April 24, 2012
During the last week of March, 2012, I was in eastern Utah hunting with one of the best, if not the best, guides for mountain lion in North America. This hunt was scheduled and filmed to dispel a lot of myths about hound hunting.
Myth Number One
You have to have perfect snow conditions to get a mountain lion. While great snow conditions help with fast cruising for tracks and quick trailing by the dogs, if you're with the right people and the best pack of hounds, you don't need snow. We trailed a female and treed her for training and video on the first day of my hunt, however the snow was all gone and temperatures in the 70's the rest of the week as we hunted on dry ground and dirt. I was amazed at the tracking ability of the guides and how quickly they could identify a lion track in loose dirt, determine the age of the track, sex of the lion, and then decide where that lion was headed. They were amazing to watch and a pleasure to hunt with throughout the week.
|Steve West and his trophy cat |
Myth Number Two
The biggest lions are being found in British Columbia and Alberta. Not true, because big lions are found throughout the western states and Canadian provinces. You just need to hunt the right areas. My clients have taken huge record book lions in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, B.C., and Alberta over the years, and the biggest lion of them all was the one I shot this past weekend in eastern Utah.
Myth Number Three
Hounds can't trail as well on dry ground as they can in the snow. Well this might be true to a certain extent but I saw some pretty awesome hounds take off on a track, follow it half a mile, figure out the lion's back track, and trailed him into the rocks and jumped him two hours later. These dogs had amazing noses but more importantly they were smart dogs that were trying to think throughout the entire trailing process.
Actually shooting the lion was an anti-climatic ending to this hunt because it meant that working with the hounds was over and that I wouldn't get to do that anymore for another year. To make sure that I anchored the lion properly, I decided to use my CVA Accura V2 in .50 caliber and shoot 250 grain Powerbelt Aerolite bullets and topped the gun with a quick and easy to use Burris Fast Fire sight. This was the seventh animal in my quest to complete a second super slam of North America, only this time with a CVA muzzleloader and documenting the slam on video. The lion green scored enough to likely qualify him for entry into the all time B&C record books and place him well into the Long Hunter Record books as well. I have a special place in my home for this lion to be mounted as I remember him in the rocky hills of eastern Utah.
We plan to air this show later this year and it is some up close video of several mountain lions, including one collared lion, and several others that were bayed and released during our quest for the lion we now call Catzilla.
- Steve West, host of Steve's Outdoor Adventures TV