the gps. Since then I have put in another 30+ miles on foot and not cut a hot track. 10 mile days are average. 15 miles is a long day...20-22 is a high end day. Almost always in snow, and often in snowshoes. The lion doesn't always go the direction you want to travel and once the dogs are loose you've commited. You might be back to the truck before lunch, or barely in time for breakfast the next day.

I took a guy last year who wondered about how sporting it was. He spent time getting shape with cardio and weights. We had a modest day and treed a lion. It was maybe 8 miles in the snow total. He was hunched over sucking wind after 400 yards and half his toenails turned black and fell off. He did not shoot the cat and I figured he was done with the cat thing. A month later he cut a track of a lion that had dragged a deer across the road and called me. It treed 200 yards from the road and I let him take it because he had cut it. Two different hunts, but the second would have meant nothing with out the first

Patterning and hunting large toms that have huge home ranges takes a lot of effort, skill and experience on the houndsman's part, not to mention he is sending a couple (or even just one) 40 pound dogs to chase a 160 pound cat in a tree, which frankly, most dogs would rather chase a frisbee. He probably raised them from pups and has spent hundreds of hours and thousands of miles on his truck finding precious tracks to train them on. They are a lifestyle more than a sport.

There is a lot that goes into lion hunting other than simply walking to a treed cat. It is not for everyone, but I disagree that it is not sporting.
Not exactly what I meant. My neighbor shot one without dogs. That's badass hunting, stalking and shooting a cat solo. Each to his own, as I also stated. The way they have decimated our mulie population here in SW Colorado, it's understandable why they give hunters an edge if they desire.
 

JLS

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Mar 26, 2012
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11,164
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Where the Wild Things Are
Not exactly what I meant. My neighbor shot one without dogs. That's badass hunting, stalking and shooting a cat solo. Each to his own, as I also stated. The way they have decimated our mulie population here in SW Colorado, it's understandable why they give hunters an edge if they desire.
I’m obviously not understanding your point. If someone tracks or calls in a cougar, that’s exciting. Most hunter kills are incidental take. Still exciting, but mostly random luck.

Having used dogs, it’s easy for me to appreciate the time and effort it takes to harvest a cat with @IdahoNick’s method.
 
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IdahoNick

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Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
367
Not exactly what I meant. My neighbor shot one without dogs. That's badass hunting, stalking and shooting a cat solo. Each to his own, as I also stated. The way they have decimated our mulie population here in SW Colorado, it's understandable why they give hunters an edge if they desire.
Yes, hunting lions with hounds gives the hunter an "edge," but only after years of work. If you were to start from zero with a pair of hound puppies that could chase nothing but their tails and you knowing nothing about the patterns, habitat and biologly of mountain lions, you would spend infinitely more time start to finish with hounds before you killed a lion than by calling or tracking one down and shooting it. You saw the end. You saw the last two steps of a guy climbing a mountain and are saying the mountain is nothing, having experienced only the top. You honestly do not have the reference to call hound hunting for lions unsporting anymore than I have to call, say, falconry unsporting even though I have seen a hawk in action.

You are trying to pattern an animal that wakes up in the evening and doesn't even know himself whether he will fu*k, fight for his life/territory or feed, or all three, that night. He might sit on a kill for a week 100 yards from the trail you walk by then cross it and walk 20 miles the next evening looking for food, females or intruding males. You turn the dogs loose in the backcountry and you are going 20 miles.

I have been blessed to have hunted over 50 species of big game around the world, including plenty of mountain hunts, and only one was even comparable physically to hunting lions on foot in snow...and that was more because it was so hot and humid rather than tough because of snowshoes, mountains and terrain. Physical difficulty is not the only part of what makes a pursuit sporting, but it is a big deminsion of it.

Honestly though, my bigger issue is not that you disparage the sport without understanding what goes into lion pursuit with hounds, but rather that you come onto a guy's thread who is rightfully proud of getting a lion and disparage his method of pursuit.
 
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