Mountain Lions 101


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lizziedog1
March 26, 2011, 08:57 AM
I know I have another thread started here about Mountain Lions. This is a more generic thread. If you read my other thread, you know that I have a tag for these creatures. I don't plan on hunting them on purpose, but people have run into them around here. If I see one within range I am going to take the shot.

Who has ever hunted cougars? Who has ever bagged one?

How difficult of a creaturea are they to kill? Is there a minimum caliber consideration? Our state regulations state that any centerfire, 22 caliber or larger, is legal. So, is a 223 or 22-250 powerful enough? Where is the best spot to aim at on one?

Lets say I get lucky and nail one. What next? Do I field dress the animal like I would a deer? Is the meat even palatable? What if I want to make a throw rug out of the hide?

I know there are books and websites that I can look up. But I want to hear from you guys that have actuall field experince.

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Cob
March 26, 2011, 10:22 PM
I've only seen one "panther" in my life, in the wild, and they are protected in FL, and on the T&E list with USFW.

I do not have any advice on harvesting one, only shoot with accuracy, and kill the magnificent creature as quickly and humanely as possible. I would go with a cartidge larger than what you have listed.

H&Hhunter
March 26, 2011, 11:15 PM
I've killed about a couple Mt Lions and was a professional guide specializing in cats and bear and have guided at least a dozen hunters to cat kills.

Cats are super soft but I'd not use a .22 center fire on one given the choice I'd step up to a .243 minimum if you are not treeing them. If you are treeing them a .22 CF will be fine. Shoot them right behind the shoulder for a heart lung shot. The heart and lungs is a bit further back than on a deer. If treed get under them and shoot them in the white throat patch just down from the chin.

If you get lucky on one you need to know how to skin it for a flat skin rug. I won't try to describe it here but it's not all the hard. The meat tastes much like pork and is very palatable. There are only three way to hunt a cat. The productive way is use hounds. The less productive way is to call with a predator call and the flat lucky almost never happens way is dumb luck and run into one during the daylight hours and having enough time to see identify and shoot one. Which is next to impossible.

A couple of king sized toms for your viewing pleasure.

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

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

Pacsd
March 26, 2011, 11:35 PM
I don't hunt them myself but, I have several buddies that do and are quite successful. We have a season/quota on them however once a certain amount of females are killed the season is over unless the quota is filled with a mix of toms and females. Dogs are not allowed but, the state will use dogs to track down a nuisance cat. Some guys will cut a track in the snow and take off after them or sit and use the distress calls or even stumble across one of thier kills and sit it out. The license comes with a recipe for cooking them. One guy nailed one over a kill with a bow this year. Most guys use thier deer/elk calibers and .22 centerfires. Several cats are taken out every year after being too familiar with residential areas, threatening live stock, pets or people. And who knows how many have fallen to SSS.

H&Hhunter
March 27, 2011, 12:11 AM
Pacsd,

Where is "here", what state are you in?

Ex
March 27, 2011, 12:39 AM
Here in Arizona, there is no where that mountain lions don't range. Az issues 250-350 permits /yr.

My question is survival related.

Scenario: Tent camping in mountains. Confronted by mountain lion or bear.

Weapon at hand:
Glock G29 10mm

Ammo:
Full power 10mm loads.
Would you choose JHP or FJM or perhaps alternate rounds in the magazine?

H&Hhunter
March 27, 2011, 12:52 AM
JHP would be fine on light skinned light boned critters like a Mt lion or a Black Bear.

Ex
March 27, 2011, 12:56 AM
Thanks H&H. I had also heard that if you ever have to stop a charging bear, go for the front shoulder blades. Any truth to that?

H&Hhunter
March 27, 2011, 01:19 AM
Go for anything you can get and keep firing. It's pretty tough to pick your shots during a true life charge. About the best you can hope for is putting them into the front half.

Art Eatman
March 27, 2011, 11:49 AM
H&H pretty well covered the subject, but I'll add my 2 about the meat: Truly Tasty! Slow-cook barbecue a ham, and seriously yummy!

burninfuel
March 27, 2011, 12:21 PM
I have been told that the early settlers prefered cougar over venison.
I would use a 243, but I'm a varmint caller and use a 223, haven't called one in yet but my game offical said "I would suggest a tag so you can get it shot"

Pacsd
March 27, 2011, 04:42 PM
H & H, "here' is in western So. Dakota, near Mt Rushmore.

Pacsd
March 27, 2011, 04:51 PM
I thought I'd post this just for a few chuckles. A few weeks ago Fish & Game were in a chopper above our State Park wanting to dart a few elk for research. They darted a cow. The tonic was working as the elk began to stumble about then settled down in some brush near a stand of trees. Much to their surprize a lion comes out of the trees and nails the elk. Last week a lion was taken in that area and they are thinking it was the same one that found that easy meal. Two things here; did the residual of the tonic have an affect on the cat and will choppers be a dinner bell much as a rifle shot is to bear?

Pacsd
March 27, 2011, 04:53 PM
H & H, BTW.....nice pics of the cats. Thanks for postin' them.

Cob
March 27, 2011, 05:18 PM
H&H, I've looked at anumber of the pics you have posted, including moutain lions, Gnu in Boo Karoo, Caribou, read some of your posts on Africa...

It looks as if you have had an excellent hunting career, and enjoy reading the posts.

H&Hhunter
March 27, 2011, 09:06 PM
Cob,

Thanks I'm glad you enjoy reading my stuff.:)

harrygunner
March 29, 2011, 09:01 PM
Don't hunt them, but I've seen two over the years. One a hundred yards away, the other way too close. All in California.

This weekend, I hiked in a nearby mountain range after recent rainy days. Saw perfect mountain lion tracks along with tracks of at least one cub.

I know my 10mm will stop one if I see it in time. Periodically check my 'six' and pay attention to sounds.

I might climb that area again to take a couple of photos of scratches I saw at the edge of the trail. That day was still overcast and drizzly, so I did not take my camera.

In addition to the foot prints and long thin, shiny black scat, I saw long parallel scratches in the dirt. I saw the scratches before seeing the prints, but I stopped since they were unusual.

Saw four parallel lines about eight inches long with a total width of about four inches. One end veered in direction for about another three inches. The other end was off-trail in the grass. That grass was torn up.

The lines were very parallel, but I could not attribute them to human effort. After seeing the other cat signs, I figured these could have been a mountain lion marking territory.

Pacsd
March 29, 2011, 10:40 PM
Another cat was taken in the state park yesterday by a 15 year old lad accompanied by his dad. A 86 pound 1-2 year old tom. They had set up a fawn decoy and a fawn-distress call, turned it on and began walking back to thier near by blind when the lion appeared about 50 yards away in a fast walk toward the decoy. The youngster shouldered the rifle and downed the cat.

GWARGHOUL
March 30, 2011, 11:59 AM
I have to ask with so many big cats populations.. WHY?

If you see it, it already knows you are there and has decided to look away. Why take a shot at it, if you aren't going to eat it?

This absolutely enrages me.

H&Hhunter
March 30, 2011, 12:20 PM
I have to ask with so many big cats populations.. WHY?

GWARGHOUL,

I guess I don't understand your question? Are you saying we shouldn't hunt cats because there are so many of them?

You do realize that the controlled quota systems on big cats is an important management tool right? That conservation managers depend on the take set every year for management reason. Or were you under the false urbanized impression that Mt Lions were on the brink of extinction. If so come on out with me and I'll show you just how many cats there really are in the Rocky Mt region of the US. Most people don't have a clue just how many cats are living right in the same neighborhood as they don't know what to look for. Once you learn cat sign you see it everywhere but it takes a trained eye.

By your logic do have to eat coyotes if you shoot them too?

birddog
March 30, 2011, 12:58 PM
I don't plan on hunting them on purpose, but people have run into them around here. If I see one within range I am going to take the shot.

I'm a big game hunter...and would probably go hunt them. But your logic here seems a little flawed. "Don't plan on hunting them", but would "take the shot". In my experience, a poorly thought out hunt can mean (for whatever reason) a poorly executed shot. If you don't want to hunt them, don't just use them for target practice because you see one. Save them for someone who would truly enjoy the experience of hunting such a magnificent creature.

Don't take this to be anti-killing of cougars. It's not. I'm a bear and deer hunter, and have no problem with someone killing a puma. I just like to see more thoughtfulness go into the taking of big game than the OP exhibits.

GWARGHOUL
March 30, 2011, 04:38 PM
In Missouri, our population of native pumas has been virtually extinct..down to I believe 2 sightings in the last decade. Guess what... they shot both.

That upsets me.

In area where they are plentiful, and you plan on using what you kill (food, clothing, etc).. OK....

I'm not Urban by any means, if that was some sort of low shot. But I do come from a family of hunters who track, and hunt for food. I've been taught to not kill unless you are going to eat, or there is a danger to you or your livestock. Makes sense to me.

As far as "not planning on hunting but will shoot if I see one".. there is a serious logical fallacy involved here.

Its target practice, and quite unfair logic in respect to nature.

WardenWolf
March 30, 2011, 05:21 PM
Here in Arizona, there is no where that mountain lions don't range. Az issues 250-350 permits /yr.

My question is survival related.

Scenario: Tent camping in mountains. Confronted by mountain lion or bear.

Weapon at hand:
Glock G29 10mm

Ammo:
Full power 10mm loads.
Would you choose JHP or FJM or perhaps alternate rounds in the magazine?

I'm planning to carry a sidearm while hunting Turkey in a couple of months. Arizona Game and Fish told me I couldn't have FMJ in my sidearm. I'm not sure if that applies if you're just camping. I'm going to be carrying a Tokarev, so I'm not too worried about penetration on a mountain lion even with hollowpoints.

As for bear, I'd definitely choose FMJ. You don't want to be carrying hollowpoints in ANY pistol caliber when dealing with a bear. I'm going to have my Mosin Nagant in camp loaded with 203 grain soft points. Never shot a bear before, but I know that load will work well.

Ole Humpback
March 30, 2011, 05:54 PM
GWARGHOUL,

I grew up south of Kansas City in MO. Out there and farther to the South my dad would from time to time see signs of cougars in that area of the state and people that I hunted with also pointed out signs of cougars in the deep woods of the Ozarks.

Yes, they aren't there in the numbers they used to be. But they also aren't gone like you think. At the rate farm raised elk are escaping in southern MO, I wouldn't be surprised if the cougar is doing just fine down there. I hope that they reintroduce elk there. Some of the best hunting land in the world is in the Ozarks.

tbone3
March 30, 2011, 06:57 PM
That's just what they are doing i beleive! I read about elk restoration in a recent Missouri Conservationist magazine. I think they were reintroducing them in the Peck Ranch Conservation Area or something like that.

H&Hhunter
March 30, 2011, 09:25 PM
I'm not Urban by any means, if that was some sort of low shot.

GWARGHOUL

You can feel free to take that anyway you want, it's a free country. The point being however ,that the only people who think the American Mt Lion are a scarce species are the ill educated about wildlife and they tend to be urbanized. We tend to get that out here too with the new comers and the urban idiots who move out of town. Right up until the day they come home and find fluffy has been killed and consumed in their back yard by the scarce and noble Mt Lion. Or they find one sleeping on the back porch. It happens all the time.

In area where they are plentiful, and you plan on using what you kill (food, clothing, etc).. OK....

They are plentiful all over the inter mountain west in fact they can be a down right PITA sometimes. That does not make them gregarious however and unintended sighting during the daytime are rare. People mistake that for low population. We've also established that they are edible though state game laws do not enforce the salvage of lion meat just like they don't establish the salvage of coyote meat. So I'll ask the question again, do you eat coyotes that you kill?

I've eaten lion but I wouldn't make a second trip into the back country to salvage the meat off of one. I do however take the hides with head and claws attached. They make a very interesting trophy rug.

I don't buy the false morality of if you kill it you have to eat it. There are some animals made for eating and that is why we hunt them there are others that we hunt for others reasons such as conservation issues, population control and depredation issues. The lion falls the second category and happen to be edible but sustenance is not why we hunt the lion.

There are areas of NM and AZ that have 90% Mt sheep lamb mortality due to lion depredation. I worked for as a hunter for an outfit that was contracted by the state of NM to hunt lions in one of those areas back in the 90's. We didn't eat a single cat that we killed. I'm OK with that.

Ole Humpback
April 8, 2011, 03:10 PM
tbone3:

http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/hunting/2010/07/elk-hunting-missouri-one-step-closer-reality

http://mdc.mo.gov/landwater-care/animal-management/elk-restoration

joshk-k
April 8, 2011, 05:12 PM
I assume a .30-30 is enough for a good sized cougar?

pat86323
April 8, 2011, 06:22 PM
"Here in Arizona, there is no where that mountain lions don't range. Az issues 250-350 permits /yr."

where did you come up with that statistic? The tags are over the counter non permit tags. I guarantee at least 10x that many tags are sold.

wow6599
April 9, 2011, 12:31 AM
Elks brought back by the MCD, as Ole Humpback pointed out with his link.
And GWARGHOUL, there are a lot more cats in Missouri than you realize and more than 2 sighting in the last decade - http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/wildlife-sightings/mountain-lions/confirmed-sightings

p35
April 9, 2011, 12:38 AM
Here's a cougar attack a couple days ago on the outskirts of Tacoma, Washington:

Animal control looking into how East Side family's pet goats, rabbits were killed overnight

Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/crime/2011/04/06/animal-control-looking-into-how-east-side-familys-pet-goats-rabbits-were-killed-overnight/#ixzz1IzeoUeoK


Best piece of wisdom I've ever heard about them:

"For every time you see one, he's seen you twenty."

Gaiudo
April 9, 2011, 12:14 PM
As for the ad-hoc approach to hunting lion, I've got no problem with it within the Colorado context, same as for black bear. If I'm hunting elk and the add on tags are inexpensive, I'd love to take one if I happen to see one. Last time up my wife and I tracked a bear for a couple hours just for the fun of it as we were spotting for elk. For those of us that live close to the rockies I don't buy that every hunt needs to be planned out to the tee. As for the logic of leaving them for those who want to hunt them... Unfortunately there aren't enough hunters interested these days anyways, and at least around the Aspen area the argument could be made that hunters should ALWAYS have a lion tag just to take responsibility for population control. These days, with the majority of funding for management coming through hunters, not buyng lion tags or understanding the situation involved with managing them could be construed as saying 'I don't hunt lion, not my problem what happens to them'. Produces the opposite effect of the management of a healthy population the naysayers here would like to see happen.

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