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2014 AZ Archery Lion
Jojoba posted a topic in Mountain LionYesterday I crossed one off the bucket list. Had the pleasure of pursuing and harvesting a beautiful tom mountain lion with stick and string. Got a call from my friend Wade of http://killerlionhunts.com/ and he asked me if I wanted to hunt a good size tom that he has been patterning for quite some time -- of course I jumped at the opportunity! We picked up the track and began trailing at 5:30 am. The dogs were hot on the trail and pulling away quick. We were hoofing it to keep up in the rugged country but seemed to remain about a mile behind the dogs during the first leg of the pursuit. By about mile 3 (for us;dogs probably did double that in this time) we caught up to the dogs whom were hung up at a rock bluff trying to figure out the track. Wade found a scratch and called his dogs over and we were off again. The dogs pulled away quickly and we kept chugging along. Battling the heat and lack of spring water on the landscape both the dogs and us were losing steam. We caught up to the dogs about a mile later. One pup was about 120 yds ahead of the others and Wade said he thinks she's figured it out. At this point we took the other dogs over to her and she was working the trail but staying close to the same area. We found a shade tree and made a makeshift bowl out a Gatorade bottle to water the dogs. We sat in the shade for about 15 minutes to regroup. Wade got up and I followed. He looked up at a tree 10 yds away from the one we were sitting under then looked back at me and said, "The lion is in the tree!" I laughed thinking he was messing with me. He said, "No, come here. The lion's in the tree!" Sure enough, I walked 5 ft and looked up and there he was! I couldn't believe he sat there so quiet just 10 yds away from our shade tree during our break. The baying of the dogs immediately filled the canyon once again. Five and a half hours into the pursuit I found myself standing below the lion we were looking for. We spent a few minutes taking pictures, video and tying off the dogs then I set up about 25 yds away for the shot. When Wade gave me the go ahead I sent my arrow down range to my target and with a thwack it hit its mark. The cat made a spectacular leap 6 ft higher up the tree. Shaking I reached for another arrow and began to nock it. By the time the nock secured itself to the string the cat came crashing down. He expired before he made it to the ground. I was still shaking with excitement. After post shot photos and getting the lion ready for the pack out we prepared ourselves for the 4 mile cross-country trek back to the trucks. Four and a half hours later, thirsty, tired and hungry we made it back to our starting point. I am thankful for this opportunity to not only pursue such an amazing animal but to have harvested such a beautiful specimen with my bow. I am blessed to have a friend like Wade and to have had the opportunity to spend time with him and the hounds in God's county. My true love and admiration of mountain lions has only grown stronger from the countless days I have spent pursuing them. Big thanks to my good friend Wade Eckel, owner of Killer Lion Hunts. Tough as nails and a real stand up guy! If you have ever wanted partake in a true dry ground lion hunt with an outstanding houndsman and phenomenal dogs, Wade is your guy! http://killerlionhunts.com/ Thanks for taking the time to read my story and share in the experience -Nathan