- Apr 6, 2018
@Lyfter1013 thanks for the well-wishes....and that is a good question and hotly debated among houndsmen. I do not want to get anyone stirred up, but will say my opinion since you asked and the subject is so esoteric.Damn hope For a quick recovery for your dog. You said you released the lion Just curious do you generally release female lions? Is that a morale thing or are you looking for a bigger Tom? Just asking as I know nothing about running dogs for lion?
Many houndsman preach that female lions should never be shot. However, I have yet to meet one who hasn't either shot one or had one shot over his or her dogs. There is always some excuse to justify it, as well, which I think disrespects the animal: "It was for a client." "It was for my dad." "We only had a couple days to hunt." ... "yada yada yada ... it wasn't a "worthy" trophy but we did it anyway...but no one else should ever do it." ... like Gov. Newsom and his shutdowns... in all seriousness, I appreciate the passion the "never ever kill a female" guys have for conservation of lions to run, but I feel it may be misplaced...I'll touch on my perspective and the science that I think is important to note.
I haven't killed a cat in many years, like a decade, and it was a nice tom. I have had friends and family kill lions, mostly toms but not all, during the last ten years over my hounds. While I do not have a personal desire to kill another cat if it is not big, I do not have a problem with female harvest morally or conservation-wise. A balanced harvest is good, but hunters just have to be aware of the area the cat is living in and if it has kittens. You cannot know for sure unless the female is with a tom getting bred. You can reduce chances by knowing the females in the area. I take close-ups of their faces and you can zoom in on their noses and see pigmentation differences, like fingerprints. (Like for example... the female with the flattened left canine and three small spots on the left side if her nose has kittens or sub-adults.) I like doing this anyway because it is neat to know who is who and where they've been. I can look at photos and zoom in a see cats caught 3-4 years in a row.
A counter argument for those who say never ever shoot a female lion is that male mountain lions, like African lions, commit infanticide. There are a couple studies out of British Columbia that can be Googled that are really interesting. Females with kittens were found to be secluded, higher up and eating less-desirable game (as evidenced in feces) in order to avoid roaming male lions trying to establish dominance over an area. I believe in a balanced harvest, which includedsmales, but the idea that only shooting old, dominant toms as a means of keeping the lion population as high as possible while still allowing harvest goes against science. This is the same reason in Africa that almost all countries who have wild lion hunts do not allow the taking of pride males because immediately a new cat takes over and kills all of the young. Mountain lions do not have prides or the same type of social structures as the African variety, but there is enough evidence that new dominant toms replacing recently deceased dominant males kill kittens in their territory.
Long story short: I did not shoot it and would not personally because I have a good lion and I like them alive so I can catch them again. I do not believe it is immoral to kill a female lion any more than a sow bear or doe whitetail. And I would never look down on someone killing what they want within the law. If I knew that particular female, had caught it several times in a few weeks and had never seen evidence of kittens ( I hunt and cut tracks by walking so I get to know what is tucked away in there pretty well through a winter), I would possibly let my soon-to-be 10-year-old daughter kill it when her birthday comes if the tom quota is closed. (My area has a tom quota and a female quota...this is a recent change...long story with IDFG on that). If it had been a monster tom, I would have let it go, gotten my dog to the vet (dogs come first) and then ran it the next day and killed it (me or a buddy...likely a buddy who has been a bunch)... or it would have left the roadless area I hunt, crossed a road and got cut and caught and hammered by another houndsman.