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Lion Chronicles 2005 - Continued

Page 1 of Lion Chronicles 2005

We were lucky that we had no injuries and a fine trophy. After the skinning we headed back to the goat kill. I had to chop the head of off the billy with my hatchet as it had warmed up to 5°. A successful hunt with two fine trophies.

It was too late to get back to the B-C Ranch that night, so we spent another sub-zero night in the nylon freezer. The next day I had to head back to Washington to my second job, horseshoeing. On the way home I checked in with Karla, my wife. Wouldn’t you know it; I had drawn the Washington hound hunter permit.

This hunt had a quota on it and as soon as that quota was filled the hunt was over. Well, I got on the phone and called all of my clients, explained the situation and postponed my appointments, hot damn I was getting to go chase more mountain lions!

I got home about midnight and was up at 5:00 to go hunting. This day I took Roscoe, my old Walker hound, and Bonnie. I live in Northeast Washington and after nine years of no mountain lion hunting, the mountain lion population is high. I left my house and walked over Pisgah Mt., which we live at the base of. Roscoe struck a track three miles from the house and the race was on.

They finally caught the mountain lion in Scotia Canyon above the Chain lakes. This area is typical habitat for a mountain lion. It’s steep and rugged country. The mountain lion Roscoe and Bonnie had treed was a big one. I was using the same revolver and the same load as three days previously, only this time I made a better shot and dropped him clean.

Upon skinning, I found that this mountain lion had been shot in the jaw at some previous time and had only one top canine tooth left. It sure didn’t affect his hunting ability; he was fat as a tick. Other than the missing teeth he was a healthy five-year-old mountain lion. He scored 14 ¾. If he hadn’t been shot in the jaw I’m sure he would have made the Boone and Crockett Scorebook.

Washington is a two mountain lion tag state, but I had to wait until after January 1 before I could be issued another permit. Scouting no matter what animal you are hunting is essential and fun. I called the local conservation officer and he told me about some areas with cougar sightings up north on Winchester peak. This is good Whitetail winter range and there were two mountain lions working this area, probably a breeding pair. I was pretty certain that they would stay in the area. I just had to wait and hope the quota did not fill up before I received my second permit.

My wife was happy that I was back to horseshoeing. Hunting mountain lions without paid clients doesn’t pay the bills. Karla called me on a Friday afternoon with bad news for the mountain lions, but good news for my dogs and I. I had my second mountain lion hunting permit.

I loaded up Sally and Mindy, and off to Winchester Peak we went. We hunted hard all day but we couldn’t find any fresh sign. I decided to side-hill around above a cattle ranch where I had permission to hunt. Sally and Mindy opened up and the chase was on again.

I was on snowshoes and the going was tough and slow. The dogs were out of hearing range and in the heavy timber. I was starting to run out of daylight and I was pushing hard to catch up. I finally heard the dogs down below in a deep draw barking treed. All right, I knew I was going make before dark.

The mountain lion was treed way up in a huge Douglass Fir with only a frontal shot available. I was using my .357 again and I was wishing that I had a .45 with me or at least some good heavy semi wad cutters as I had lost some confidence in those hollow points. After hooking up the dogs I laid back in a good Elmer Keith position, shooting between my knees and let her rip. Down came the mountain lion, and off it goes dragging a front leg. I’d busted a shoulder on the mountain lion. I unhooked the dogs and away they went over a small ridge, where all hell broke loose. The snow was three feet deep, but I had to get there fast before I had torn up dogs.

Sally and Mindy had treed the mountain lion in a dead Lodge pole that was laying horizontal five feet of off the ground. I thought what a great picture that would make so I moved in to fifteen yards and tried to take a picture of a very pissed off mountain lion. The only thing that saved us was that broken shoulder. The mountain lion couldn’t swat at the dogs without falling of off the tree. I finally got my picture, but what to do. I had to kill this mountain lion clean or it would fall on top of my dogs and we’d have one big mess. So, I lined up with the shoulder and up to the spine, said a prayer and squeezed her off. Down it went; dead before it hit the ground with the dogs right on top, chewing her up. This was a prime, healthy female mountain lion about seven and a ½ years old. She was one of the biggest females I have ever seen.

What a mountain lion hunting season. I’d had more fun than a twelve-week-old hound pup with you favorite house slippers. My hound dogs made me proud and were great companions on some exciting adventures. Together we’d taken two mountain lions for our hunters and three Mountain Lions for myself in 2004.

Middle Fork Outfitters offer Mountain Lion Hunts in a true wilderness setting with a high chance of success. If you want some stories about mountain lion hunting with clients go to our Middle Fork Chronicle pages and enjoy the adventure.

Back to Page 1 of Lion Chronicles 2005


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