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Yesterday 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
Apparently the 4th time is the charm. Our hunter for this trip TJ was originally supposed to fly in Friday night at 8:15pm from Milwaukee, I was coming out of the bear woods headed to Sky Harbor to pick him up when the phone started going crazy, he had missed his flight. This was going to be TJ's 4th Arizona Lion Hunt (3 prior with other outfitters) and he was on a pretty tight schedule. So he was a nervous wreck after missing his flight. Luckily, he was able to get a flight out the next morning and at 10am Saturday I picked him up from Sky Harbor with a truckload full of hounds and a camp trailer. We drove down to camp and met Daniel, only then did TJ finally calm down. Sunday morning we rode out in a spot we have not hunted all year. As luck would have it a big tom had scratched twice under the same tree. The dogs struck and moved the track steady. We got a little rain saturday and trailing conditions were excellent. The lion tried a few tricks in the bluffs but the dogs did a good job, they had him caught in a crack originally and we could see dogs but not the lion after he jumped from there is where the video starts. I wish I had let the camera roll the whole time, but it was my turn to be a nervous wreck. I kept shutting it off saying "we need to get over there." The dogs were in a couple of really hairy spots. Sorry about the shaky video, I handed the camera to TJ at one point trying to take care of dogs and holy cow was he SHAKING, the ground must have been moving underneath his feet. You might notice it in the shooting as well. :-) Also as a forewarning- THERE IS SOME SENSITIVE LANGUAGE IN THE VIDEO YOU MAY WANT TO TURN THE VOLUME DOWN IF YOUR CHILDREN ARE AROUND. It was a nerve racking deal and we were lucky to not lose any dogs, but we did lose our manners. Watching TJ try and drink out of a water bottle after the dust was all settled was one of the best parts he was shaking so bad he spilled most of it! Congrats to TJ on a fantastic Arizona tom. This tom had some age to him, at one point his lip had been split, he had large scars on both sides of his jaws and one of his toes stuck out weirdly and had a lot of scar tissue around it. Lion hunting this dry desert is tough, it never seems to happen like this, but it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Take care happy hunting and enjoy the video! -Mike Harris <iframe src="http://player.vimeo....3644190?badge=0" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="[media=] [/media]> on <a href="