Mountain Lion…..I have to take a deep breath even telling the story, just the thought of this hunt takes my breath away. There are only a few predators that rank in this category when you are face to face with one there is one thing you will remember, the eyes, they cannot be described. Whether it be a bear, a wolf, or a mountain lion it is unlike other hunts.
I have heard about the stare of the mountain lion, and I wanted to see it for myself. I have wanted so badly to hunt the predator that, given a chance, would hunt me. I couldn’t wait to stand under the “lion tree” and face the lion that would take my life in a heartbeat. Seeing those eyes stare through me like I was as little a threat as anything else he encountered, This is it the opportunity to hunt a mountain lion.
I never thought my lion hunt would come this early in my super-slam quest but I am grateful for every second of this opportunity. There are more reasons than just a super-slam requirement to hunt a predator. Predators need population control it is estimated that a full-size male mountain lion can eat approx 50 deer a year. This along with the experience, the knowledge, the conservation efforts, and the opportunity to hunt the hunter is something not everyone gets to do.
Hunting a mountain lion is far different than any other hunt I have experienced. The excitement I felt the day of the hunt isn’t something I can even explain to you. There is so much to consider, so much to learn, so much on the line each time I go out and this hunt is no different.
I cant project to you all of the feelings of excitement, anxiousness, concern, and disappointment that I felt on this hunt or tell you the entire story here on my blog, but I do want to give you a summary of it. One of the most important keys to my hunts is the guide or outfitter I choose. They always have such an impact on me; I put all of my trust in them to guide me and teach me how to hunt in an area for an animal whose patterns I am unfamiliar with. On this hunt, I had the opportunity to hunt with and learn from some of the best in the field. I was able to be successful in my harvest and made some lifelong friends while doing so.
At the start of my trip, I flew into Albuquerque New Mexico which was still three hours from camp. I was met by a dear friend of mine Blake Marshall from King of Eights Outfitters out of Texas. We had both traveled a long way, Blake had driven 10 hours swung out of his way to pick me up, and we started our journey to camp. .
We arrived at camp quite late and had a quick meeting with my guide, Cody Milton. We were all tired it was about 11 pm, and we had to get up at 4:30 am to hunt. We made introductions quick, found our places, and finally settled in around midnight. Morning came fast, and breakfast smelled good, coffee was brewing and the chatter of getting the dogs around and talk about the plan for the day made any thought of being exhausted disappear. I was introduced to DJ at breakfast, DJ taught me a lot over the next few days about tracking lions. We had a good crew and we were ready, I loaded up my gear, grabbed my bags, and headed to the truck while the rest of the hunting gear and dogs were loaded.
I have hunted coyotes, raccoons, and hogs with hounds. I have also had the opportunity to watch and speak with many houndsman but having the chance to watch the working relationship between Cody and his hounds was quite an experience.
Cody has been hunting with hounds for bear and mountain lion most of his life as did his father. I was told by a New Mexico fish and game commission officer “Cody is one of the only guys he has ever seen track a cat on dry ground.” Watching Cody track was unbelievable at times he would see tracks in the dirt just driving down a dirt road.