RainShadow Game Calls & Custom Knives

 

 

 

 

Have you been looking for information on CALLING Cougars to the Camera, Bow, or Gun?

Well...

You Found It!

 

Interested in Hunting Cougars?

     Photographing them?

          Observing them?

               Maybe you call them Mountain Lions, Maybe Puma, Maybe something else...

     If you're looking for information about Calling in the Puma Concolor, you've come to the right place!

 

 

I've built this page to document Cougar Call-In stories....

     as both a "Testimonial" page for my Lion Calling products,

          and as an educational resource for ANY other Mountain Lion Hunters.

 

 

I'm going to organize it under three sub-headings,

RS: Those with RainShadow Calling Products,

O: those with other calls and sounds.

A: Accidental Call-Ins! Any calling stand where a Cougar showed up!

As I gather these stories, I'm going to do my best to be factual, and complete, so you'll know the scenario, the tools used, and the sounds used. While at the same time, keeping them very, very, very short!

To my knowledge, there is no other resource on the Web SPECIFICALLY focusing on successful Mountain Lion Calling stands.

 

This is a work in progress...

If you have a story to contribute, please contact me.

I WANT to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Called Cougars, using RainShadow Cougar Calling products:

 

 

 

 

RS1 hunterCustomer, Hunting-Washington . com member "Gramps" Blue Mountains, WA.

     After helping a friend deliver some lumber, I went to an area where I had seen cougar tracks. It was so foggy, I could not see 40 feet.  I sat in the rig until the fog lifted then I walked out a trail a ways and set up. I found an open area and set the caller and a decoy that looks like a rabbit next to a downed log.  I was sitting against a tree about 40 yards away. 

      I called with a deer distress sound, and I mixed in the first edition RS Cougar Whistle [ the new version is M09 ]. After 30 minutes of near constant calling, I saw a cougar walking my way about 120 yards away.   My Dr. tells me that my standing heart rate is 58… within a beat or two of seeing that cat... which looked 10 feet long… my heart rate must have gone to 150.  I only saw him for a couple seconds, but he was walking upright, slowly.  He disappeared from sight and I was trying to figure out how he might approach.  I saw him again and I could see that he was gonna come thru’ some timber and brush to my left.  Sure enough there he was….still walking upright and focused on the sound and the decoy.  I didn’t know whether to turn off the sound or leave it running so I turned it down and left it running. 

     It had been about 10 minutes from when I first saw him, and he had first gone out of sight. I turned a small amount and was in a good position to shoot, but was not calmed down one bit… I may have been worse... I am not sure.  He had stopped with his head behind a tree... 25 to 30 yards away. I shot for the lung area.   I saw hair fly and he jumped up about 6 feet with his back arched and went over backwards and then ran toward the thick timber.  He never knew I was there.

     I sat there for a few minutes just taking in what had happened and then went to look.  I found a few drops of blood and then nothing as he crossed an open area covered with snow.  I looked around thinking this may not be a good deal to have a wounded cougar in the thick brush that the tracks headed toward.    After a few more minutes, I started following the tracks and found him about 75 feet from where he was when I shot….dead as could be…YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS  !!!

     He was a male..7’11” nose to tail. I did not have a scale big enough to weigh him.  He had been in a fight very recently.  He has a torn lower eye lid and 6 or 7 cuts clear thru’ the hide on his head and right side as well as two deep cuts on two of the foot pads.  All cuts looked very fresh.

     I have been fortunate to have hunted for 50+ years… Prairie dogs to Moose... but nothing quite as exciting as this!

 

 

Gramps went to a known area (very little tracking snow this year), made a good stand and executed a perfect call-in on a BIG Tom! The Big Tom is tagged over a Sub Adult Whistle!!! Way to go Gramps!!!

 

 

 

 

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 RS2 hunter Customer Snag Point, SE Washington "own back yard" Encounter:

     In the fall of 2008, there was a couple of cougars working the river bottom on my small farm. Having spotted them a couple of times, (never with gun in hand) I began to work out the time table of the cat's movements in our area.

     One of the days that I felt he would be around, I grabbed my fx3 and headed to the woods. Just as I was starting to slip into the woods a calf (moo cow calf, not elk) came charging down a trail. Then a moment later I could hear a cougar roaring and screaming about 500 yards away.

     I thought "Oh boy, this dang cat's after that calf and all I have to do it sit tight and watch the trail." More roars but no sign of the cougar.

     Then I slipped over set up my call and planted my butt in a tree stand that I had set up. More caterwauling, I started my calling with one of the first edition RS Cougar whistles. The woods went silent. Then in about ten minutes, a small bush wiggled a bit, the woods are even more quite. I thought my heart would bust a rib it was pounding so hard. Then the cat made a muffled growl, but it would not come out of its cover.

     Within a couple minutes shooting light was gone, and I had a upset Kitty within 50 yards of my stand. I sat tight for another 1/2 hour or better. Then slithered out of my tree. In my mind I could still hear that roar, as I made my way through the now dark woods towards the lights of my house.

Photobucket

     Picture I took another day to show the setup. Looking down from my tree stand towards the area hiding the cougar.

     Patterning the cats frequenting his property and calling a vocal cat with a non-aggressive sound ALMOST paid off!
 

 

 

 

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 RS3 hunterCustomer / Long time Friend Okanagan, NW Washington :

     We found cougar tracks in the general area, so my son and I climbed to a mid afternoon stand in open old growth timber on a steep spur ridge running down off a big mountain.   I put the Minaska M1 on top of a root wad six feet off the ground.  The internal speaker pointed to a smaller timbered basin on one side and I set the TOA speaker three feet away to point into a huge timbered basin on the other side of the ridge.

     My son sat 30 feet uphill from me facing uphill, above a slight break in the slope.  The e-caller was below the break, level with me and 20 feet to one side.  I sat with my back against a big fir facing downhill.

      I started the calling sequence with Duelling Fawns at low volume and ramped it up to max. Within seconds I switched to a recording of myself blowing a Weems All Call, a proven cougar call.  It is the loudest distress sound I have. After a minute of LOUD prey sound to get the attention of any cougar on the mountainside, I switched to RS Cougar whistles and let it run. 

     Three minutes into the stand my son fired his 7mm magnum.  BLAM!  Long pause.  No sound but the e-caller’s sporadic cougar whistles.    Then, BLAM!  He shot again.  One shot is good.  Two shots are usually bad, especially on a cougar stand. This time he called out to me, “It’s a cougar!” “Did you get him?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he replied as I scrambled around my big tree and up the hill.

     Two and a half minutes into the stand he’d seen a cougar running toward us down the ridge.  It paused looking downhill toward the calling sound, it was looking past him toward the e-caller.  It started toward us again, moving fast in a low crouch.  It passed behind a huge fir tree and he pulled up his rifle while the lion’s vision was blocked. When the cat came into view again he was looking at it through the scope. 

      It stopped and sat up on its haunches at 75-80 yards facing downhill toward him. He felt steady with the aim and shot at its chest.  The lion did not move.  It was an obvious miss. (After examining the bullet path, we figured that the first shot had hit the top of a wispy bush half way to the cat and deflected.) He cranked the bolt reflexively as one sound with the shot, took his time and shot at its chest again.  This time the cat disappeared downhill to his left.

     He ran up the hill toward where he’d seen the cat and found it slid against a down log where he put in an insurance finisher shot.

    

 A hot track, a long hike, and persistent shooting under pressure! Cougar Tagged. 

 

 

 

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 RS4 hunter RainShadow Call-in, NW Washington :

     I received a sighting report, mid-day, December 5th. I was able to respond to it, and get on stand within 45 minutes. It was in a rural NW Washington State foothill neighborhood. I set up in a DNR clearcut and called into a stand of second growth. Limited area skirted by houses and roads. I set up in the shade of a root ball, and gave up the direction I came in from entirely.

     I called for 5 minutes with JS rodent distress at mid volume, then 5 minutes with MO Baby Cottontail at full volume, then 5 minutes with RS Cougar Up at full volume, then was several minutes into RS Cougar CFPC when the large Female approached the caller from the timber, walking right down a well worn trail.

     It stopped approximately 7 yards from the MAD Big Country, and looked at the caller then at me. (I was fidgeting around, running my video camera and trying to get behind the scope. It couldn't see me, it was looking into the sun, but it saw movement.) I was approximately 50 yards away.

     Responding to a sighting report immediately, paid off! 1 shot fired, center chest, no tracking necessary, Cougar tagged.

 

 

 

 

 

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RS5  hunterCustomer drscott, Bear hunt changes to a memorable Cougar encounter, in SW New Mexico :

     I was calling using a critter call making fawn bleat sounds, I was primarily targeting bears as I had gotten several pictures on my trail cams in the area. I had been calling for about 10 minutes and heard a lion vocalize about 200 yards below me.

     The country I was calling was a mixture of Ponderosa pine and oak brush. I switched to using juvenile whistles on the hand call I had gotten from RainShadow. Within about 5 minutes I saw a lion working its way up the header towards me. It was just coming at a steady walk. It got within about 60 yards of me and laid down watching in my direction. It laid there for several minutes.

     I didn't have a great shot as I could only see about the top quarter of the cat. I slowly positioned my gun and felt I would just wait till it stood. I was watching it through my scope and saw movement behind it. She had a kitten with her. As I watched she had another join her. I knew at this stage I wasn't going to shoot so I just settled down and watched.

     She lay there for about 30 minutes never moving. The kittens moved under some brush and also stood without moving. She finally stood up and walked back the way she came, with the kittens following. One of the neatest things I have seen while in the hills.

     I'll say! What a great experience! I'm glad I was able to play a small part with the Sub-Adult hand call. Female W/Cubs, observed!

 

 

 

 

 

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 RS6 hunter RainShadow Call-In, Arizona :

   I was hunting the San Carlos Apache reservation in Arizona with guide Farrell Goode. He had been informed of a heifer kill on a ranch, and we had got ourselves as close to the area as we could in the blind. (We didn't know exactly where the kill was, and we didn't have birds to show us where to go.)

     I had brought along some hand calls to give to Farrell, so we started out the stand with them. I blew about a minute on a cottontail distress. Then I blew about a minute on a jackrabbit distress. Then I started blowing on the RainShadow Sub Adult Whistle hand call. Immediately from across the draw we were set up in, we got an aggressive Male Territorial growl.

     I switched to the WT, running the young whistle, and started glassing the far ridge (360 yards) to try to pick out the cat. Couldn't find it. About a minute into the WT whistles, the Mountain Lion gave another Male Territorial growl, this time from about 100 yards down the ridge. I don't know if we were busted, or what it didn't like, but as far as we could tell, that cat never came all the way in.

     Calling near a recent kill, the cat was there! No shots fired, RS hand called territorial Male, confirmed by a vocal response.

 

 

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 RS7 hunterCustomer Testimonial, South Cascades, WA. :

     I was running the call, so my son could just concentrate on watching. About four minutes into the set we both heard a branch break and something that sounded like the branch hitting the ground, a ways off to our right.  The wind was blowing, so I didn't think too much about it.  It was just a branch breaking out of a fir tree. 

     Then it ANSWERED the call!  I thought "no way", I didn't just hear that.  I slowly turned and looked over at my son and he had that surprised, "was that what I think it was?" look on his face. 

     Neither of us moved for about a minute or two, and I started lowering the volume on the call, trying to simulate a cat walking away.  We heard it twice more on our right side, just over a little rise about 20 yards away.  Then it went quiet. 

     My son started to slowly, slowly turn so he could get a better shot towards the right where the sound came from.  We were absolutely ready!  My heart was in my throat, and I wanted to do my "answer" whistle on my RS mouth call, but my mouth was drier than a popcorn fart. 

     We were both concentrating on the little rise, because we were positive that is where the cat was, and it was going to show any second.  Another five minutes went by, and I looked at my son, and caught movement down the hill but way off to the left.  Then a cat just appeared!  It was almost like it just materialized.  It was looking right at us, and we did a stare down for about a minute.  It finally turned and started walking across toward where the call was, so my son started to turn back to to the left get a shot.  The cat stopped and just stared at us for about 10 seconds, and although I hate to apply human emotions to animals.... That cat was looking at us with absolute evil distain!  It was a look that I've only seen one time, and that was a bear up on Kodiak.  It's ears were laid back and it just spun around a disappeared in the ferns. 

     From the time we last heard it vocalize until we first saw it, was probably a minute to a minute and a half.  From the time we first heard it bark/whistle until the time it busted us and left was probably about 6 or 7 minutes. (So, 4-5 minutes of vocal response on the right, then it showed up on the left 90 seconds later.)  I still don't think it was the same cat.  The way the ground laid, we should've seen it cross below us.  Plus I don't think it had time to get over there without running, in which case I know we would've seen it.  I don't know what exactly happened for sure, if there was two cats or what.

     Hindsight being 20/20, my son should've just swung left and popped it, but it looked like it was going to stare at us for a while, or continue across the hill.  It was only about 20 yards away, and was a very large, very angry looking cat.  We couldn't really tell how tall it was because the ferns were covering it from the bottom of the belly to the ground.  It did have a huge (and once again, mean looking) head. 

     I was playing the RS Cougar Female Calls, but it responded with a very different call. It sounded like it was two calls mixed together, a whistle and a kind of bark at the same time.  I don't know if when I started turning the volume down simulate the "cat" getting further away, that it may have took off and got around below us, I guess we were pretty focused on where we heard it the last time.  Who knows.

     Customer called in a large, probably Male Cougar (the description of the vocal response above sounds to me like a Male Communicative call. Physical description also indicates it was probably a Tom.) Area had been proven as a regularly traveled corridor. No Shot Fired, Confirmed call-in to RS Cougar Female Calls by vocal response, and the infamous "Evil Death Stare!"

 

 

 

 

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RS8  hunterRainShadow Call-In, NW Washington:

     Early in the season, must have been September. It was warm, no tracking snow anywhere. I chose a ridge in a regularly traveled area and pulled the truck over. My 15 y.o. nephew was hunting with me. He's a quick study, but was green as can be. He also had just learned that he needed glasses, but (of course) wasn't wearing them because they "felt funny."

     We hiked up the ridge about 1/2 mile then set up on top, and down one side a little. I set him up about 15 yards off the side of the crown of the ridge with the Benelli, watching the crown and up from there. I sat about 10 yards below him watching the side of the ridge and down from there. I set the Minaska M1 at my level, but off to the uphill side about 30 yards. It was extremely thick.

     I was playing a combination of distress and first edition RS Cougar Whistles, when at about 12 minutes into the stand, I heard very distinct footsteps at the top of the ridge. I was looking downhill primarily, so I had to crane my neck hard to the left and pivot my upper body at the same time to look up to the top of the ridge. I looked intently, and after about a full minute I picked out a back-lit, silhouetted shape of the top half of a round head with those little rounded ears, right on top of the ridge, about 30 yards.

     I thought, "No way! That can't be!" I watched it for about 30 seconds, and almost decided to pick my Encore up and check it through the scope. Then I thought, "No, [my nephew] is right there, 20 yards from it, looking uphill. He'd have seen it if it was really..."  I watched it for another 2 minutes or so, it never even flickered. Just a shape. Still as stone. "Nah! Must be my imagination." I turned back and watched my front for the rest of the stand.

     Just as I was ending the stand, I looked back up behind me... and for the life of me couldn't find that half of a head again! I looked hard for several minutes and never found what I was looking at earlier. I found the bushes, trees and stumps I had marked all around it, but it was gone!

     I went over to my nephew and said, "Did you hear something, right at about 12 minutes?" He said, "Yeah. Footsteps. Right over there." and he pointed right where I had seen the top half of the cat's head! I said, "Did you see anything?" he said, "No. But I'm not wearing my glasses." (AAAaaaaaarrrrrgh!!!!)  "I said, "I think we just got BUSTED!"

     Blown opportunity in a known travel corridor. Call-in confirmed by a sighting and sneaking paws in the moss. 

 

 

 

 

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RS9 hunterCustomer Testimonial, South Central WA. :

     We snowmobiled in about 25 miles or so on the road, until we found tracks. We parked the sleds, strapped on the snowshoes and walked for about a half hour or so, (until I started to sweat bad), and set up.  (Actually, I got tired of my son whispering comments to me about my physical conditioning). 

     We set up with a good field of view, and started calling.  I used your RS Cougar Female Calls, and then went to a fawn in distress.  I waited about 8 minutes and went back to the RS Cougar Whistle.  I just kept doing that sequence, varying the duration each cycle. 

     About 45 minutes into it we both saw a cat coming across the open area down by the creek bottom about 300 yards away.  It was coming up the hill towards us, and we both thought it was a big bobcat until we got a good look at it's tail.  It was probably about 40 to 60 lbs.

     I turned the caller down, and muted it when it was still about 150 yards out.  We waited to see what it would do, and if maybe it would "grow" the closer it got.  It came on in slowly to about 30 yards before it stopped, stared, and just kind of wandered off.  I don't think it saw us, or anything. 

   Called-in Sub Adult to RS Cougar Female Calls, and one of the RS Cougar Whistles. Cutting a hot track and following it up for a ways is the #1 technique. No Shot Fired, Passed up due to its age. (Legal to harvest in WA since it had grown out of its spots, and was old enough to kill deer and small elk. But this hunter showed restraint, and let this one have a pass.)

 

 

 

 

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RS10 hunterCustomer Slayer1, Hunting-Washington . com  Western WA:

     The news was saying lowland snow for that morning.  Perfect time to get out to do some calling.  I was walking into a area I hunt just waiting to run onto some fresh bobcat tracks with this new snow.  After a few miles, and after passing on some night before coyote tracks, I stumbled onto fresh lion tracks. 

     He headed up the mountain after a brief time on the road.  Lucky for me a old road headed up the same mountain.  So I hiked up about 1/2 mile until I came to the top and found a decent spot to set up. 

     I set the foxpro out about 20 yds in front of me and got comfortable on top of a old stump.  I remember wishing I had a treestand to get up even higher to get a better view but the stump would have to do. 

     Not to long ago I listened to Brian Downs' Predator Hunting Talkcast, with guest Mark Healey.  He talked about using different distress sounds and lion vocals to try to "trigger"  a response from a cat.  So I started with DSG cottontail for a few minutes and then to blacktail fawn distress for a few, then lightning jack, and finally some RS juvenile cougar whistles. (First Edition. Slayer1 doesn't remember which whistles he used because he re-labled all of them on his foxpro.)

     After 2 rounds of that and I see the brown back of a lion moving into position about ten yards from the call.  I swung up my AR and found his head sticking out under a young pine.  Put the crosshairs on him and let him have it.  He jumped out to the edge of the road and took off away from me.  I let him have it three more times as he ran away before he went down.  I wasn't planning on letting him get away! 

     He was a young 1 1/2 year old tom and weighed around 110#. 

     Truly a unforgettable experience.

     Have I said anything about calling a hot track yet?!?! Way to go, Slayer1 !!!

 

 

 

 

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RS11hunterCustomer LY, NE Arizona:

     For me, my son, and a friend, we were rookies calling lions for the first time. We were hunting on the Navajo Reservation in northeast Arizona. In a known deer wintering area, located in the sagebrush flats, with juniper and pinion trees.

     Before we began E-calling with a rabbit distress, the three of us positioned ourselves about eight to ten yards apart. Our first calling sequence lasted two to three minutes; we then paused for five minutes and called again for another two to three minutes. This calling session lasted about twenty minutes.

     We stopped calling and after waiting for ten or fifteen seconds, we heard a response. I responded back, RS handcall whistle, and the cat responded again. We figured the cat may have been 150 to 200 yards away from us. No visual contact was made and we were unable to find tracks.

     For the first time to be out calling for lions, we were excited that we got a response. Don’t know if we were busted by the cat. I’d like to mention, before our stand, we walked onto two separate deer kills made by two cats. The two kills had the same two cat tracks located around the carcasses.

     So Close! It (they?) was there checking you out! Just needed to keep calling, and see them before they saw you!

   

 

 

 

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Second Category:

 

Called Cougars using any Other products and sounds:

 

 

 

 

O1  hunterOkanagan, NW Washington :

     My favorite calling stand combined a lion, my son and my father-in-law in a hunt so unlikely it was a gift.

     Our first stand of the second season we tried for cougars, my son and I picked a saddle in a deer wintering area from a topo map and decided to make our first stand there.  My wife encouraged us to take her father who would love it.  My son picked up his 80 year old grandpa before daylight.  He showed us his ancient belt knife he’d sharpened for a cougar.  He had started me calling critters and taught me most of what I know about calling.  With three of us together I considered it a practice stand to start the year rather than serious lion calling.  We set up in a frozen swamp.

     I started calling with my old Weems, watching the back door.  My son was a few feet away, a bit higher so he could look over the rest of the swamp.  A couple of times Grandpa leaned over and whispered to ask if I’d heard something, etc.  I knew it was a lost cause then. 

     But about a half hour into the stand, I sensed my son move.  He seemed to be looking at something through his scope but didn’t shoot so I finally relaxed.  Just then, "Bang!"

      “Bobcat?” I asked in a whisper. “It was a cougar,” he said.  My watch showed we’d been on stand 32 minutes.  It loped into the far end of the swamp angling toward thick timber and brush within 40 yards of us.  My son knew he couldn’t see the cat if it got in the cover so he shot when it paused at 125 yards.

     He ran across the frozen swamp ahead of us.  When he war whooped we knew he’d hit a lion.  Blood flecks and hair marked the hit but only scarce tracks in patchy snow hinted where the cat had entered the heavy old growth forest.  From there it took 15 minutes of slow circling to find the lion stretched out on the moss carpet 50 yards farther.  They are an exceptionally pretty animal.  This one was a six year old female and weighed 88 lbs.

     What a prize to pack out to the road.  Having 3 generations along made it all the better.  And Grandpa got to use his knife.

     Map study and known deer movements, cold calling with a hand call, Cougar Tagged!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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O2  hunterRainShadow Call-In NW Washington :

     I had driven approximately 30 miles of snowy NW Washington USFS roads and seen NOTHING. As I backtracked my way home, I cut a Mountain Lion track in my own tire tracks from 3 hours earlier. I followed it around hills and ridges until I couldn't cut it again, and decided where it had to have gone. (Probably a 30% chance of being correct.)

     I geared up and hiked up the ridge opposite of the last noted tracks. When I reached the top, I followed the ridge until I found an area that provided a little bit of visibility. Not much, but some, broken by trees, and occasional brush, 15 yards wide and probably 60 yards long. I set the WT caller up in the downhill end of the opening, and climbed to the uphill end and set up.

     I called with a combination of distress, female vocals, distress, male vocals, distress, and then young whistles for approximately 15 minutes. It was during the series of whistles that I heard a distinct male cougar bark/huff/wheeze from directly behind me. I hackled up but maintained my stealth mode, surprisingly.

     I got turned around and changed hands with my rifle so I could point it to my rear. Very stressful, but I continued my vigil and changed sounds quite a few times for the next hour, but never saw anything.

     At the end of the stand, I got up and discovered, in the fresh snow, that the Lion had come to within 22 yards of my rear, then veered to the right and circled around me and the opening I was set up to watch. It stayed in the cover the whole way. It was circling around to my right while I was turning around to my rear. From the tracks it appeared as if it never stopped walking.

     Again, hot tracks, going in where it might have been going after circling a ridge. No shots fired, but the Cougar Call-in was confirmed via tracks and a vocal response.

 

 

 

 

 

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O3  hunterCentral Oregon, NWPHA member Baltz526:

     I was hunting the edge of the timber, within 1/2 mile of the open sage/bitterbrush desert. Several groups of deer were using the area as a bedding area. I set up in a lava rock channel with great visual coverage and only my head was not hidden. I had a head net on to break up my face.

     The mouth call I was using is an old green plastic jackrabbit distress call. I was attempting to make the sound that I heard a mule deer doe make many years ago, as it was being killed by a cougar. It is a loud 5-15 second long call that ends in mid scream.

     I made this call then waited and watched about 3 minutes then repeated and waited about 3 minutes. As I made the call the third time I caught movement along a little rim about 250yds out. I got ready and when the cat got to about 100yds and cleared the sagebrush for a shot, I shot right into the hollow of its throat. The bullet hit just right of the throat and skirted the outside of the ribs under the cats front left shoulder.

     I waited for the cougar to die, but he did not as the bullet never entered the chest cavity. After a few minutes of the cat not dying, he started to get up. By then I was standing about 15yds away. I put another bullet through both lungs and heart. The cat jumped up and ran about 80yds and I hit him again. The bullet hit the spine and rolled the cat.

     Cat was checked in at bend ODFW at a weight of 114lb with no guts and all blood shot meat removed from first shot. Estimated live weight was around 150lbs and it was a 9yr old male.

     Calling above a deer wintering area is an EXCELLENT cold-calling strategy. Hand called, deer in the throes of death sound. Cougar tagged.

 

 

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O4  hunterRainShadow Call-In, NW Washington :
     Brand fresh snow at dawn, clear and sunny. Cut some tracks in the FS road heading up the ridge. Very steep, heavily timbered country.

     Geared up and followed the tracks up the ridge. They cut to the left, towards the main mountain range. I continued straight up to the top of the ridge, watching for the tracks to cross back to the right. They did, just before the top of the ridge. I continued on, and the tracks crossed back the the left at the top of the ridge. Then just past the top of the ridge, they crossed back to the left again. Less that 3 hour old tracks had been all over that ridge!

     I didn't know for sure what to do, but since more tracks headed down the ridge than up the ridge, I just sat down and set-up looking down the ridge.

     I let the area settle down for a few minutes then started in. I played one or two whistles on the WT, then about 30 seconds of cottontail distress, then went back to the whistles. I immediately heard a hollow hooting sound from up the ridge. I thought it was a raven way, way up the mountain. But in about 30 seconds I realized that the hooting sound was getting louder and it was answering ever single whistle.

     I thought, "UhOh! It's behind me and I'm going to see it in a second here!" Sure enough, before I could do anything about it, I saw it coming through the timber. I kinda gauged when I thought it would be going through a low spot, and I wheeled my gun around to weak hand pointing to my rear. It didn't work. The cat saw me and froze. I lost it, like it disappeared. Poof! I tucked into the rifle and looked through the scope.... there it was, staring right at me!

     I was busted, so I took a shot for the nose. Missed, went through the whiskers, off the jaw, and into the shoulder. Mortally wounded, I tracked it down over the next hour and finished it with another shot to the lungs, 1/4 mile from the truck.

 

     Again, hot tracks. Called in with Whistles and Distress, under 2 minutes vocal response. Cougar tagged.
 

 

 

 

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O5  hunterCustomer Story (pre-RS Cougar products.) Western WA Camping trip turns to a Cougar hunt :

     We walked up an old grade from our family camping spot towards a clear cut that just been put in. Our dogs were out in front of the group (as always.) The next thing we know the dogs just loose it. A fellow camper, the only one on a bike, takes a couple quick peddles ahead, and see's the back half of a cougar jumping into the bushes.

      We headed back to camp, and a friend and I decided we'd try to call the cat back.

     We got our gear and guns and walked past where we had our first encounter, just out side the clear cut into the bigger timber. We found a spot where log had fallen perfect for us to hide behind and look two different directions.

     I had with me a Carlton Calls, Critter Gitter. It's an open reed call, very basic but I could do higher pitch rabbit/fawn distress calls or I could do lower pitch doe distress calls. I decided I was going to use a doe distress for this set up.

     After about 25-30 min's of calling I hear my friend whisper. "Ben.... Ben.... It's right there!" I'm looking all over. Down on the road. all over. I whisper "Where?"  He says "Right there!" and points in the timber. I asked him how far. He says "20 yards. It's looking right at me". I'm looking all over for this cat, and I still can't see it. Finally he says, "Scoot over here". So I slowly crawled over next to him. He says, "Look right between those two tree's right there." and points. I'm still not seeing this cat. He tells me to scoot over even closer. Now I'm sitting in his lap. He tells me to look in the same place. Now I could see the face of this cougar looking at me from 20 yards.

     I pulled the '06 up and looked at it through the scope. I put the cross hairs right on the cat's face. I whispered for Justin to plug his ears. As soon as I seen him plug his ears out the corner of my eye I shot. That cat literally went 6 feet in the air. Did a complete 180 and took off on a dead run. We spent the next few minutes trying to compose ourselves. We looked all over for blood. Nothing. We went back to camp to recruit a posse for recovery. Six of us spent the next 2 hours looking all over. We never found a single piece of hair, blood, nothing.

Sighting that turns a camping trip into an impromptu Cougar Stand ends with a clean miss!

 

 

 

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O6  hunterOkanagan, missed opportunity, NW Washington :

     My son and I and cut a fresh cougar track in a canyon where an inch of new snow was sticking in shady patches. We couldn’t tell where the cougar left the road but we thought it went up hill so set up to call it down.  First mistake. 

     Son hid 50 yards above me where he could cover the most likely places the cat would come from.  I hid between some deadfalls not far above the road and called with my Weems All Call.  I didn’t take a rifle.  After 55 minutes of our planned hour, I decided to stand up and scan around with binoculars since only my head would stick up when I stood, in camo net.

     When I quit calling and went up to him he said an odd thing had happened five minutes before we quit.  A large animal had walked almost carelessly up through the salal just over a low ridge from him, with squirrels chattering at it all the way up. Hmmmm… (My hearing is going and I’d barely heard one squirrel.)

     Down on the road 40 yards below where I’d sat we found a fresh cougar track in the snow, made since we’d gone up to call.  It crossed the road and went up the hill in line with the low ridge my son had heard the critter go up. There was no snow on the slope to track it further but the direction it was going would have allowed it to peek at me over the low ridge covered in salal, about 25 yards to my right.  Apparently it came in, watched me till I stood up, slunk back in the salal and went on uphill past him but just out of his sight over the ridge.  I don’t think the cat ever knew he was there.

     We don’t get many chances at cougars and I hate it when we blow a good one.

     They always come in from uphill . . . except the rare times when they come in from downhill! Confirmed with movement noise and tracks, no shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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O7
 hunterRainShadow Call-In, NW Washington :

     Good tracking snow, but I had almost exhausted all my local roads without cutting a track. Finally, about 2 miles from the end of the road, I cut a fresh Mountain Lion.

     I geared up and followed it through the thick timber along a steep, major alpine ridge, for about a mile until the timber finally thinned down a little and the ridge started to round. I figured it was good enough, so I set up. I set the call right in the trail and climbed about 25 yards above the trail and hid under a tree.

     I called on the WT for 30 min with various distress, then 15 min with bobcat baby distress, then about 20 min with Female Cougar Calls. Then I switched to the whistles. At the first whistle the Lion called back to me from about 100 yards. It was a matching whistle followed by a "Gurgle" growl.

     5 minutes later it was in. 35 yards from me. I had it in the scope, but I could only see it's front toes and it's nose and whiskers. It saw the caller sitting in the trail where I'd placed it, and it stopped. One step short of giving me a shot. I watched it through the scope for over 3 minutes. It was head bobbing, looking here and there, trying to figure out what to do. I was trying to imagine a hole in the timber to shoot through, but couldn't do it. I decided to move my upper body to the left to possibly open up a shooting lane, even an inch! Nothing... except my camo hood caught on a big fir branch, and moved it with a pop and a shudder. The cat stepped back, I got a flash of eyeball, then it whirled around and slithered silently away.
I was so shaken up I couldn't hang in more than another 15 minutes or so, then I gave up!

     Following a hot track into the steep and deep pays off again! Called in with a long distress series, then Female vocal, and Sub adult whistles. Confirmed with a vocal response and 3 minutes in the scope.

 

(I had a cell phone pic of the tracks where it stood behind the timber and scrub,

but I didn't have connectivity with that phone, so I never got it on a computer.)

 

 

 

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O8  hunterHunting-Washington Member HangFire's Nephew, NE Washington :

     My nephew about 10 years ago was getting him self in condition for a coming army reserve activity and he was running several miles, partly through the timber. While running through the timber he jumped a white tail fawn, it ran into the woods a short distance from him.  The brush started moving and he heard the fawn cry and a cougar jumped up on a tree or stump with the fawn.  

     My nephew turned and ran down the hill, he said after having ran several miles, he had no trouble jumping the barb wire fence at the bottom of the hill.

     A couple weeks or so later after getting back from the reserves he went near the same area with his rifle and a call. I don't know what brand of call he was using, I know he had a Critter call and I believe a Circe.  He got situated and started calling.  He heard very shortly something walking, he could then see the bottom half of a cougar at I believe about 50 yards.

     He shot and he heard the cat run off. He couldn't find any blood or hair and assumed he missed. Opening day of deer season a few days later he went back into the same area and found a dead cougar secluded in some brush.  The weather had been cool and the hide was still ok for a rug. I would estimate a 100 pound or more cat.

     To the best of my knowledge he was blowing distress calls as he would for a coyote. I think that was his first year of using a predator call.

     Known area, cold calling, but a known area results in a shot fired, and recovered trophy a few days later. Cougar Tagged.

 

 

 

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O9  Archery ShootHunting-Washington Member AnnieOakLeaf, Elk Opener turns into an Archery Cougar Stand!

     Opening day, I walked up an old grade to my elk stand about 4pm. About 6pm I heard a weird noise... Thought it was a deer but had never heard the noise before just like a snort hiss. About five minutes later there was a scream . The sound was coming from the ridge above me and about 70 yards to my left. The next scream was closer...and I knew it wasn't a deer. It had to be a cougar. Now sounding about 30 yards away. I nocked an arrow and stood up.

     I didn't want to be walking out with a cat sneaking around, so I took defensive measures and decided to switch to a Cougar hunt! I brought the back of my hand to my lips and squeaked out a rabbit squeal for about a 5 second session. The cat let a blood curdling scream... I squealed again... silence for about 3 minutes. Then, from the top of the trail my stand is on came a loud "MEOW."

     OMG I thought. No one said they do that!!!  The cat was now about ten yards from me, and out of sight. I watched for movement.... Finally she walked down my trail and into the stand of trees just 5 yards below me. My 20 yard pin wouldn't do, I had to be sure of a hit so I drew back and brought the nock of the arrow up to my eye and looked down the shaft. As soon as the cat stepped clear of the trees I released the arrow!

     The cat crouched as if to jump towards me but the arrow struck it right between the shoulder blades ! Two backwards summer salts, then it leapt away. I saw my arrow fletches sticking out its back ....WOW was I excited!

     I sat down and listened for a few minutes!  After an hour I tracked it but lost the trail so I went back to camp.

     On the way back the cats tracks were in my tracks on the old grade.

     My husband returned to camp way after dark, and we decided to wait, and track the cat in the morning.  

     The next day we retrieved the cat with the use of our Primos blood trailing light.

The cat was 6'2"

Take that, fellers! This great young lady takes a "HAND" called Cougar with a Bow!!! Cougar Tagged!

 

 

 

 

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O10  hunterRainShadow Call-In, NW Washington :

     No snow, there had been 3 weeks earlier, a lot! But now it was all gone. I was at about 4000 feet with bare ground in the timber. I hiked up the side of a ridge, to the top, about 1/2 mile from a rugged mountain, mostly 500ft cliffs and other huge rock outcroppings. This was a known crossing for Cougar and lots of other game.

     I set-up and called with the WT for at least 20 minutes, using several distress sounds, the Sub Adult whistles, and then finally switching to the male communicative huff/barks.

     A few minutes into them I heard a familiar vocal response from 200 yards above me. It was the whistle ending in the Gurgle. A minute later I heard it again, from the same area. I monkeyed with the sounds and watched 'til my eyes ached for another 40 min. Then I made this video clip with my little point and shoot camera...

 

     ...Then I called for another 40 minutes. Never saw anything. I don't know if it had come in, I missed it and it was leaving, or if it called first then came in and I never saw it, or if it called from above and never came in. But I never saw it.

    Sure wish I had my new RS sounds on that stand. I think the WT sounds may have been too aggressive for that cat.

     Exciting/Discouraging. Cold call in a known crossing area, confirmed by vocal responses.

 

 

 

 

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O11  hunter NPHA Member JimAinAZ :

     I started out running a Coyote Stand in the higher pines, and called nothing but a Mule Deer doe. I had muted the call and was ready to quit when, in the distance, I could hear something that sounded to me like an African lion "huff" I'd heard on TV. I figured it was worth some more effort on my part, so over the next several minutes I offered up a variety of different sounds that included prey distress and coyote vocalizations. I have some lion vocalizations on my caller but didn't use any of them fearing I might send the wrong message.

     I wasn't hearing anything anymore, and had decided to end the stand after a few minutes of silence. Just as I was taking my last look around a lion magically appeared about 10 feet from the call. I believe the words "Oh my God" passed my lips and then instinct took over. Thru the magnifier on my AR I watched as he stretched out his neck to reach up and sniff the caller and squeezed off the shot. It was a good frontal chest hit and the lion jumped about 6 feet into the air and hit the ground running back toward the canyon. At about 90 yards he offered a good broadside opportunity and I hit him again thru the lungs. He rolled over a log and I couldn't see him anymore.

     I thought about sitting for a few minutes, then remembered how he just appeared and decided I didn't want him just disappearing so I stood up, shouldered my rifle and advanced toward the last place I had seen him. I got to where I could see him stretched out over the top of the log and his chest was still. Took a few more steps and still no movement and finally got close enough to poke him in the eye with my rifle barrel, no reaction. It was at this point that I started shaking and my breathing became erratic.

     At check in, the AZGFD biologist aged him at 18-19 months and described him as a transient. Even though he was young, he's still my best trophy to date and that includes any of the stuff I have hanging on my walls. I hope everybody gets an opportunity to feel the rush of having a lion show up on a stand some day. It's a feeling I know I'll never forget.

 

Coyote stand turns into a Lion stand when a vocal response is heard. Tactics applied immediately, and it paid off!  Cougar tagged.

 

 

 

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O12  hunterElks in Colorado, Hand Called into his lap!

     I worked my way into some real rocky and thick covered canyon country. About two years ago I went on a hike up this canyon and found lion sign. I decided to try for a lion.

     Second stand of the day, I was going to call the Pinion and Junipers, and the big rocks. I set up in a little narrow steep canyon. It was pretty thick covered with Pinions and junipers. The canyon I chose to call ran from east to west was maybe 150 yards wide and was about 100 yards deep and man was it steep. I set up on the north side. I could see the other side real well and down my right hand side for about 200 yards. My left hand side was a different story. In the thick cover I could only see about 20 yards. I hoped that something from that direction would go high or low around me. The wind was variable in direction but constant at approximately 5 mph.

     I started calling like I always do. I was using a sceery rabbit distress. I called often, in short little bursts.

     About 15 minutes into the stand I was half way through a breath in the call when I caught movement in the corner of my eye. I turned slowly to see what it was, expecting a bob cat. I was extremely surprised when it turned out to be a lion, and real close! It took me just a split second to get the gun around, but it seemed like for ever. I can still clearly see the big cat all crouched up plotting its next move. Its tail slowly flicking behind and its cold yellow eyes fixed on me.

     I swung the gun up and found the center of its chest. Bang, the cat leaped 6 plus feet straight up and hit the ground with a thud. It was dead before ever reached the ground. Needless to say I was real shook up. The next 15 minutes I was Shaking and managed to walk in several small circles around where I was sitting not really sure what to do. Man was I freaked out.

     After I calmed down I got the courage to approach the lion. The shot hit right at the top of the chest white patch and went through the throat and into the spine. I also managed to step off where I was and where the cat was when I shot. I got in 8 paces, which is just too close!

 

 

At this Call-In, Elks was a first time Cougar caller, but a very experienced predator hunter, and Colorado big game hunter. He did everything right, set-up in a known Lion area, and was able to make it happen when the big cat materialized breathing down his neck! Lion Tagged.

 

 

 

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O13  hunter BearManRic, of RR Game Calls, and his first called Cougar story:

     My first cougar call-in was in 1993. Back then my favorite call was the Haydel Government Cottontail. I had seen several cougar in the road that year.

     I hunted a gated road right close to the Olympic National Park. I went in to a 4 way intersection on the closed road. I parked my mountain bike and walked the grade to the left till I came to a long straightaway. I knew a grade to the right was about 50 yards ahead of me. I got settled in with my back to a small tree.

     As soon as I started calling, a cougar start chirping very close on the other side of the road. It was well under a 100 yards. I kept calling but at lower volume. It only chirped a few more times. At around 40 minutes it glided across the road, too quick to shoot, and into the scrub on my side of the road. A 6 year old clear cut. Heavy brush.

     It was a slender, average sized cougar. A younger one I think.

     I started calling again, and went for another 15 minutes or so... nothing. Then I got nervous. There was a elk trail there where I was expecting to see a cougar ready to pounce on me. So I gave it up and backed out of there.

     Rick lost this Cougar in the "Dog Hair." If you've never seen "re-prod" in the Pacific Northwest, you might not understand! There's a reason they call it "Dog Hair!" (You're very, very lucky to see 5 yards into it, it's so thick.) Call-in confirmed with vocal responses and a sighting, but no shot.
 

 

 

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O14 hunterOkanagan, Calling the Washington State snow country :

     My son and I found a recent cougar track angling across a logging road in patchy snow. We drove and hiked to set up ahead of its line of travel.  We placed our boom box in a frozen swamp and sat a few yards on opposite sides of it.  I poked the start button on the  CD player and moved to my hiding spot.  The CD was a recording of me blowing a Weems All Call.

     14 minutes after we started calling my son saw a large animal move at the edge of the swamp about 60 yards from him.  It was about 45 degrees from where he was looking and it moved behind a bush before he could focus on it.

     50 minutes into the calling stand, two ravens were flying over and when they got above the spot where he’d seen movement earlier, they started diving at something behind a bush and squawking at it.  Whatever it was moved away with the ravens hassling it all the way, and one squirrel after another picked up the scolding as it moved off through the timber. 

     At 65 minutes we quit calling, exchanged info and walked straight to the bush where my son had seen movement and the ravens had focused.

     Tracks in the snow told the story.  A cougar had walked to a four foot wide opening at the edge of the swamp where it stopped and looked toward the call sound.  My son was sitting in a direct line between the lion and the caller. When he moved his head slightly to look at the lion, it jumped sideways behind a bush and lay down.  It left a full body print in the snow where it lay for 36 minutes and watched him, till the ravens started hassling it and it walked off into the timber.

     So many little points of this story are typical of only cats!

 

 

 

 

 

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O15 hunterDave Tatum, Platte SD ( http://www.huntingwithdave.com/index.html)  South Dakota:

     I have called in 3 that we know of. 

    I had one come up to 18 yards and laid down behind me, but I was unaware until I walked out and read the tracks. He had cut my tracks at 50 yards and walked in my boot prints to 18 yards and laid down. It made me feel like a big rat! The funny thing is, it was the very first stand, the very first time, that I specifically targeted a lion, and boy did it leave a lasting impression! I think it is very neat that they seem to frequently end up behind you. The sign of a true predator... and a stealthy one at that!

     I saw one and never got a shot.  I had finished calling and walked over to a rock ledge very close to where I was sitting and a lion came jumping out from below me on the rock ledge. I was unable to get my rifle to my shoulder and get a shot before the lion disappeared. A bad judgment call on my part to get up and leave as soon as I did. I think that in a few minutes he would have been in sight, I should have been more persistent and set longer.
     

     The third one same as the first, we cut his tracks when we were walking out.

 

Thanks for the great stories, Dave! 

 

 

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O16 hunter Hunting Washington Member Big 10 Gauge, Central Washington State:

     An old hunting buddy came up to the place earlier this week and wanted me to call in a bear for him so we took off in my jeep up to the start of a old skid road that lead up to a 8 yr old clear-cut on a step hill.

     I decided to take my bow since he carried his 300 win mag in case of a elk or nice buck showed up. Once we reached the clear-cut both of us sat down and started to watch for any activity. About two minutes into this I thought I heard a cow elk talking so I pulled out my diaphragm call and gave a couple of cow calls but no response. I thought maybe I just mistook some bird call for a elk. After about thirty more minutes of sitting at the lower edge of the clear-cut and not seeing much it was time to move into a calling spot for bears.

     After walking further up the skid road I just happened to look up the road and a cougar walks across the road and into the brush about 60 feet ahead of us. I tell my buddy and we go up to where it crossed and start scanning the hillside, my buddy spots it on the hillside about 70 yrds away and points it out to me, the cat was going thru the fairly thick brush but could catch a glimpse of it every now and again.

     We started talking about what a great surprise that was when all of a sudden about 15 feet behind us a cougar comes out of the brush and scrambles across a old log in the road, I give chase to try to tree it but I guess the cat figured I was a 204 lb weakling and so wasn’t intimated in the least .

     After cleaning ourselves up a bit after that encounter we figured that the 1st cat I saw had crossed the road and was crouched down in the thick brush just off the road all the time we were standing there.

     I remembered that the Foxpro had some cougar sounds on it so we set up to try to call in one of the cats. The call ended up exactly 51 yrds from where we decided to sit but at a somewhat steep downward angle. I couldn’t find a better spot without exposing ourselves in the clear-cut. I found a sound called a cougar whistle so I played it once (realizing that was what I had mistook earlier for a cow elk) and also got a immediate answer from 2 different locations on the hillside where we glimpsed the one earlier going thru the brush. So now we had three cougars in the area that we knew of.

     I used the cougar whistle several times over a twenty minute period and got responses back that were closer each time. After about the thirty five minute mark using the whistle wasn’t getting a response and I was wondering if they might be near the call but just crouched down and watching, kinda like what a bobcat does.  I tried a sound called cougar in heat, immediately a cat came screaming and growling out of the road it’s ears laid back and was eyeing my Foxpro like “what the heck is this”? The cat was so intent on the Foxpro I stood up and pulled back, put the 50 yrd pin right behind its shoulder and watched the arrow as it sailed 1 inch over it’s back.

     We called some more but nothing else came in. I went and retrieved my arrow and let my bud give me a hard kick in the ass. When we finally settled down I told him that I really didn’t mind that much about missing since bringing home a cougar would have only been a small part of a overall great experience! He was in total agreement. I think I'm now hooked on calling cats, and may have found this winter’s sport!

Big10 is a very experience hunter and predator caller. He set up right and responded to a surprise opportunity as good as anyone else could have. Some really good insights are hidden in this account. Especially how he got the cat to show itself when it was already in, but hiding, by playing an aggressive sound (heat.) So Close!

 

 

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O17  Archery ShootFoxPro Forum Member Sean Fulton ( www.fultonphoto.com ) South Dakota:

I had been watching this area for a few years and had known it to have a lot of cougar activity, especially after hunters start pushing the cats around. I had a scouting camera up in it for most of the month of Dec. and got some great pics of a gorgeous collared lion right around Christmas.

Earlier in the year I had decided that I wanted to call in this area and hung a tree stand. The cover in the area is so thick that I ended up using a chainsaw to cut several shooting lanes out up to 50-60 yards, but made sure that my stand was still concealed.

For the first six days of the season I had focused on a different lion that I had located on opening day. I had found a kill that it had dragged across the road. I set up on this kill first with a tree stand and then with a blind. I tried calling a couple times and also tried just sitting on the kill a couple times. I had several sets of tracks coming in and around the kill but seemed to always come in at night. I have several pics of the lion feeding on the kill too but they were all at night too. The kill ended up being cashed and the lion seemed to have left the area so I changed my plan of attack to other areas and stands.

I woke up early on Jan 7th got ready and jumped in the pickup to head out for my morning set before going out to check my trapline. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the temps were in the low 20's so decided to go to the stand that I had set up earlier in the year.

I tiptoed through the crunchy sunbaked snow on the way into my stand trying to make as little noise as possible. I placed my E-caller in a thick downed tree, right below and about six yards from my tree stand. I climbed into my stand and after tying myself in and getting situated, double checked all of my yardages while I waited for enough light to start calling. I started calling with a distress sound and switched it to a similar but different one about a minute later. I hadn't been calling but 2-3 minutes and there it was, a cougar, she was quickly moving through the thick timber and stopped in one of my shooting lanes. It sat on its haunches at 40 yards and stared in the direction of the caller for a minute or so. Then she started to move towards my right and creep in closer. I made sure to draw my bow while she was moving and not looking towards me. As she stepped into a a shooting lane at 30 yards she stopped quartering a little towards me. I placed the pin just behind her shoulder, steadied the shot and let it fly. I hit my target and she jumped straight up in the air. She slowly walked out of sight and I texted a couple buddies and one of them said they would come back me up as I tracked it.

Knowing better than to go directly after an animal I found my arrow and saw that there was a good blood trail showing in the snow so I decided to go back to my pickup and wait for my buddy to come help. When he showed up he was pretty excited and wanted to go look for it right away. I told him that we needed to wait a little longer. Reluctantly agreeing we waited.

We soon got on the track and worked our way closer to the cat. The brush in the draw was getting really thick. About eighty yards from where I had shot it we caught movement to our right and the cat took off through the brush. I started to become afraid that we were going to end up chasing it through the brush for a couple miles. We pressed further and saw that the cat only went a couple yards and was not doing so well. I found a small hole through the thick brush and shot it again. This quickly finished her and there she was. My first cougar with a bow and I did it without dogs. I was STOKED! We took some great photos and after checking it in at the Game & Fish I found out that it is the first cougar ever shot with a bow in the state of South Dakota since the reopening of the mountain lions seasons six years ago.

She was an 80lb 6' 3yr old healthy female with a gorgeous coat and beautiful face.

 

Sean and I talked a few times about strategy, and the current Mountain Lion situation in SD a week or so before he took this cat. As you can tell from his narrative, he's a meticulous and hard driving hunter who earned his trophy! Way to go, Sean!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third Category:

Accidental "Surprise!" Call-Ins!

 

A1  hunterHunting-Washington member "Missing," Central Washington Cascades:

     So on New Years day my son and I were working on our house, and about mid afternoon we decided to go out and do a quick set for coyote or bobcat, it was about 2:30 so we knew we would only have time for 1 or 2 setups.

     200 yards from the truck, we dropped off the road about 20 yards and set up looking north were we could see about 150 yards through scattered timber. My son set up against a good sized fir tree and I set up against a small blow down we were about 25 yds apart. I set my fox pro and mojo critter in a small opening about 20 yds in front of me. This looked like a real nice place to set up. We had good visibility, some thick brush for bobcats on both sides in the bottom of the draw and about 6" of fresh snow from earlier that day. I looked at my watch and it was 3:45 so I new we would only have time for that one set.

     I did 3 sets of howls about 1 minute apart and waited. Several deer moved out of the brush below us and moved off quickly. I turned the fox pro on to a rabbit distress and let it go for about 5 minutes. Then I changed to a higher pitched rabbit call and let it run for about 5 minutes.

     I was just ready to change sound again and did a last sweep of the area and nothing yet, as I looked to my right something told me I needed to look behind me. I slowly turned my head, and sitting on the edge of the road is a lion! Just 17 yards away! From the angle I am fairly sure he was looking over my shoulder at the mojo critter.

     I slowly turned back around and got my sons attention to look up the hill, but from his angle he could not see the cat because it was behind a tree. As I turned around again he was now focused on me because of all of the movement. I knew it would be a good idea to have the business end of the rifle pointed in his direction as I am sure he was looking for a late afternoon snack. I think he figured that I was bigger than what he had heard screaming and stood up wheeled around and headed back into the timber following his own tracks.

     As I stood up my son says, "What was it?"  I said, "It was a lion!" He gave me that 'yeah right' look. (You know the one your kids give you). So we both headed up the hill to the road still about 20 yds apart. I went right to where the cat was crouched and my son came down the road and met me there. Low and behold, a fresh set of cat tracks! That is the first time I have called in a lion, and wouldn't you know... it was 1 day after the season closed! But still a great day of calling
 

This won't be the last "sitting behind me" story, I assure you!

 

 

 

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A2  hunterWeasel, of weaselbrandgamecalls.com, a couple of Night Hunts:

     I was on my way home from a family barbeque. It was in the early 1970's. I had my wife and two small kids with me. Of course I had my rifle, a Ruger Model 77 chambered in 22-250. I also had a spotlight and my predator calls. I decided that since I was driving through some prime predator country that I would squeeze in a couple of quick stands. The kids were asleep and I knew that even if I shot right next to the car they wouldn't wake up.

     I stopped in a likely looking spot for bobcats. I started my usual series on the Circe handcall. It had originally been voiced as a cottontail, but I tuned a reed to get a little deeper, but much raspier sound.

     After several series on the call I picked up a set of eyes in the spotlight. At first the animal was too far away to identify it. It strolled in at a fairly consistent pace only stopping occasionally for a few seconds before proceeding toward me. At some point between 100 and 200 yards I started thinking I had a lion coming in, but still wasn't sure it wasn't a curious deer. Once it got within 100 yards I could clearly see that it was indeed a lion.

     At one point 50 to 75 yards away the lion sat down. I held the cross-hair on the middle of it's chest and squeezed the trigger. The lion jumped skyward and nearly flipped over backward. It gained it's feet and ran back the way it had come in. Now the very stupid part...........I didn't have a flashlight. My wife held the spotlight for me as I walked out to see if I could find the cat. I couldn't.

     I took off work the next day and went back to where I had shot the lion. I found hair and tracks, but no blood. It was rocky terrain and I followed the tracks as far as I could. I spent most of the day inspecting every likely travel route or hiding spot the cat may have taken or been in. I never found that cat.

    hunter  Another night hunt in the early 70's. This time I was with my cousin. We were calling in a similar area as the first cat, but we were over 50 miles away from the first spot. I was using the same Circe call. This lion came in nearly the same way the first lion did. The difference was that the hillside this cat was on was more open and the cat stopped at over 100 yards out. I knew it would be a chip shot and took it.

     This lion dropped and started rolling down the hill. I thought for sure it was stone dead. All of a sudden the cat was up and running along the side of the hill. I didn't get a shot off before the cat made cover. We didn't find any evidence of a hit, but I know I hit it.

     I was shooting Sierra 55 grain Varmiters out of my 22-250. I suspected at that point that I wasn't using enough bullet.

Thanks Weasel!

 

 

 

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A3 hunterPM Member Snakefarm250, Night calling after a Texas archery deer hunt :

     After Saturday evening's deer hunt we decided to make a couple calling stands before going to bed. This deer lease is bowhunting only until December for deer (the lease members made this rule it is not state law). After I suggested we go calling, my buddy said "Fine, but you have to use your bow".  I said, "Whatever it takes!" and we drove to a familiar area where we have called before.

     After getting situated in the back of the truck, I set my E-call on top of the truck and turned it on. It blinked low battery and died instantly. Since the other guys had their hands full, I was forced to call and shoot. I figured we would be lucky to get a predator into bow range, much less shoot it but we had to try.

     After just two minutes of calling  my light man tapped me on the shoulder. Something was coming in. I handed him the call, and picked up my bow, ready to shoot whatever stepped out. I heard him whisper, "Its a cat, It's a cat!" The adrenaline began to flow as I thought how awesome it would be to shoot a bobcat with a bow on camera. We lost the eyes in the brush and he quickly panned the light back and forth until we saw a cat step out at 10yds. Nick's voice cracked as he said "It's a lion!"

     I quickly came to full draw, but just before I could shoot it turned back into the brush leaving me at full draw. My camera guy whispered, "Get the gun!" The gun was unloaded and in the front seat of the truck. I hopped out of the truck and a chill went down my back as I scrambled to load the gun and climb back into the back of the truck.

     At this point the cat had made it to 75yds and was in the thickest brush you have ever seen. The light man continued to call for 45min and the cat finally came 5 ft closer.  I rested the 22-250 on his shoulder and found the glowing eyes in the light. He said "You better shoot, he's had enough." Putting the crosshairs between the eyes I tried to get steady for the most important shot of my life. As the crack of the rifle echoed up and down the river, I thought I heard the smack that every hunter hopes for.

     We walked into the brush armed with a 9mm and a tiny hat light, and we were both nervous as heck. The brush was so thick we couldn't see 3yds in front of us. We finally saw hair and a long tail and the celebration began.

     It was a female cat, shot right in the eye. I cannot begin to express how grateful and excited I am right now. I am 23yrs old and have come to the realization that there is a good chance I will never see, much less shoot a mountain lion again.

     

Now THAT was a great surprise Call-in! Gotta love Texas!

 

 

 

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A4 hunterPM member Jitterbug, an unrealized sighting in CO :

     We started out the stand with Jackrabbit in distress and gave the Coyotes 15 or so minutes. My buddy was designated camera man and had gotten some footage of the previous Coyote. Unbeknownst to the shooters, the camera man saw “something” crossing in front of him about 200 yards out, so he quickly got the video into action. As usually happens he only saw the critter for a few seconds before it walked behind a good sized Pinion tree and, expecting it to come out the other side, he readied the camera and patiently video’d but it never came out the other side.

     At the end of the stand, skeptical and not sure of what he’d just seen, the camera operator quickly showed the video in playback mode to our partner, who quickly dismissed it as a Coyote. I didn’t even bother to look at it assuming he’d seen an uncooperative Coyote, and was anxious to get in another two or three stands so we could call one in for our new hunter who hadn't ever taken one.

     We went on to make another two stands and noted there was surprisingly little Coyote sign in the area, which we would have easily seen with the 4” of fresh snow.
The last stand was one of my never fails stands, it always produced, this time we called 30 minutes up until dark and only produced an owl.

     Later that night in the motel, the camera man, still wondering what he’d seen and videoed, showed me the video on the little camera screen, I quickly glanced at the poor quality video and dismissed it as a deer.

     Several days later, my camera man calls and excitedly tells me the mystery critter in the video is a lion, I’m somewhat skeptical. But he had hooked the camera up to his wide screen TV and he said without a doubt it was a lion. He came over last night and hooked it up to my TV, yep, no doubt about it. Even though it’s 175-200 yards out, there is no mistaking the characteristics of Mountain Lion, I can tell by the size of the vegetation, it’s a large one, and it appears to be a large Tom.

     We had worked hard, drove far and made around 15 stands in two days, so calling in just the one Coyote was a little disappointing, especially when you have an out of state hunter and want to produce for him, but we enjoyed the hunt, the beautiful country and good camaraderie, and the uninvited guest in the video made for a very pleasant surprise!

 

Great story, Thanks Jitterbug!
 


 

 

 

 

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A5  hunterWeasel, Of weaselbrandgamecalls.com. Coyote stand produces another cat sitting behind the hunters!

     My regular partner and I made a stand for coyotes in N. AZ. I was running Utah Jack, sound #233 on my Foxpro. We didn't see anything and I called the stand off after 20-30 minutes.

     Walking back to the truck my partner spotted lion tracks on the trail we had walked in on. My partner is an expert tracker so he decided to see where this lion had come from and where he had gone.

     He found tracks in our tracks so we knew the lion had come in while we were calling. He followed the tracks to a spot right behind where I was sitting. The cat had snuck in and snuck away without us ever knowing it was there.

     Funny thing is....my partner carries a camera and seldom if ever carries a gun. I was the only one with a gun on that stand. It turns out that the cat had come out of a rugged canyon that was behind us. After walking up behind me the cat made a loop and went back down into the same canyon.

 

Still not the last "sitting behind me" story...

 

 

 

 

 

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 A6 hunter Krustyklimber, Washington State :

      I was calling in the snow, without worrying who might show up, and found cougar tracks over my own, when I got up to leave, where I was "followed" to where I sat, and was "watched" from 10 yards or so away.

     It terrifies me, the way these two cougars didn't cut and run (like a bear or coyote might), and how both came from behind on my wind and scent trail.

     Very typically "Catty" behavior... Are they a threat, or are they not a threat?!?!? What we know is, they're Cats!

 

 

 

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A7 hunter NPHA Member DAA, on 4 Call-Ins he's had while Coyote hunting :

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     Never saw it. The tracks say it walked up behind us during the stand and sat about ten yards behind my partner for awhile before walking away. Just like with coyotes, I wish there was some way of knowing how many we have called in but will never know about.

     Over the last several years, that one (picture of tracks) , and three others that were seen, all came to the Foxpro playing the same jackrabbit distress sound. Two sat on their haunches out in front of us at slam dunk range - would have been EASY kills. The third did not come any closer than about 400 yards and was fidgeting around quite a bit, I'm not sure I would have even taken that shot even if I had a tag.

     All were while trying to call coyotes. All in mixed Pinion/Juniper and Sage terrain. And of course, because they came in on coyote stands, all came in within less than 10 minutes.

     Who knows how many would have come in at 20 minutes! Great pic, thanks!

 

 

 

 

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A8 hunterOkanagan, Whitetail Hunting Call-in :

     A friend and I were rattling for whitetails in a foggy dawn when a cougar came in to the sound.  We had set up on a flat of scattered brush surrounded by timber.  Old patchy snow lay on grassy strips that wandered between islands of waist high buck brush.  The snow had melted and frozen so many times it was crunchy hard and covered a half inch deep with crystal hoarfrost flakes.   A mouse couldn’t move silently on the snow patches.

     Several minutes into our stand I heard something big walk a step or two on the snow out to my left front.  This went on with long pauses of silence, a large animal edging closer.  I kept straining to see a buck in the fog.  My partner caught my eye and pointed silently at the sound.  He heard it also.

     It came to the nearest patch of brush, stayed silent awhile and retreated the way it had some, slightly faster and quieter on the retreat.  By this time a half hour had oozed by.  We kept calling till the 45 minute mark and then walked to the location of the nearest sound.  Fresh cougar tracks in the hoarfrost showed his approach and retreat.   He’d come within 40 feet.

     Thanks for that, Okanagan, it's good to get one of those stories. You hear so often of them coming in to turkey calling, elk calling, and deer calling...

 

 

 

 

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A9 hunter24hourcampfire member macrabbit, Central California:

     I went up into the hills today to verify some zeros before the trip, stopped at a favorite spot to call up a coyote. I squallered for something less than a minute, and then within thirty seconds I had a cougar at twenty feet. And the only reason it stopped there was because I waved my hands and spoke to it.

     I'd thought at first that it was one of the occasional bobcats that come in, but got myself corrected quickly. It came in at a steady walk, not particularly intent. It didn't seem to really see me until my movements. I was in blue jeans and green shirt, sitting against an oak trunk in a sea of dried wild oats.

     So it stopped and just stood there looking at me while I made conversation (and unlimbered my .45, just in case). But then its ears went flat and it sank down two inches! At that I stood up and said some nasty things to it. It still just stood there, twenty dang feet away. I wasn't quite comfortable with the situation, so I dumped a .45 a few feet behind it. Not much reaction, but it began to amble away at an angle. I sent another round under its tail to reinforce my position, and at that it left at a slow trot. I followed it, at a sane distance, and made sure that it was gone for good.

     Kinda ruined my coyote setup, though.

     I'm no expert, but I'm thinking that it wasn't a full-grown specimen. And it sure wasn't roly-poly fat. I guess it, too, has noticed that our deer population isn't what it once was.

 

Thanks so much for that story, macrabbit! Ever wonder how they'll react when you want them to leave? Well....... !!!

 

 

 

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A10  hunter24hour Campfire Member Keith, Baja Mexico:

     A friend and I were down in Baja Mexico at the Bay of Los Angles calling coyotes in 1989. We stopped at a trash dump outside of town and made a decision to make a stand to see if we could call some in.

     I had made a portable remote control electronic caller, and we put the caller out about 35 yards away. My partner and I carved ourselves a small place to put our stools to sit on in the edge of bushes, then I turned on the call.

     About 9 Minutes into the call, I was getting frustrated because we had not seen a predator of any kind and the area was loaded with them. We continued to sit, and I heard my partner yell, "LION"! I looked up to see a big lion swap ends and start walking back the way he had come. I could see his tail twitching above the desert bushes.

     I walked over to my partner ready to wrap my gun around his neck, when I realized that it was illegal for us to take the lion in the first place...he was visibly shaken by having the lion within 15' of him coming straight to him. It took him about a day for his nerves to settle down.

     You never know what is going to come in when you start blowing a varmint call.

 

You ain't kiddin'! Read on...

 

 

 

 

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A11 hunterNPHA member cmiddleton, Wyoming.

     My brother set me up with a ranch hand preacher whos name is Steve. He has been asking my brother to take him out and teach him to call coyotes. My brother told him he would have me do it as I'm the most dedicated caller he knows.

     I stopped by his house on Thursday night to meet him and see if we could locate some with howls. We howled from the barn and sure enough we got some responses from across the creek. We planed to set up on the coyotes in the morning.

     I met him at daylight, and we walked up the creek. We set up on the fence line planning on pulling the coyotes out into the open with howls and a rizzo decoy I named "Max."

     I opened up with a locate lone howl, no answer. I tried female invitations on the fox pro. Nothing. Then I went to pup in distress for 20 minutes, still nothing. Well the night before the coyotes never answered until I used the challenge, so I started challenging on my tally ho, and mixed in some rabbit with the little green reaper call.

     All of a sudden I got two loud long grrroughs then a cough, like "gruf" "gruf" "gruf" repeated every 3 or 4 seconds. The lion came through the brush and looked at Max, and then turned and left, still doing the cough "gruf's" the whole time.

     No tag and closed season.

     No coyotes came in or sounded off, so the hunt was a bust, but it was still one of my most thrilling of my life... one I'll never forget!

     I called to Max, but he is one spoiled coyote... he never comes when I call him, and he makes me carry him back to the truck every time to boot!
 

A11b hunter (cmiddleton, again) Back in 91 or 92, I had a rancher call and want me to knock down some coyotes where his sheep were grazing. He had lost 14 head in one night.

     I went in well before day light and tried to locate the coyotes with the howler, no answers.

     I called several good stands with no takers.

     My calling partner and I gave it our all with no takers. I was completely confused.

     We set up where two small streams join together. I set up in some buck brush and he set up around the corner of the hill 30 yrds away. I made a great deer in distress with a johnny stewart grunt call. I wish I could find that call again, I'd buy it for sure.

     I called for 20 minutes when I heard a LOUD SCREAM then "BOOM!"

     I stood up and looked at my partner, and said "Bobcat?"

     He said "MOUNTAIN LION!"

     I looked behind me and there it was 20 feet away.

     Game and fish were called, and they initially wrote him up for no tag and closed area, but after investigating they decided it was a threat to me and he shot it to protect me. (Which is what happened.) They said that by the bullet hole through both shoulder blades, they could tell the lion was crouched and ready to pounce on the funny looking deer in the brush. (Me!) When my partner went to court, they went ahead and dropped all the charges.
 

     Great stories... sounds like Wyoming Creek Bottoms can produce when the Coyotes go quiet!

 

 

 

 

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A12 hunter MADMAX, Hunting-Washington.com

     I decided to head over to Tarboo lake near Quilcene and call coyotes. I've gone there a lot over the years. I parked in my same old spot and went in to the same old stump that I've killed a few coyote's from and also missed the shot on the bobcat, it's a sweet set up. I hunt in the bigger timber and call where the timber corner meets the clear-cut and the doghair. So I get down to my stump and start checking things out for the setup. I saw some tracks that I thought were bobcat due to their size. I thought to myself, "Cool, bobcats are still here."

     I got all comfy and put my headnet on and started my calls, I call for 1 hour at a time, and about 5 minutes apart, and try and stay real still except for moving my head. I gave a few squeals, and notice a woodpecker fly over in front of me working on a blowdown tree. This is good... it's making the squeaking noises woodpeckers make, and I'm thinking it will draw anything that comes in towards it. So I wait a few minutes and call again.

     I stopped calling, swept my head back and forth and back again, then all of sudden I see it!
I recognize it as a cat looking at me from behind a horizontal blowdown tree, just the head peeking over it. Then it hits me, it's a cougar!

     I don't want it getting closer, it was at about 50 yards, so I pick up the mini 14 and put the peep on it... Bang! I got it! Head shot!

     I run over to and check it out. Just to make sure I pop it again in the chest. Dead kitty.
It's a female, so to make darn sure no 1st year cubs are with it, I make a bunch noise to scare anything in the area away.

     The cougar turned out to be 110 lbs. and seven and half feet long. I look at the rug everyday and she was excellent eating. I used a burnham bros C-3 reed shoved in the end of 8 inches of auto fuel line!
 

     Some may be surprised I left the place name in this story... I did it on purpose. Tarboo is a 5 mile dirt road into one of my favorite lowland fishing lakes, it's mostly public/timber company land all the way in, and it's very heavily traveled. (Hunters, Fishermen, Dirt Bikers, Partiers [with their rotten stinking filthy booze and trash], Shooters, Photographers, Picnic groups, and many others...) It just goes to show, you just never know! Great story madmax!

 

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A13 hunterHunting Washington Member JamieB:

     I had been riding a gated road, glassing clear cuts looking for bear and I checked the two trail cams I have up in the area.

     There's this one cut up on the side of a ridge that I've been seeing a lot of deer in all summer, a few good bucks. The road side hills right through the middle of the cut. This cut is 4 or 5 yards old, about a mile long and 600 yards wide, not to brushy looking down from the road, mostly dry grass about 4 feet tall.

     I Set up around 30 feet below a wide corner in the road, sat on the ground, leaned back against a stump and called off and on for around 20 minutes. I was using a Johnny Stewart cotton-tail in distress. I like this call, it is just raspy enough but not too much. I started out as loud as I can blow that call, about two minutes of loud, fast and sorta erratic, changing the sound with my hands over the end of the call. I don't have a set pattern to my calling, just call for a couple of minutes then glass for a few, call some more and keep repeating until I cant sit still anymore, then move on.

     It had been a few minutes since my last calling, and I just put the bino's down when I saw movement to my left in the grass. I thought it was a deer trying to sneak past my up the hill at first. Turns out, the cat came up the hill until even with me, and turned towards me and stepped out of the tall grass at 30 yards.

     He saw my as soon as I saw him. My rifle was sitting across my legs, my right hand on it so it came up as soon as my brain registered cougar. He stared at me for a couple of seconds, more than enough time for me to make a good shot... if the season had been open! After a couple of seconds he turned straight away from me and it was only one leap and he was out of my sight. I stood up hoping to get a look at him out in the clear cut farther but he didn't go down the ridge so I didn't see him again.
 

Cat Shows Up On a Bear Stand! Great Story, Jamie!
 

 

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A13 hunter Okanagan, Vancouver Island, BC:

 

We called a cougar this week and watched it for 11 minutes inside of 30 yards.

On an evening patrol after a bear for a young hunting partner, he saw a cougar. We tried to call it soon after with a hand call. The call is a prototype closed reed prey distress designed and made by Rainshadow that he let me try out. It has a lower, raspy jackrabbit tone.

We set up on a brush choked old logging road, a lane between walls of alder saplings. We had the advantage of being pretty sure the cat was on the downhill side of the road so we could concentrate there. Within 1 ½ to two minutes, the cougar showed up on the edge of the road and started watching us from partial hiding behind a light screen of leaves.

The lion was hard to see with naked eye even though it was closer than 30 yards, but with binoculars we could easily see the front half of the cat. His face and eyes and white chin are engraved in my memory. Part of his face plus some of his neck and all of his shoulder were wide open and easy for a scoped rifle. When he changed position and edged closer, he showed the front of his chest free and clear for a shot.

After two or three minutes we started timing and the cat stayed another nine minutes. I would call softly every minute or two to hold his interest. Once I switched to a few seconds of frenetic fast sound and the cat crouched down and edged a foot closer, his chin just above the big paws with his eyes intent. After awhile he stood again, and he kept looking across the road, telegraphing that he was going to cross. Sure enough, he walked across in the open and into the brush on the uphill side.

My hunting partner and I both took pictures but it was too dim in the sundown canyon for the little digital cameras we had to pick up enough light when zoomed in. We first saw the lion about 8:55 PM. The lion is circled below but it is a virtually worth less picture.



I thought that all cougar seasons were closed and so had not bought a 2010 license nor tag when the new license year recently started. My companion had a scoped rifle in hand but had not bought a cougar tag since he didn’t think the season was open either. We’d read the regs wrong. A half hour later at our camp, a friend who lives in the area pointed out in the regs that cougar is still open in that area.

Call it a cosmic joke to have such an easy shot with no tag. I felt like grinning and crying. unsure It was a fun treat to see him and we picked up a bit more about lion traits.

Ummm... welll....... Read your Regs Pamphlet, People! Great encounter!

 

 

 

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A14 hunter AO, Southern Oregon

Called in a lion today, but didn't get him.

It's a long story especially for one where no lion was killed but I learned some things.
He ( all varmints are referred to as he till you kill 'em and prove otherwise) came in after about 20 minutes of Adult Cottontail on my foxpro.

I wasn't really targeting a lion, was more bobcat hunting, but I was in an area with a lot of lion and deer sign and not surprised to see one come there.

I had set up in a draw with doug fir and pine, relatively open. The finger ridges on either side were choked with chapparal and mountain mahogany. I had my FX3 in the low hanging limb of a gnarly old doug fir, with my "commanche war feather" dangling in the breeze beneath it.

There was a good deer trail going just below that through the draw, I wasn't able to see the trail where it came out of the brush on both sides at one time. I opted for the down wind view. I like to be able to shoot down wind, since that's where most varmints will end up if you don't kill or spook them first in my experiences.

When the lion showed up he was 60 yards from me, about 45 from the caller. He just walked in like he owned the world and stopped behind some long limbs of a doug fir at fory yards. If he would have moved 5 yards or less in almost any direction he would have been in plain view. I got my rifle pointed at the spot he came from in case he left that way and continued to call like I had been, about 30-40 seconds of sound then 1-3 minutes of quiet. This went on for 20 minutes and he never moved.

I was starting to think he had sneaked away, but wasn't sure how, when someone started target practicing on a road just up the hill from me. The shooting was close and didn't stop for the rest of the time I was there. They would shoot then it would get quiet for few minutes and start back up again. After another 15 minutes of calling and shooting noise and no lion, I figured he had managed leave without me seeing.

I have a few lion sounds on my call and figured this would be a good time to play around with them since I know there was a lion within earshot. I tried some female calls off and on not too loud then a lion whistle the same way with no reaction. I was hoping to hear some kind of a noise made by an actual lion. After about 15 minutes of lion sound experiment and no movement or reply I really figured he had left. I let everything set quiet for about 5 minutes and changed to a blacktail doe distress, by now I figured I didn't have anything to lose so I may as well see If a change of sound would make a difference.

 Well it did.

As soon as I turned on the deer sound, I saw the lion slinking off kind of the way it came in, a little lower on a different deer trail. Just by the way he was moving I figured he'd had enough and was leaving for good. I had a .223 with me so I didn't want to shoot unless it was a head or neck shot. Just before he was over the edge into the thick brush I held on his head and shot as he was walking away. He never even acted like I had shot, just kept walking, but by now was in the brush. I racked another shell and was feeling around on the ground for my spent casing when I looked down there and the lion was looking right at me. He was behind some mahogany brush and tall grass, and all I could see was his head. I got on him again and was just about to shoot when he looked the other way, so now it was the back of his head I was holding on. I slowly squeezed the trigger and lost sight of him. I didn't feel too confident in the shot since there was some grass and twigs my bullet would have had to weave through. I waited about 5 minutes, the target shooters were going at it the whole time, and headed down for look. I cleanly missed, he was gone for good this time.

It was disappointing to be so close for so long and not be able to make it happen. But I have lots of time and my country is lousy with lions, so there will be other chances.

This is the fourth lion that's come to the call when I've been there, and they all came to a rabbit sound.

One showed up after almost an hour, and the others have all been there in 20 minutes or less.

This one and one more came when bobcats were the target.

One came in the summer when we were calling coyotes.

The hour long wait was on a lion stand.
 

Some good observations to be made in this story. Thanks AO.

 

 

 

A15 Cory, Oregon

 

Slightly over a year ago, I was contacted by my father, who lives in Indiana. He told me the that he was going to get into predator hunting. Specifically, he was going to start hunting coyotes in Indiana. As he always does, he did research on what kind of an electronic caller he should purchase, and bought a really expensive one. He immediately went out and started calling in coyotes and shooting them in Indiana.

Not content with such a small predator as a coyote, he learned about a seminar in Ohio on calling cougars. He drove to Ohio attended the seminar, and of course went nuts over the thought of calling in and killing a cougar. He called me here in Oregon and announced that he was going to be coming to Oregon for our annual elk bowhunt in N.E. Oregon. I have to admit that I was skeptical. I have hunted elk and deer and bear in Oregon and had never heard of anyone trying to call in a cougar. The traditional method of hunting cougars with dogs had been outlawed in 1995. My understanding was that now cougar hunting mainly consisted of accidentally bumping into them in the woods while in pursuit of other game.

However, I agreed to give it a try and in September of 2010, we went to the Sled Springs Unit in N.E. Oregon to give it a try.

We were using the traditional fawn in distress call. Our first few tries, I realized that deer would flock to the fawn distress call almost every time we set up. We called in dozens of deer who would run in to our speaker and then look confused when there was no fawn there, actually in distress. I was convinced that at least the sound must be working if the deer thought it was real.

On our third day of calling in the evening, we walked in on a logging road about 350 yards from where I had parked my truck. We had seen a great deal of deer tracks on this road (more then usual). We set the speaker on a stump next to a very small pine tree that that was leaning over. The pine tree hid the speaker from the downhill side. I went up the hill 15 yards from the speaker and sat down on the ground. My Father, went to my right about 40 yards and sat down on another stump. I was facing to the west and it was 5:30 in the afternoon. Not good for me as the sun was right in my face. My Father turned the speaker on and after about three minutes of the fawn sound, I heard a scraping noise on the speaker. I could not see the speaker from my seated position was convinced that it was a squirrel who was curious about the speaker. In my head, there was no way a full size animal could be that close to me and I not be able to see it. About 3-4 seconds passed and I heard the sound again, only this time I saw the small pine tree move. Now I knew that something bigger was at the speaker. I leaned up onto my knees and I could see a cougar’s ears sticking up above the speaker. Just as I saw this, the cougar grabbed my Dad’s speaker and took off with it through the small pine tree, and down the hill, with the sound still going.
I jumped to my feet and took a step to the right to try to get a shot at the cougar as he was running down the hill with the speaker in his mouth. I won’t give you the all the excuses I have about missing, but a hurried shot, in the sun at my first cougar, that was running away with a very expensive piece of equipment in his mouth was tough. I believe that I shot right behind him. He stopped for a second as I tried to work the bolt on my rifle, and then he took off down the hill full speed. I ran to my right to try to get another angle on him through the trees. I saw my Dad, and the look on his face, like “what in the world is wrong with my son?” The only thing I could get out of my mouth was, “Cougar’s got the speaker, he’s running down the hill!”

I never got another look at the cougar, but my Father had seen his tail disappear over the hill. My Dad did not believe me that cougar had stolen the speaker, until we walked down to where I had shot. The speaker had quit making noise and it was laying on the ground there. It had tooth marks and cougar spit all over it. Turning it off and back on, and the speaker was working again. No blood or hair found and I knew that I had missed. We stood on the hill laughing till we cried because we figured that no one would believe that a cougar had stole our speaker. However, we did have the saliva and tooth marks for proof. The rest of the hunt was uneventful and no other cougars were called in.

This brings us to September of 2011. After my experience from 2010, I had gone and purchased my own caller and an AR-15 rifle in 6.8 SPC. My thought being that if I had semi-auto the first time, after the cougar had stopped I would have had a better follow-up shot.

My Dad spent most of 2011, on the phone with me making a strategy about this year’s hunt. He also came up with the idea to bring my ten year old son this year, with the thought being that we could call a coyote into him.

We got to my camp on Monday August 29, 2011. We called in one coyote that evening that my son could not see. Over the next couple of days we called in several others, with him missing one facing him at 75 yards. He was using a single shot .44 Magnum rifle with very reduced loads so that it did not kick him. On Thursday September 01, 2011, I suggested that we go behind our camp to hunt coyotes as I had heard them howling all night for the last two nights. We did a couple of set-ups with a rabbit distress call with no luck.

Our final spot of the evening was a mere .6 miles from camp. We were in a small clearing about 200 yards off of a logging road that we had walked in on. My Dad was sitting about four feet to my right with my son in between us. I did not have my rifle as we were doing the mentored youth hunting program here in Oregon. The Mentor cannot have a weapon when you are hunting with a mentored youth. We set the speaker next to a tree about 35 yards away, and had good wind blowing from the speaker to us. I started off with some coyote howls and immediately started getting answers from about 300 yards away on the other side of the speaker, an ideal situation. I changed the sounds to aggressive coyote barks and got answered back with the same kind of barks. I could tell the coyotes were coming our way. They seemed to stop out about 100 yards, and just stayed out there barking. This went on for nearly 20 minutes, and they would just not close the distance. I was getting frustrated, and my Dad suggested that I change the sound to coyote pups in distress. This had worked earlier for us in the week on having a couple of coyotes coming in.

I switched the sound, and after being on for about 30-45 seconds I heard a loud noise coming our way, and closing the distance fast. My thought at the time was it was a bunch of coyotes rushing in and the biggest problem would be for my son to pick one to shoot. I shut the sound on the speaker off, as I heard this, thinking that the coyotes would rush the clearing looking for the sound, and my son would get a shot.

I looked back up expecting to see coyotes, when out of the bushes about 15 yards from the speaker sprung a large lion. He was charging the speaker at full speed and stopped about 10 yards from it. The cougar had come from the side my Dad was sitting on, and I whispered “Cougar!” I was expecting to here my Dad’s rifle go off, but there was only silence. I realized that he could not see the cougar from where he was sitting. I could only see the cougar’s face and part of his front shoulder. I had the intention of letting my son take the shot, but thought, If my Dad can’t see him, maybe my son can’t either from the angle where they were sitting and the bushy tree that was in the way. I told my son “give me the gun”. We were lucky that he is right handed, and I am left handed, as we only had to move the gun a few inches.

As, I took the gun and got the cougar in the scope, he had spotted us, and I could tell from his body posture, that he knew something was wrong and was getting ready to leave. I put the crosshairs on his front shoulder, with my last thought being, that I hoped the reduced .44 magnum rifle was enough gun for him. My shot hit him perfect and he dropped straight down to the ground. He made one quick attempt to get up, but couldn't and kicked his paws for about 5-10 seconds before he was dead. I turned to my Dad and said “dead cougar on the ground!” He was flabbergasted as neither of us had expected a cougar to come into our coyote sounds. I asked my son if he had seen the cougar before I shot, and he said he could only see it’s head. My Father had not seen him at all because of the tree. My assumption had been right about their angle of vision.

On analyzing, our set-up for this, we believe that the cougar hearing all of the coyote barks back and forth, had decided that the coyotes had got into a fight and then switching to the coyote distress sounds, one of them had been injured, and he was expecting an easy meal.

I must say that I felt bad about neither of them being able to take the shot. But, it sometimes goes that way in hunting. We walked the 35 yards down to the cougar, he was a magnificent cat. Checked in the next day at the ODFW office, he weighed 125 lbs, field dressed. He was 7 feet 4 inches from nose to tail, and estimated to be 4-5 years old.

This was our first cougar, I say our’s because it was team effort. Each of the hunts lasted about 9-10 days. We called in one cougar for each hunt, 2010 and 2011. We hunted morning and evening with an average of 2-3 set-ups each morning or evening. On, both hunts we called in a cougar within four days of arrival at our camp. I am not sure if this is average, above or below. If it is an average, then I would say that if you are interested in calling in a cougar, it may not be as hard as you think. Apparently, both fawn and coyote sounds will work.

 

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