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Lion pic and story (long)

Joined
Dec 22, 2000
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198
Location
Pecos, NM, USA
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This is a photo of a tom I got during the winter of 1992. This is probably the biggest lion I have ever gotten.

The story starts on a cold winter evening when I got a phone call from a local rancher who told me that a big lion had killed one of his cows and he wanted me to bring my dogs over to try to catch him. I did not really believe that a lion had killed the cow as this is very unusual, but went to the site early the next morning. As this was such short notice, I did not have a hunter that could come out, so I invited a close friend of mine to come with me. The next morning, as the rancher showed us the kill, it was evident that a lion had killed the cow as the carcass was covered with branches and debris; a telltale sign of a lion kill. There was no snow on the ground and it was impossible to know when the lion had been there last and which direction he had gone. We saddled up and released the four anxious hounds and rode in the direction that we thought the cat may have gone. For the first hour we got no interest or response from the dogs. About this point I lost track of three of the hounds and had only my best dog with me who's name was Dee. I tried calling the other dogs back, but they just would not come in.

We continued riding along the edge of a very deep canyon hoping to find the missing dogs when Dee let out a deep bawl telling us that a lion had been through there a few hours ago. We followed her along the edge for about an hour as she slowly cold trailed picking up the lions scent here and there. By this time I had pretty much given up on Dee treeing the cat and let her get out of my sight as she worked her way down to the edge of the cliff. Suddenly, Dee let out a yelp that I had never heard her make before or after that! Dean and I quickly tied our horses to some small cedar trees, pulled the .44 carbine from the scabbord and ran to where Dee was barking like she had seen the devil! When we arrived, it was a scene to behold. There, backed up to the edge of the cliff was the biggest lion I had ever seen! As Dee ran back and forth baying the lion, he would swat at her every time she got close. I yelled at Dean to shoot him quick before he killed my dog! He raised the .44 and fired and on impact, blood shot from the cat's mouth and he came running within 8 feet of us with Dee in hot pursuit! Obviously the cat was not mortally wounded and I was afraid for my dog. The chase went past us, back along the edge of the canyon, into the canyon, then to my amazement, Dee barked treed. Dean and I worked our way into the rough canyon as fast as we could. When we got to the tree, there was the huge cat in a tall pine tree. Dean quickly dispatched the cat and the excitement was over as quickly as it had started. We admired the cat for a half hour, then went up to try to find a way to get the horses into the canyon. At long last, we found a passage into the canyon and loaded (barely) the cat onto one of the horses. About this point it began snowing hard and we had a hard time finding the truck, finally at dark we broke out into the meadow that the truck was parked in and found the other three dogs comfortably laying in the dog box. We loaded up horses and dogs and relived the day's events over and over as we drove home through the six inches of fresh snow.

As you might guess, Dee was the best dog I have ever owned. She treed bear and lion alone on several occassions and I turned down lots of money for her. In 1995 she somehow got out of her pen and was poisoned. I buried her next to our house.

Also, as a sideline, this cat weighed 180 pounds, measured 8' 8" from nose to tail (skinned) and had a skull measurement of about 15 3/8". Dean was unable to enter this cat into the B&C book as the the first rifle shot broke the upper jaw of the cat which disqualified him from the book. Dean had his taxidermist do a full body mount on this cat and he sat in his livingroom until May of this year when Dean's house (and the lion) burned as a result of the Cerro Grande fire in Los Alamos, NM.

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[This message has been edited by Bear Creek Adventures (edited 01-04-2001).]
 
B

bcat

Guest
BCA-Great story!!! Nice tom, do ya have some more pics of him? Seven foot cats in this country (unskinnned) turn into 9 and a half fooot cats (skined) Depends how hard ya stretch them between two pickup trucks!!!!! Too bad about the Broken jaw, and the fire!! was it live mounted? Where was the other three dogs during the chase? Are those the dogs that you are selling? Sorry about your dog getting poisoined!!!! That pisses me off when somebody does that crap!!!! Post some more pics of this lion so we can see how BIG he really is!!!!! That picture doesnt do justice to a lion like that!!!! Keep up the good work and keep the pics and the stories coming.bcat

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B

bcat

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BCA-Once they get some age on em they get prety knarly looking! Just like old tom house cats only bigger! Dig up some more pics.bcat

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S

Shadowrider

Guest
BCA,
Great story. I didn't like the ending though. Did ya ever find out who did it?
You guys with your cat stories sure have gotten me interested in it. Before coming here and reading about all the excitement, I always dismissed cat hunting as ho hum. Boy am I wrong! Thanks to Moosie for putting in a place for these guys to share their stories and pix. SR
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Messages
198
Location
Pecos, NM, USA
Shadow,

I never found out who poisoned her. There are many feral dogs in this area and I figure someone put out antifreeze to get a few of them. The other hound that was in the same pen with Dee was also poisoned but amazingly we were able to save her. Believe it or not, the vet gave her an IV of burbon! I sure miss Dee, after I lost her it litterally took years to get my pack back togather.

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Mountain Boomer

New member
Joined
Dec 10, 2000
Messages
336
Location
Arkansas
Great Story BCA! I noticed the scares and torn ear first thing in the picture. That old boy must have been some kind of warrior.

When lions get old like that, is it normal for them to start feeding on easier prey such as cattle? Or, do they just kill one every now and then?

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Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Messages
198
Location
Pecos, NM, USA
Boomer,

Yes, many times they do begin looking for easier meals when they get old (or hungery). It is very unusual for lions to kill cattle though they have been known to kill horses, and particularly like colts. The primary staple for lion is deer. If there are no deer, they will kill elk, coyotes, rabbits, beavers and even porcupines!

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B

bcat

Guest
Mountain Boomer-Here in our area the lions tend to feed on the elk more than the deer. We have plenty of deer but we find way more elk kills than we do deer kills for some reason. They were pretty hard on the mountain sheep for a while to but we have hardly any sheep left to prey on now! Colts are definately a favorite and a few full grow horses have been torn up in the area by a lion. Sheep seem to catch he11 too further south of us near meeker and craig colorado. Usually females with kittens and young lions tho! Dont get me wrong they get their share of deer too, but they seem to like the elk. We caught a big tom one time, that I turned loose the dogs on the kill. It was a six point bull in good health. There were about three hundred head of elk that single filed below a big rock pile, the tracks in the snow told the tale!!! The lion lay in wait till every elk had passed, except the biggest bull in the bunch and jumped on it!!!! The only other tracks around besides the single file tracks of the whole herd were the ones where the lion was taking the big old boy down, and it really wasnt much of a tustle!!!! They seem to pick on the bigger deer also, I guess for the sport of it. THe old wivestail that predators only prey on the weak and the sick is a total LIE!!!!!! bcat

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