Hunting Lions Over Carcass - Advice Needed

trb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
749
Location
Colorado
My buddy killed a buck yesterday in an area I have seen plentiful mountain lion sign in the past. It is rocky terrain with lots of deer on their winter range. The spot he killed it is in an old burn perfect to be able to play the wind and look down on the carcass. I am considering hiking in this coming weekend with a lion tag. My understanding is the same regulation applies to lions that applies to bears in CO: as long as I dont move the carcass I can hunt it.

I have never had a lion tag, and I am open to any advice anyone has around lion behavior visiting carcasses, but I have a couple questions:

1) Is 7 days after the kill too long to wait to come back?
2) Am I correct in assuming that lions will visit/come back to a kill multiple times? Or do they tend to "camp out" on it for a while then move on?
3) Is there advantage to going at dawn vs dusk? Or should I just plan on sitting the carcass as long as possible?

20221126_112618.jpg

Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions.
 

Gerald Martin

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
7,584
If the lion killed the deer and you find it, that is a golden opportunity to kill the cat as it returns to feed. A lion will revisit its kill multiple times and if you find it fresh it’s likely the lion will be bedded close by.

However, lions rarely scavenge other kills except during the winter or when food is scarce. I think it’s highly unlikely that a lion will be anywhere near your friend’s deer carcass while you are hunting there. You are more likely to call a lion in with a predator call if they frequent the area than you are to find one that is eating on the carcass.
 

trb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
749
Location
Colorado
If the lion killed the deer and you find it, that is a golden opportunity to kill the cat as it returns to feed. A lion will revisit its kill multiple times and if you find it fresh it’s likely the lion will be bedded close by.

However, lions rarely scavenge other kills except during the winter or when food is scarce. I think it’s highly unlikely that a lion will be anywhere near your friend’s deer carcass while you are hunting there. You are more likely to call a lion in with a predator call if they frequent the area than you are to find one that is eating on the carcass.
Appreciate the advice, that's exactly what I was wondering and will save me a doozy of a hike.
 

WyoDoug

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
3,407
Location
Cheyenne, Wyoming
I was adviced if you did not place the carcass or viscera and you saw a bear or lion over it and had a proper license, then it was legal to shoot. If you placed the carcass or viscera there, then I was told it would be considered shooting over bait.
 

wytex

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Messages
2,900
Location
Wyoming
What Gerald said. Also, it's extremely rare to see a cat feeding in the daylight hours, especially in the open like that. Not that it's impossible but highly unlikely. My .02
I don't know I've seen a few mt lions in daylight.
 

WyoDoug

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
3,407
Location
Cheyenne, Wyoming
In the area just NW of Meeker where I was hunting I watched a lion take down a deer in broad daylight. They do come out during the day especially if they are hungry or another lion is in their territory.
 
  • Like
Reactions: trb
Joined
Oct 20, 2019
Messages
87
Location
Tucson, AZ
I was adviced if you did not place the carcass or viscera and you saw a bear or lion over it and had a proper license, then it was legal to shoot. If you placed the carcass or viscera there, then I was told it would be considered shooting over bait.
I’ve had the same guidance from CPW as well on this front.

If I was you I’d be curious to watch that carcass and see what else might come in!
 
  • Like
Reactions: trb

TOGIE

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
3,339
Location
CO
death march with a trail cam?

i'm real curious about spending time in known lion country with some hen calls or a rabbit squeaker.
 

WyoDoug

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
3,407
Location
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Lions are difficult to hunt without dogs. I got lucky four times in Colorado and never yet in Wyoming. They are masters at stealth and camo. They can see and smell you from a long ways off two to three miles away. They usually see and smell you before you even detect their presense. You really have to practice hunting discipline with wind and camo to hunt them and are successful maybe 10% of the time if that. The other option is using dogs and I don't want the kind of dogs it takes to do that.
 

richmondrat

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2022
Messages
33
If the lion killed the deer and you find it, that is a golden opportunity to kill the cat as it returns to feed. A lion will revisit its kill multiple times and if you find it fresh it’s likely the lion will be bedded close by.

However, lions rarely scavenge other kills except during the winter or when food is scarce. I think it’s highly unlikely that a lion will be anywhere near your friend’s deer carcass while you are hunting there. You are more likely to call a lion in with a predator call if they frequent the area than you are to find one that is eating on the carcass.
Good advice. Any clue why lions are more picky than other animals? Maybe just not enough of em?
 

WyoDoug

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
3,407
Location
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Good advice. Any clue why lions are more picky than other animals? Maybe just not enough of em?
Biggest issue is number and size of their territory which can be anywhere from 30-125 square miles. Then the numbers are quite thin and they are difficult to spot to start with. You are more likely to spot a wolf, fox, or coyote feeding over viscera than a lion. Exceptions with lions is when they made their own kill, they know it's there and will eventually come back.
 

Gerald Martin

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
7,584
Good advice. Any clue why lions are more picky than other animals? Maybe just not enough of em?

Not certain except that by and large lions will not eat meat that is rotten or soured like bears and coyotes or other scavengers.

My guess is that lions are efficient enough at killing their own prey they generally don’t need to find other sources of dead animals for food.

They definitely remember where their own kills are though and will revisit those sites even after there isn’t much to eat. In the wintertime especially, I have seen where lions will go out of their way to go check out the scraps of a prior kill. I have also seen where they have scavenged discarded carcasses when it was cold enough to keep them from souring.
 

Mtnhunter1

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 11, 2018
Messages
1,019
Location
Big Sky Country-The Last Best Place
Not certain except that by and large lions will not eat meat that is rotten or soured like bears and coyotes or other scavengers.

My guess is that lions are efficient enough at killing their own prey they generally don’t need to find other sources of dead animals for food.

They definitely remember where their own kills are though and will revisit those sites even after there isn’t much to eat. In the wintertime especially, I have seen where lions will go out of their way to go check out the scraps of a prior kill. I have also seen where they have scavenged discarded carcasses when it was cold enough to keep them from souring.
I believe that you are spot-on! But as you stated, lions will scavenge on fairly fresh carcasses. I've had to spook a lion off, and retrieve, a meat bag that it stole while packing out elk. I had a lion start eating on a mule deer buck that I had shot and tagged. Did not see that one but was stunned by the evidence in the snow when I returned from a short trek to retrieve my pack.

Here's a crappy cell pic of a lion eating on a sheep carcass that the hunter did the gutless method on. The carcass was 24hrs old and the lion ate on it almost all the next day. The lion returned the next day and spent another few hours cleaning up the leftovers. It didn't leave much for the birds when it was finished.

PS: I'm guessing here, but, I'd bet that this pic of the lion is extremely close to where you, @Gerald Martin, killed your ram this year.

Sheep eating Lion.jpg
 

WyoDoug

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
3,407
Location
Cheyenne, Wyoming
I am going to correct some people here only because I have observed it in Colorado. Lions will eat carion if it's readily editble. They eat to survive. While fresh kills are preferred, it kind of depends on food availability. If fresh meat is available, that is what they seem to prefer. But if they come across carion, they will eat it.

 

trb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
749
Location
Colorado
What gave me the idea was a friend came back the next day to a cow elk carcass near Walden last year to find a large tom sitting on top of it. I just wasn't sure how common/rare that was, especially in higher density lion areas such as where this buck was shot.

Regardless of the likelihood of opportunistic scavenging, it sounds like 7 days after the kill is probably too late to hope that a cat would be on the carcass.
 

Gerald Martin

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
7,584
I believe that you are spot-on! But as you stated, lions will scavenge on fairly fresh carcasses. I've had to spook a lion off, and retrieve, a meat bag that it stole while packing out elk. I had a lion start eating on a mule deer buck that I had shot and tagged. Did not see that one but was stunned by the evidence in the snow when I returned from a short trek to retrieve my pack.

Here's a crappy cell pic of a lion eating on a sheep carcass that the hunter did the gutless method on. The carcass was 24hrs old and the lion ate on it almost all the next day. The lion returned the next day and spent another few hours cleaning up the leftovers. It didn't leave much for the birds when it was finished.

PS: I'm guessing here, but, I'd bet that this pic of the lion is extremely close to where you, @Gerald Martin, killed your ram this year.

View attachment 252792


I bought a lion tag the day before I went sheep hunting just because I knew about this pic.😄 Scott had shared it with me last year.
 

JT88

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
471
Location
Montana
I am going to correct some people here only because I have observed it in Colorado. Lions will eat carion if it's readily editble. They eat to survive. While fresh kills are preferred, it kind of depends on food availability. If fresh meat is available, that is what they seem to prefer. But if they come across carion, they will eat it.

If you're referring to me, I was simply trying to say that hunting in the scenario he presented would be a longshot. Not impossible, maybe about like winning the hunting lottery. Again, not saying it's impossible. They're hunters more than scavengers, and nocturnal more than diurnal

I've seen them in the daytime too. Never seen one take down a critter, that must have been something to watch
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
104,730
Messages
1,732,825
Members
32,743
Latest member
knjax15
Top