Hunting > Big Game

Lion tales from recent tracking, chasing and calling

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Okanagan:
Too much fun going on lately to keep up with. We have had tracking snow several days in the past month.

A few weeks ago a rural family saw a lion one evening and again the next morning. We heard about it that night and were calling within 300 yards of the last sighting the next morning, 24 hours later.  Cougars normally move constantly except when feeding on a kill so we hoped this one was lying up near a kill. Squirrels and birds told us a lion approached at 12 minutes and with long pauses, circled half way around us till it was within 15 yards behind my cousin, 15 yards to my right. A berserker squirrel was pointing it like a birddog, then it left at 70 minutes.

 Ferns waist high, a thick row of brush behind us and this seemed like an unusually cautious animal, maybe had just lost a fight, maybe dispersing into new territory.  The wind shifted and I think that was the critical reason we failed.  If the wind had held I am pretty sure it would have circled the other way, as I set up for. Cousin said his heart was pounding so loud he thought the lion would hear it, and maybe it did!

The biologist friend called us 3 days ago to come along on a hot lion track he wanted to tree and collar. My son and I got there right after the hound man and the dogs soon were running it hot on a hill right above town.  Snow was melting which apparently is worse than cold snow or dry ground for the dogs to run and they lost the track. We could see lion tracks sometimes in snow and mud but no joy. Fun for us anyway and we learned a lot.

That night I decided to try to call a bobcat and shoot it with my shotgun with its red dot sight.  Moon above clouds so had very good visibility on an old snowy road T intersection where I've seen the same large bobcat track three times this winter.  I sat for 30 minutes and when I got up to leave apparently at that moment a large footed lion was approaching right down the road, 30 yards to my left. He didn't pause nor watch me like I'd expect a lion to do, but did a startled, scuffed track reverse.  I backtracked him for 125 yards where he had come right down the middle of the road on approach and then reversed and followed his own tracks back up the road as he left.

He kept going on the road for a quarter mile after he left the call, and then jumped off, apparently when I caught up to him in my Zuki.  The next morning tracks showed that he had come back on the road again soon after I drove off, and travelled another quarter mile on it before heading up a branch valley.

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