Mountain Lion hunting advice


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slabuda
August 23, 2010, 03:35 AM
Ok, so I got my Lion tag for here in Idaho (will hunt SW part of the state). Got it mainly if I see one out while deer/elk hunting.

I will be using my .45 colt with either CORBON JHP 200 grn JHP @1100fps or Buffalo Bore 325 grn LFN @ 1325. Not sure what would be the best choice. Although both probably get the job done well enough. During rifle season Ill also have my .270 WSM along with the pistol.

I wont be running dogs, so besides "stumbling" across one while out for deer/elk. How do I best go about this? No electronic calls in the areas I plan to hunt and no baiting allowed.

Would rabbit/varmint calls be a good idea? Any idea who makes a good fawn in distress mouth call? How about hunting over/near gut piles during deer season, dont think that would officially count as baiting?

I appreciate all the help I can get from those that have hunted them, especially with out dogs. I know my chances of seeing one are not too high, especially without dogs. But anything I can do to stack the deck in my favour.

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OYE
August 23, 2010, 04:16 AM
Look for fresh lion kills (best in winter). Will up your odds considerably.

JTH
August 23, 2010, 07:59 AM
Unless, the Cats are taking your live stock, why don't you leave the Mountain Lions alone. If you have trouble finding these cats, this makes a statement in itself. Their populations aren't over running any areas, that I know of. They're the last of the big cats in North America, why not give them a chance, unless they're taking meat and money away from you!! Want to make it a little more fair, try taking them with a bow!! What a shame.:cuss:
JT

dakotasin
August 23, 2010, 08:33 AM
here in sd the cats come to elk bugles during elk season. also try a rabbit in distress call - any hand blown call will likely work.

i wouldn't bother w/ hunting over the gut pile so much - more of a coyote thing.

its guys like jtx that got us stuck w/ the cats - outsiders applied pressure to the state to have the stupid things. now the elk and deer hunting is terrible in common areas, and of course the cats didn't stay where they were supposed to and they are branching out and killing livestock, hiding out under decks or on top of roofs of houses, etc.

for years gf&p said there weren't that many cats and they weren't a problem. now, finally gf&p has come around and admitted they may be a problem, and that there are too many, etc. they also have very little fear of humans, and defensive shootings happen on occasion. nothing like dragging your deer out after dark and you can hear a cat around, but can't see it, or trying to get your antelope out and having to cross a creek where you've seen a cat previously but now that its dark...

if you have developed your glassing skills at all, you will often times be able to find a cat where you are looking for deer, then you can arrange a stalk from there.

good luck, and hope you kill one.

birdshot8's
August 23, 2010, 08:55 AM
dakotasin, is right on. Idaho fish and game has a season for lions which means the population is healthy enough to allow a few to be killed.
it might not be a bad idea to put up a couple of trail cameras. i saw some video of a lion a deer hunter had recorded on his trail camera just west of north platte. since we don't have lions here it was interesting video. wishing you good hunting, and wishing i could tag along.

oneounceload
August 23, 2010, 09:57 AM
In NV, we would use dogs. In the Sierras, they were known to attack you from behind and above, (especially the cross-country skiers), so watch your back if you know one is around.

Justin Holder
August 23, 2010, 02:19 PM
JTX's statement = :eek: :barf:

Roughneck08
August 23, 2010, 03:05 PM
Definitely a comment from Austin... I have heard people putting hobbles on a kid goat out in a meadow and letting it graze while you're taking cover waiting...making fine bait drawing that cougar in. I don't know if baiting like that is legal however in your area.

Big Bill
August 23, 2010, 11:04 PM
Their populations aren't over running any areas, that I know of.Two of my friends worked on a Mountain Lion study for Idaho State University a few years ago. I guarantee there are plenty of Mountain Lions here in Southern Idaho. We need hunters to cull them or they overrun their territories. Besides, they are so allusive that seeing one accidentally is more probable that hunting one up without dogs. BTW, here's a couple of pictures of some of my hounds in training. BTW, slabuda - good luck with your hunt. PM me if you want any specific info.

Art Eatman
August 24, 2010, 12:48 AM
JTX, I hunted a tract of state land up above Fort Davis for a few years. One year there were more cougar tracks than deer tracks in an area where I'd regularly seen mulies. That year? No deer.

Down here in Terlingua, all I have to do to catch a cat is not burn the kitchen trash in my burn-pit, and sit and watch for a few nights. Or, hang a rag dipped in bacon grease on my south pasture fence and watch.

I was meddling around on a ranch some three miles north of my house, one afternoon. A scrape from a young mature lion, first. A mile away, the tracks of a mama and her cub. Another mile away from her tracks, there were the tracks near water from two grown lions. All laid down in the previous 24 hours, based on a return run the next day to check again on the tracks.

Tell ya what: You don't have to go to the far back country where I play. Just wander around my immediate vicinity at night and keep your ears open. You might wind up being #2 in the food chain. Me, I figure #1 is better.

Oh: A wounded rabbit call would likely work, but your shot might be at ten or twenty feet. :D

slabuda
August 24, 2010, 01:11 AM
I was meddling around on a ranch some three miles north of my house, one afternoon. A scrape from a young mature lion, first. A mile away, the tracks of a mama and her cub. Another mile away from her tracks, there were the tracks near water from two grown lions. All laid down in the previous 24 hours, based on a return run the next day to check again on the tracks.

Art that is A LOT of Cats in such a small area. I do know they are quite territorial and dont normally live that close to each other. There must have been LOTS of food around for them to be that close together.

Leanwolf
August 24, 2010, 02:19 AM
BIG BILL - "I guarantee there are plenty of Mountain Lions here in Southern Idaho. We need hunters to cull them or they overrun their territories."

Brother, you ain't kidding! And not just southern Idaho, but all over Idaho there are copious Mountain lions. And Black bears. And some Grizzlies. And lots of large wolves.

JTX, perhaps you don't see Mountain lions where you live, but there are more than plenty here in Idaho. Lots of them. In fact, in almost all the State, Mountain lion season opens on August 30, and does not close until March 31. In the far northern part of the Idaho panhandle, the season opens Sept. 15 and closes Feb. 15.

In a few units listed by Id. F&G, there are quotas on killing female lions, the highest being 22 and lowest being 3. Other units there are no restrictions on male or female.

In a few units, a second tag can be bought and if one is lucky and hunts hard, two lions may be killed.

So, don't believe all that PETA crap and HSUS and Defenders of Wildlife bull ...oney. They lie like rugs.

BTW, anyone who hunts lions, whether with dogs or stalking, had better have some very good legs and lungs, 'cause it is a killer running up and down these Rocky Mountains trying to catch a lion.

I've eaten Mountain lion meat from four different lions, one killed in Calif., before the banning of hunting them by people who think like JTX, one killed in Arizona, and two killed here in Idaho. Taken care of just as any wild game should be handled, it is excellent meat. (No, it does not taste like chicken.)

L.W.

slabuda
August 24, 2010, 03:21 AM
Leanwolf,

I heard cats taste good and yeah you aint kidding about all of those animals. There are not too many Griz, but I think more than F&G let on too. And as far as the wolves.....WAY out of control!!! STUPID...STUPID...STUPID Decision to stop the hunting!!! Just because Wyo cant get their crap together...

I think in my area the female quotas are 10 and 6. I know the general area of one cat, and a specific area where a female was killed and also nearby a mate/LARGE tom. Hoping he is still there.

And yes, I hope to do this better when the snow flies and the game comes on down because walking those slopes doesnt sound fun in deep snow. Who knows maybe craigslist will have some snow shoes come Dec?



BigBill,

Ill be in touch....
I bet them dogs make an awful racket!!!!!

jleyring
August 24, 2010, 03:39 AM
Unless, the Cats are taking your live stock, why don't you leave the Mountain Lions alone. If you have trouble finding these cats, this makes a statement in itself. Their populations aren't over running any areas, that I know of. They're the last of the big cats in North America, why not give them a chance, unless they're taking meat and money away from you!! Want to make it a little more fair, try taking them with a bow!! What a shame.

There is no shortage of Cougars in the Northwest. There coming into town and casing problems. A friend of mine has had 2 pigs get taken. States are putting so many restrictions on hunting them that they are getting over populated.

As for shooting one I would say maybe a rabbit distress call or a fawn in distress call if you want to try and call it in. They are very hard to walk up on. The gut pile might be a great option also. Good luck and let us know how it goes for you.

JTH
August 24, 2010, 07:22 AM
Thanks guys for setting me straight. I honestly had no idea that Cougars were that prevelant in the U.S. I thought their population numbers were in danger. I can understand, thinning them out if they are taking livestock. I have heard about a few attacks on hikers and bikers.

Maybe my sensitivity to the Big Cat's plight was due to I kept a young Cougar for a person from down in Brownsville for about 6 months back in the late 70's, who was busted for smuggling Parrots in from Mexico. I also kept a young Jaguar also. Me and a friend built cages for the cats and fed them raw chicken. This was over 30 years ago and it seemed like a cool thing to do at the time, which turned into a PITA. The Cougar is a feline and the Jaguar is a panther. They were kept totally separated, mainly do to if the Jaguar(who was really a much more docile cat but could have probably killed the Cougar due to it out weighed the Cougar by 40 lbs) they were 40 lb. kittens when I got them. I was really glad when he got out of jail and came a picked up his cats!!! Needless to say it was a real experience. When the owner picked up his cats the Female Cougar weighed about 60 lbs. and the Female Jaguar weighed 105 lbs. The Cougar had a killer instinct especially anything under her height size. The Jag was really laid back, loved the water and you could handle and play with her, she was more like a big dog as far as being able to handle her.
JT

Zoogster
August 24, 2010, 02:55 PM
"Prevalent" is really discretionary. Modern people are used to casual sightings of wildlife, and very sparse populations.
A single city has more people than the woods of an entire state has of most animals.
With many animals a single mid size city has more people than the number of animals of a given species that exist in the entire United States. (Grizzlies, wolves, etc)

Hundreds of years ago massive herds of deer, elk, buffalo and other species migrated hundreds of miles by the hundreds of thousands.
Most of the Western United States had a grizzly bear over every hill.

When compared to today nothing is "prevalent" in modern times.
Being able to find one of an animal species in hundreds or thousands of acres of woods is a joke compared to the density of life that there once was.
Today there is "too many" if there is even enough to cause a few individuals to wander into a human developed area.
Migrations over hundreds of miles that were once common in herd and pack species don't happen, because there is so few, and they certainly are not crossing the interstates or numerous private fences as a herd. So they are much more sickly and weak than before.

I have seen dense life, especially diving before many of the seas started getting raped by overfishing and gill netting, bottom trawling and other commercial activity more recently.
What passes for "prevalent" on land in the woods today is a joke. Isolated individuals trying to carve out a meager living and going weeks without seeing another of their own species.
Lewis and Clark would certainly not considering what passes as prevalent today to even be thriving, and they traveled through America after the French trappers had been doing almost nothing but hunting (their prime interest in the Americans) for decades in the Louisiana Territory (about 1/3 of the US, and the Russians had long been busy along the Pacific Coast slaughtering anything with fur. So Lewis and Clark they didn't see the true density.

A pile of just Bison skulls waiting to be ground into fertilizer, such numbers were routinely processed:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Bison_skull_pile%2C_ca1870.png
The skins were taken, the meat left to rot, and the bones gathered after.
Passenger pigeons once had flocks a mile wide and 300 miles long that would block out the sun for days when they flew over. Estimated as the most numerous bird on the planet, centered in the United States. Now extinct.
There is dozens of examples.
Nothing except a few rodent species are anything like what they once were. So "prevalent" is all in the eye of the beholder.

Victor1Echo
August 24, 2010, 06:29 PM
I have read that they are good eating? anyone taste one? Here in California it is illegal to hunt them. Instead, the Fish and game hire private hunters to desroy the problem cats. Watch the movie "Counting Sheep" to understand the nonsense we deal with in California.

Supertac45
August 24, 2010, 07:09 PM
They are nothing but skilled killers. If they could have been hunted to extinction, this would have happen about a hundred years ago. They elude most humans without a thought and kill any game animal they want. Couple them with the wolf, and say goodbye to all big game hunting in the U.S. in ten years.

H&Hhunter
August 24, 2010, 09:51 PM
Zoogster,

Thank you very much for that informative lecture on wildlife conservation. None of us here I am sure were aware of the plight of the passenger pigeon or the American Bison before your introduction above.:rolleyes:

Also please be aware that the one and ONLY reason that we have any wildlife left in fact hugely rebounding and healthy numbers of wildlife is because of Hunting and the funds that it brings in to keep land wild and herds managed to healthy levels.

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y187/GTAllyn/Scan_Pic0034.jpg

PS. I have in past worked with various state agencies on predator control programs. there are places where the lion population is high enough that species like bighorn sheep have been totally decimated. Once they get below a certain level they need help to come back. So your high handed comments about wildlife populations have some basis in truth they are in fact incorrect in many areas.

Big Bill
August 24, 2010, 11:30 PM
Oh: A wounded rabbit call would likely work, but your shot might be at ten or twenty feet.Or, you may not even see it coming.BigBill,

Ill be in touch....
I bet them dogs make an awful racket!!!!! Yea! They used to make a heck of a racket back when I had them. I quit when the govt got so involved with the whole situation. But, I still know where to go.

Big Bill
August 24, 2010, 11:39 PM
Zoogster - around here, these days, a mature lion needs a territory of about ten square miles in order to survive. So, they run off or kill any young lions in their area. They don't have any natural enemies except humans. So, they need to be hunted to stabalize the population.

bshnt2015
September 4, 2010, 01:01 AM
Here's an cougar story for you.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/01/MNV41F6FIP.DTL&type=printable

Cougar killed near Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

(08-31) 22:04 PDT BERKELEY -- Berkeley police shot and killed a mountain lion early Tuesday as it roamed a neighborhood around the city's famous Gourmet Ghetto for at least an hour, leaping over fences from one backyard to another.

Three officers shot and killed the 100-pound adult female with rifles and a shotgun shortly before 3:30 a.m. outside a home on the 1600 block of Walnut Street, just blocks from Chez Panisse restaurant, the flagship Peet's Coffee store, the Cheese Board Collective and other businesses along busy Shattuck Avenue in North Berkeley.

Residents speculated that the mountain lion had been hunting for deer, which are commonly seen in the area. But Patrick Foy, a state Department of Fish and Game warden, said it was unclear what the cougar was doing in a residential neighborhood, a baguette's throw from the birthplace of California cuisine. There were no signs that it had killed any domestic pets, he said.

The nearest open space is Tilden Regional Park, more than a mile east of where the cougar was killed.

'Very odd'
"We found no reason why it should have been there," Foy said. "It's a very odd situation. It's just very unusual."

Authorities plan to perform a necropsy on the animal.

Police decided to shoot the cougar because it was jumping into the backyards of residential homes, near where night-shift workers could be coming and going and homeless people were sleeping, Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said.

"It would be irresponsible not to consider this a public-safety threat," Kusmiss said.

Dana Michaels, a Fish and Game spokeswoman, agreed that it was a prudent decision to kill a mountain lion running loose "in the heart of Berkeley."

"That's right in line with our policy," Michaels said. "If an animal becomes a threat to public safety, you do what you have to, to remove it. It's nice if you can remove it without killing it, but that wasn't the case apparently this time."

Spotted in parking lot
The incident began at 2:13 a.m. when someone called 911 to report that a mountain lion was in the parking lot of the former Elephant Pharmacy near the corner of Shattuck and Cedar Street. The building is now vacant.

When officers arrived, the big cat ran east on Cedar and then south on Spruce Street, where it jumped a fence and entered the playground of All Souls Episcopal Church, Kusmiss said.

It then jumped another fence into the backyard of a home on the 1600 block of Spruce and moved back west to Oxford Street. But it didn't stay there long, and hopped more fences before turning up another block to the west, in the backyard of a home on Walnut.

Two officers with .223-caliber rifles shot the lion, but it's unclear whether they hit the cat. The mountain lion then moved into an adjoining backyard, where a third officer with a shotgun killed it.

Daniel Turman, 42, who lives on Oxford, said he saw the lion from 20 feet away shortly after it had been killed. Its eyes were closed and its mouth was partly open, he said. "It was clearly a large cat, 100 pounds and 4 to 5 feet long," Turman said. "There was no doubt in my mind that it would pose a significant threat to a human being."

Charlie Ward, 28, said she was awakened by a legion of police officers banging on her door. They told her that a mountain lion was in her backyard and asked if they could go to her deck to shoot it.

"I was kind of surprised that such a big animal would be running around a suburban street. I was sad that it had to be killed, but kind of surprised," Ward said.

Ciairra Charlesworth, 38, who described herself as a "chronic insomniac," said she was awake at 3:30 a.m. when she heard three shots fired.

She said she's seen skunks, opossums and rats on her property, but never a mountain lion.

"To have something like that happen is very scary," Charlesworth said. "It makes me think that the animal either had to be pretty sick or very hungry to come down this far, because it's so close to people."

It wasn't the first time officers in the Bay Area have killed a mountain lion in the middle of a town.

In 2004, Palo Alto police shot a cougar in a residential neighborhood far from the hills where the animals typically live. Two years later, a Fish and Game warden shot a cougar that had wandered into a Pleasanton condominium complex.

Berkeley police called Fish and Game early Tuesday, Foy said, but wardens weren't able to get there before the animal was shot.

Police on their own
Wardens have a large area to cover and it can take them a while to arrive, so local police are often on their own, Foy said.

"In the case of this mountain lion that showed up in an area that was completely unnatural for that lion to be there, hopping from one backyard to the next, running through the church playground and the parking lot, it's a threat to public safety," Foy said. "We're very supportive of Berkeley PD's action."

Game wardens have some of the same problems as local police in dealing with a large animal, Foy said.

"We have some tools that are available that most police departments don't have," Foy said, "but they're not as accessible as you might think. Our wardens don't generally carry dart guns around or large nets or that kind of thing for wildlife captures."

Fish and Game officials add that tranquilizer guns don't always have the desired effect of bringing a big cat down. Tranquilizers don't take effect for up to 30 minutes, during which the animal can continue to roam and pose a threat to people, officials say.


E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

gearchecker
September 4, 2010, 01:27 AM
Plenty of Cougars up here north of Coeur d'Alene. My wife has seen one and I've seen plenty of track around the area. Friend's out hunting have reported seeing them on a regular basis. One is on a friends game room floor. It got there after attacking him and killing his dog. I know a rancher that has had his horses jumped by cougars up here. I've seen a couple cougars hanging on his fence shortly after his horses were attacked.
We have all the 3 of the top predators up here, and the big game animals are becoming fewer and farther in-between.
Careful management of the Mountain Lions/Cougars is not only agood idea it keeps everything in balance. There's no plan to eliminate them, that would be stupid. We nneed to keep their numbers in balance with all the other wildlife here.

Good luck getting your Elk.

slabuda
September 4, 2010, 05:14 AM
Yea Im trying for that Elk!!! Also a mulie. I didnt grow up hunting as my father wasnt a hunter, even though I desperately wanted too.

I spent 3 months in Idaho back in 1991 and fell in love with it. Made it back for two years in 1996 but couldnt hunt due to deployments and getting married (what a nightmare!!) Well it took 9 yrs overseas (8 in the UK and a remote vol to Korea to get my best chance back here. Took 3 season to finally make it out due to a neck surgery for a bruised cord and family visits during hunting season.

Ive hunted birds/fowl/varmint, but this is 1st year big game. And tell you what bow hunting is a blast!!! I could have easily filled my deer tag and quite possibly filled the Elk with a rifle already. Its tons of fun, spot and stalk hunting as you go from ridge to ridge. Trying to make a stalk walking on ground that sounds like corn flakes. Being within bow range but having too much brush then getting busted :)

On a side note, Its creepy walking up a mountain where cougars have been known to roam at 0530 on your own in a dense pine grove!!!! Glad I got that blackhawk in .45 colt now! Just hope I dont need it!! And if I do I hope I can reach it :)

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