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A1 Hunting-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 Weasel, 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.
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A3 PM 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 PM 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 Weasel, 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 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 NPHA Member DAA, on 4 Call-Ins he's had while Coyote hunting :
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 Okanagan, 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 24hourcampfire 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 24hour 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 NPHA 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 (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 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 Hunting 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 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.
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 AO, Southern OregonCalled 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.
A16 DS: Oregon
Several years ago while November muzzleloader elk hunting in the Santiam Unit of Oregon I saw a cougar.
John and I had a dozen elk spooked off the ridge above us, running past me down the hill. I walked the overgrown skid trail up the ridge to the top, then started cow calling. John went the other direction to the upper end of this same ridge.
The cougar was crouching behind a shoulder high douglas fir tree twitching it’s tail about 25 yards away. It took me about a second to “see” the cougar thru the tree. It was facing me ready to pounce. By the time I cocked the hammer on the 58 cal rifle, raised it and aimed, the cougar was flying thru the air off to my right. I never got a shot. It disappeared into the dark timber from the reprod patch we were hunting.
My partner was up the ridge several hundred yards and heard me plainly, shouting “get down here now”. I wanted him to go into the dark timber with me. He grabbed my arm, telling me it was “Miller Time” and we should head back to camp a few miles away.
Guess the cow call sort of works on cats.
A17 Hunter JASNT
I was elk hunting and had just moved camp to the opposite side of the draw.
I set up on a cliff overlooking a thick cedar grove that followed a creek down the draw. From where I was set up I could see straight across to the other side where I had been camped the day before. Down below there was an open corridor between me and the cedars about 30 yards wide with mostly brush and trails.
I was getting bored and started playing with my ecaller playing elk sounds I had put together of several cows talking sweet to a young bull. Sequence lasted 8 min and I played it twice. Then I spot something right next to where my truck had been parked the day before. I pull up the binos and see a cougar sitting looking my way. 566 yards across the draw.
I had already tagged a cat but figured I'd see how it would go. I hit play one more time and immediately the cat drops down in too the draw. 22 min later the cougar is right below me focused toward my call. I watch it slowly sneaking through the trails and brush till it gets to the trail that leads up to me.
I jumped up and yell, "Hey cat!" In a flash, it's gone! Never saw it leave, it just disappeared.
It looked to be an old cat as it was very long and tall with what looked like loose skin hanging from it's belly like and old barn cat that has recently weaned a litter. That was the day I fell in love with cougar calling!
A18 Matt /Predator Masters Member - Colorado
I was Turkey Hunting here in Colorado a few years back on the Front Range. I drove approximately 35 minutes from my house to a spot that I had been seeing lots of Turkey sign. When I got to the spot where I was going to park I saw another guy had beaten me to it. I figured I would try to get around him and go in deeper so I wouldn't mess up his hunt.
I walked a logging road down that was in between 2 ridges and it led down to a canyon. I thought I would walk down the road call and see if I could get reaction gobble. I walked the road and used my box call every 80-100 yards. I walked to the end where there was private land, had a snack and started walking back the direction I came in. As I was walking back I did the same thing - called every 80-100 yards.
As I was about a quarter of a mile from where I had parked I could hear the other hunter calling on top. I got to a point of the road where you could look down in between the ridges to the canyon. As I looked down I could see a Cougar standing about 40 yards a way from me looking through the grass and I froze. The cat calmly turned around and ran up the other side of the ridge not making a single sound when he ran off.
The cat had to of followed me out of the canyon beside the road and I had spotted him when I got in between the lion and the other hunter. I have been back to that area several times to try to call a mountain lion in without any luck.
I think this year I will try with one of Rainshadow's calls!
A19: Matt /Predator Masters Member - Colorado
Bringing out new hunters is something that I really enjoy. I love to share the experiences that I have and hope its something they will eventually do themselves.
My buddy, who I had taken out a few times Turkey Hunting that year, was having a blast and really getting into it. We were going to try out a new area that I hadn't been to but thought it was worth checking out. I figured we would get in there mid day and look around to see if we could find any sign. It was an area where we would have to cross a river and hike in so I knew not a lot of other people were as crazy as I was to do that.
We got across the river at approximately 11am and started to hike through this huge canyon. It was an area that didn't have a lot of cover due to a fire 15 or so years back. As we were walking I was calling every 100 yards to see if I could get a reaction on the other side of the canyon where I figured turkeys had gone for the day. My buddy had a different idea and thought we should split up and go check out the other side. I kept explaining to him that we needed to stay together in case we were in a calling scenario and the turkey would lock up out of range. The discussion quickly turned into an argument and I kept going up hill while he lagged behind me 100 yards back.
He stopped to sit on some rocks where I had lasted called. I motioned to him that we should get on top to see if there was any sign. Once he got up to me we stopped to drink some water. As soon as I took a sip of water I looked down from where we came from saw 3 animals and I thought "Dangit" someone's dogs are following me.
As soon as I thought that it quickly registered in my brain - Lions!!!
They walked out from the other side of the canyon right across the rocks my friend has just been sitting on. If he had not moved 5 minutes earlier he would have had 3 mountain lions on top of him. Since it was a very open burn area we watched them go down into the valley we had walked into where it was very thick brush.
We waited 30 or so minutes and talked about how we witnessed something not a lot of people see in their lifetime but we still had to get out of there and our exit was right where we saw the mountain lions go through. As we were walking out we were trying to make plenty of noise so we wouldn't surprise the mountain lions when we got to the valley.
Once we got there I looked over about 75 yards there was a mountain lion looking right at us. I didnt see the other two. That one disappeared into the thick stuff and we quickly made it back across the river.
I think it was 2 sub adults that hadn't left their mom and they were looking for a turkey dinner.
My friend still hunts with me to this day and if he says something about going in the opposite direction I give him a hard time reminding him that if he didn't listen to me things might have not of turned out so well for him!
A20: Gunhiker - Foxpro Forums
I was bear hunting with my brother several years ago (2014). With no luck and the sun setting, we decided to see if we could call in a coyote. As I finished a coyote howl, a cougar ran straight at me from around a corner. It stopped right in front of me as I raised my Savage 110 in 270 Winchester. We locked eyes and started a stare-down! My brother was actually closer and jabbed it in the side with his traditions Vortek .50. The cat jumped in the air, landed on his feet and stared at me again! My brother started to stand up with his rifle raised at the cat, and so did I. The cat backed up, turned and ran around the corner. Back up on the Ridge it screamed at us! We were told it would have been justified to shoot it, but it was a small cougar, 2 days before the cougar season started. It was a cool experience anyway!!
A21: Suzie - Wet side of Washington This happened a couple of years ago when my husband and I were hunting blacktail in Western Washington on private timberland.
We were fortunate enough to have a good amount of fresh snow on the ground and a good 4wd vehicle. We drove to a large hill and walked down a road through an area that is a mix of young and medium replanted timber, with thicker timber nearby. The logging road angled off a main road , made a 90 degree turn, then ended in about 120 yards. My husband went to the end of the road and put out some blacktail urine. I set up at the corner in my snow camo with my rifle on shooting sticks, sitting on a stool with a 2 foot tall strip of fabric on tent stakes serving as a blind for my legs so I could move a little but not be seen. Hubby took his bow and went to my right up hill and then down the ridge where the trees were pretty thick but we had seen a lot of deer sign.
I sat there for a couple hours when all of a sudden some movement catches my eye straight ahead of me. It's a cougar sneaking in, crossing the road about 80 yards in front of me in a small dip in the road. As it came out I couldn't believe the length of it! It seemed as if it's head was on one side of the road and the tail was still in the ditch on the other. It had no clue that I was there, it was focused straight ahead, slinking slowly forward. My heart was pounding nearly out of my chest. I got the cat in my scope, aimed and took a shot.
I am pretty certain that I was on my feet before the bullet went the 80 yards. The cat leaped up and turned, it landed facing me. It took a second to stare at me with eyes that seemed to convey both acknowledgement and disgust. Then with one leap it was gone. Immediately after the shot I heard deer snorting and crashing to my immediate right, in the area where my husband was. We had no idea that the deer were there until that moment.
My husband came running back saying" did you get it?" , thinking I had shot at a buck.... all I could do was stammer... "it was HUGE!" before being able to communicate that it had been a cougar. After pulling myself together we walked down and checked the snow and determined that it had been a clean miss. This didn't surprise me since my body seemed to be trying to execute both the fight and flight responses simultaneously, with the flight response having the advantage at that critical moment.
It was such an awesome experience, even though I missed the cat. I will never forget it. Some days it makes me want to put my camo on, get comfortable and sit there and watch and wait, just to see what will happen. It's experiences like this that keep me wanting to go to the woods.
Edit- - I wanted to post this story because it demonstrates the cat's attraction to scent, and to the deer that were responding to the scent as well... Very little talk about the Lion using its nose... but they definitely do!
A22 - Billy Eastern WA
I live just west of Spokane Wa. I was out north west of town in an area usually heavy with coyotes.
As we arrived the snow was just letting up we had 3-4in of fresh powdery snow on the ground. Myself and my hunting partner (17yo daughter) walked to the edge of this shallow canyon. We’d hunted coyotes here previously and always called a couple out of the canyon.
We sat up below this rock ledge about 12-15 ft high and the sun was starting to come up from directly behind us. I set out my fox pro and my motion decoy 30-40 yard out from us. I started out just like we always do volume low we are hunting right beside a sheep ranch so I was using lamb distress call. I ran the call on low for about 2-3 minutes turned it off and waited 5 minutes nothing so I cranked the volume up a bit and played lamb distress again for 2-3 minutes nothing so after waiting for 5 minutes (usually we have a willing coyote here in this amount of time so I thought it was weird) I cranked up the volume and let it run for about 15 min off and on every couple minutes...
... that’s when I saw a shadow out in front of me from the top of the rock wall behind me. As soon as I saw it I knew it was a cougar! I turned the volume down on the call to barely audible and let it run. I saw the shadow sit down, we were literally less than 20 ft from this cougar on the rock behind us. My heart was pounding in my ears.
Here I am with a 17 Rem AR 15 and my daughter and her trusty 204 Ruger. I kind of cranked my head around to look up and I could see the breath and just the tip of the cats muzzle.
That’s when daddy’s panic sat in what if the cat hops off this ledge it’s going be right in our laps. The biggest bullet either of us have is my daughters little 30 grainer in her 204 I have 25 grain bullets in my 17 Rem. So I turned my call off. Then I thought that darn mojo is still going and that is probably what the cat is looking at. We had about a 15min stand off I wasn’t moving my daughter looked like she just saw a ghost me thinking if that cat jumps down here I am giving it all 10 round out of my 17 Rem.
Lo and behold, just as fast as it appeared it was gone. The shadow just stood up and walked away.
After a few minutes I went and collected my fox pro and mojo and we hiked down to the end of the rock wall and then back up above where we were sitting and looked at the tracks and stuff. To this day my daughter still talks about that cougar coming in to the lamb distress call.
A23 - Customer from Oregon.
“The first week of August I went bear hunting. Left the house early. A half hour before daylight I was parked high in the Oregon Cascades.
After just over an an hour of walking the abandoned logging road, I found a rocky avalanche-style chute similar to what I’ve called bears up before. Old growth and fern meadows above me, old growth and reprod below. Very steep country. I was facing downhill, peering down the chute when I began calling. I was using an external reed cow elk call, and making it sound like an elk calf in distress. Constant sounds, very high pitched. Mew-mew-mew.
I called for about 30 seconds and then stopped for 10 seconds. Five or 10 seconds into my next set of mews, I heard something on my backtrail. Thinking it was a bear, and knowing they have excellent noses, I stood up and walked towards the sound, since it would soon be hitting my scent from where I walked up the road. A few years’ experience of calling bears and coyotes has made me realize that sometimes you just have to get up and move to get a chance if the predator comes in from an angle you’re not expecting.
Taking no more than 5 steps, a cougar stood up about 10 yards ahead of me. It had hunkered in the 18 inch tall grass. It immediately turned and jumped, headed down the road I just walked up. Somehow when it was running flat out, quartering away from me, I swung my gun up and made a perfect 30 yard shot on the bounding lion. At the shot, it dropped. If I won a billion dollar lottery prize I would not have been more excited as when I saw that cat hit the ground.
It was a small-medium sized Tom. Healthy. Beautiful. From what I could piece together, the cat had come downhill from the old growth and then ran down the abandoned logging road that I was on. There was lots of sign on the road that I missed while coming in and focusing on spotting a bear. Cougar poop of varying age, scratches, one set of smeared prints. This is very close to a popular hiking trail.
I would have never guessed that a cougar would make so much noise coming in. Rocks clattering, a thump (probably when it jumped off the cut bank and onto a log that was leaning on the road), and brush rustling. Definitely sounded like a bear running in. I think if I had not stood up, the cat would have spotted me and ran away, more than likely never being seen by me. Another empty stand would have egged on the desire to call in a lion.”
Excellent work cutting off your scent trail! Surprise!!!
A-24: Dave- North Central WA
Late April 2019 my wife and I were doing some predator hunting. Before heading out we checked to see if the cougar season was still open in the unit we were hunting, it was.
Our primary target was coyotes . As we walked into some public land we cut some fresh coyote tracks so we set up. As we normally do my wife set up on a high point about 100 yards or so from me out of the line of sight of any predators that might come in, I set up low in the thickest area I can find, we set up this way to try and force the predators to expose themselves trying to see me and give her a shot.
I started out with 3 howls from a diaphragm waited 10 minutes or so then hit a closed reed distress. I only made maybe 5-6 screams then stopped, within 10 second my wife's rifle sounded off.
After a little pup distress and no more shots I ended the set and met up with my wife when she told me 2 cougars had come running in straight towards my location. She lined up on the first one and as soon as it slowed just a bit she shot.
I was excited but not totally surprised to have a cougar come to this set, this was not the first interaction we've had with cougars using howls.
I'm no expert but it is our opinion that these cougars came running in over a territorial grievance, they were coming to put a lone coyote in it's place. Just our theory but with the continued increase of predators and smaller territories there is going to be more competition between predators for less space.
A25 - Phil - Spokane WA
I drew a Quality Elk tag for the Blue Mtns. I was out a week ahead of season, during the first week of September. I hiked just off an old skidder road about 500 yards. This was my second spot sitting listen for Elk bugles that day.
It was evening, as dusk was approaching I was sitting on a short stump just off the trail, watching a meadow. Off in the distance in front I could hear two separate elk herds. One a little to the left, and one a little to the right. I thought I might be able to convince a cow or a rag horn bull to come to a calf call. I was in full camo and wearing my HECS suit.
Within 20 minutes I heard foot steps coming down the very dry trail from behind me. I assumed it was another calf or maybe a cow coming to the calf call. Then the foot steps stopped directly to my left. I had my bow across my lap. I slowly turned my head to look and see if I could tell what came down the trail. There was a huge cougar looking right at me through a thin pine tree from about 10’ away! (It seemed to be looking at me saying, "Were is the calf I heard? You’re not a calf!" )
In one motion I stood up and drew my bow and turned back to my left. The cougar took off like a rocket!
In hind sight I should have just drawn my pistol from my hip, I might have gotten a shot off.
Amazing experience! Now I’m trying to learn what I can so I can start calling in these big cats intentionally. Purchased new E-caller and Rain-Shadow call package.
A26 AND A27: KF Hunter - I was chasing Elk in Idaho...
1.) We were going down a gated road and came to a Y intersection, the road went on to make a big circle around a mountain knob, so you'd end up back at the Y no matter which direction you took. It was about 2 mile loop.
We called for Elk at the Y intersection, then continued on taking a right due to wind direction. Not seeing much for elk sign, we took a mid afternoon break, ate, and relaxed a bit thinking where we'd scout next. Then continued on around the loop coming back to that Y from the left side. Total time is a rough guess, but it was 2+ hours.
As we passed by the Y we had a cat explode out of the brush just above us on the cut bank and booger out, it was all of about 10 feet away from me. I found it interesting that the cat came in and hung in the area for so long, then set up an ambush on the side of the road. Had we been elk, I think it could have had one wind being in the cats face. It was a huge one.
2.) Again, Elk hunting in Idaho. We were on the upper corner of a cut block (where loggers clear cut) this cut had grown up a few years. On the other side of the cutblock it went down into a wallow and had a spring down there, elk travelled through frequently.
We had a moose cow + calf walk within 20-30 feet of us. So we tossed sticks at her until she left with her calf. We did some elk calls, then not getting any response we bugled some. Still no response. We decided to wait it out until I couldn't see my pins, finally it got dark and out came the headlamps.
As we were walking down the cutblock we got about 300 yards and I caught eyes in my headlamp, I recognized them immediately for cat eyes, the way the orbs are perfectly round and staring right at you, deer tend to be half moon shaped, blink and bob a lot, whereas a cat they're rock steady staring straight at you, and very bright!
It was about 50 yards into the cutblock from our trail we were taking down. I pulled out my glock and hit it with the weapon light, that's a 1000 lumen Streamlight TRL-1 HL, and it lit its world up. You could clearly see it, I started fast walking towards it and it spun and boogered out, running into stuff as it fled.
Again, it was 2+ hours from the time we called, to the time we spotted it.
I think I will adjust my call times!
A28 - Highcountry Hunter - NE Washington
It was Friday January 17, 2020, an average winter day in northeastern Washington. Roughly 25 degrees, overcast and downright dreary with well over a foot of snow on the ground.
I got off work at 1:30, raced home to grab my gear, then picked my buddy up on my way to the woods. Our first set I started out with a few locator howls and got multiple responses in all directions but we couldn’t get anything to come in. Tried multiple different sounds and the wind was right but the dogs just didn’t wanna show their faces.
Our next set would be our last as darkness was slowly setting in. We set up in the bottom of an old abandoned gravel pit at the base of an extra bushy lodgepole pine. We could see roughly 150 yards out in front of us in the abandoned pit. I started out with a few locator howls from my open reed call like I normally do. 3 or 4 minutes later I fired up the foxpro fusion with the lightning jack sound. I let it play for a few minutes then gave it a minute or so break before starting back up.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught just the slightest bit of movement right on the brush line to our left. I keep my rifle in a Bog Deathgrip tripod so my hands are free and my gun is ready while calling. Ever so slowly I spun my rifle towards where I’d seen the movement.
Looking through the 4x16 scope on full magnification I could clearly make out a cougars face staring directly at us. I almost didn’t even have time to get excited, I wanted to make the shot before the cat spooked. Without even telling my hunting partner what was in the brush I placed the crosshairs between his eyes and touched off a round.
He was quite surprised by the shot and even more so when I told him it was a cougar! We didn’t hear any brush crashing after the shot but it would have been easy for him to run off silently through the snow. Cautiously we hiked over to the area where he was laying dead as a doornail. The 90 grain Hornady Superformance from my Remington 700 in .243 had went in just inside of his right eye and exited out the back of the skull. He fell dead in his tracks.
Weighed in at 175 lbs, big ol tom. Taxidermist measured the skull and said it would have easily made the books but couldn’t be officially scored since 1/4 of the skull was missing from the shot.
Pretty awesome experience! I’d seen plenty of cat tracks in the area before but thought the odds of actually calling one in were way too slim to put much effort into. Boy was I wrong!
A-29 Joel Clark, Idaho
I have never called in any critter in my ~30 years of hunting not a bird, predator, big game, nothing.
I purchased a Foxpro Fusion hoping to get to take it to Wyoming a few weeks ago on our antelope trip but shipping was slow and we didn't get to take it. It finally arrived and I had some free time after work. A coworker and I wandered up a skid trail into an old brushed over burn and set up for an attempt at calling in a coyote. I had watched a YouTube video by Foxpro on setting up a stand and call progression but really I had very little clue what I was doing. We set up the call and tucked into the brush and started calling.
After about 20 minutes of calling I motioned to my buddy asking if he was ready to call it a day. He motioned back he heard something in the brush to his left. A moment later he snapped his fingers at me and pointed in front of us. I started scanning the opening looking for a coyote and locked eyes with this mountain lion standing broadside at ~20 yards. I had my suppressed AR pistol loaded with 50 grain Vmax sitting in a BogPod FieldMax tripod. I put the cross hairs behind her shoulder and sent one. She bound off crashing through the head high to me brush.
We were completely in shock and my hands were shaking but dark was coming so we started looking for blood. There wasn't any blood and no clear tracks from the pads and she was covering serious ground bounding down the hill. We decided to go down into the brush and look. We got down near the creek at the bottom and my buddy said I hear it breathing! We had walked past her in the brush. We could hear labored breathing above us and then the brush started moving towards us about 25 feet away. We stood there kind of dumb waiting to see if there was going to be excitement. The breathing slowed and the brush stopped moving. We waited and the sun set. I worked my way slowly up hill toward the last spot the brush was moving. I started seeing parts of cat laying in the brush and not moving. She was dead.
She was surprisingly heavy without much to grab onto but we we toted her back up the hill to the skid trail, snapped a few pictures, admired her beauty and fierceness, and began skinning her out. The meat is in the freezer, the hide is at the taxidermist, the skull is in the crock-pot. A mountain lion was at the top of my bucket list so I'm super pumped to finally see one let alone shoot one. Now to my next bucket list item find a wolf!
A30 BigSky - Montana
My cougar call-in story was an accident. I was archery hunting and was cow calling for elk just after sunset. All of a sudden my "spidy sense" kicked in telling me there was something behind me. When I slowly turned around there, about 15 yards away, was a mountain lion crouched and sneaking up on me. He froze and I froze. Dark was closing in and I didn't want to deal with him in the dark. I figured that no elk was coming in. I needed this guy to leave. So, I spread my arms out and took a step toward him and yelled as loud as I could "hey!!!". He turned and bolted. I walked all the way back to camp with my senses on high alert. For that half hour hike you would not have been able to shove a needle up my ass with a jackhammer!
A31 - Okanagan - NW Washington
A lion came to a night calling stand intended for bobcat.
Night calling is new to me but I decided to try it for bobcat where I had seen some big bobcat tracks.
I took my shotgun with a red dot sight, and a large flashlight with some red plastic taped over the lens. Icotec Sabre electronic call. Low tech meets high.
I set up at a T intersection, looking down the stem of the T from across the road and could see 30 yards to my left (to a curve) and 70 to my right. A bright moon above clouds lit the snow covered road so well that I didn’t turn on the light but once, to scan the dense brush edges at the 20 minute mark.
After 30 minutes of woodpecker and cottontail distress with an occasional minute or two of bobcat in heat, I was bored with night calling, and starting to get cold. I switched on the red light and stood up to leave. At that moment a large cougar was walking boldly down the middle of the snowy road coming toward me from around the bend 30 yards to my left.
Tracks showed that at 28 yards it had made a startled reversal of direction, scuffing its tracks to get back around the road bend. Then it had walked away following the tracks it had made on approach, right up the middle of the road. Large track, heavy animal. I was looking down the road to my right as I stood up and never saw it.
I discovered its tracks within minutes, and in my vehicle I backtracked it for 125 yards to where it had come onto the road on its approach. When it departed it kept walking past that spot and stayed on the road for another quarter mile. At that point it jumped off of the road, apparently to avoid my headlights as I caught up with it in the vehicle. I scanned around with the red light, saw no eyes, so headed home. The next morning tracks showed that it had come back on the road soon after I drove on, and traveled another quarter mile on it before heading up a side valley.
A biologist is doing cougar research in that area and he had GPS collared a male lion in that area a month or so earlier. I asked if the cougar I called was his collared one and he confirmed that it was: date, time and location coincided with my call in spot. Fun tidbit to know. It was not legal to shoot but wish I’d seen it.
Now that lion is dead. A month after I called it in, it killed some goats a few miles away. The goat owner phoned the Game Department, who brought out hounds and killed the goat marauder. The same hound man who had treed it to radio collar it treed it for the officers to kill. It weighed 150 lbs., a very large male said the biologist.
A32 - Mike7mm08 24hrcampfire
Not a call in but a "bait in" experience. Northern Wi deer season mid november. About ten years before the DNR admitted we had cougars in the state.
Our group hunted a powerline cut, about 20 miles from our cabin. I hunted with my dad. My brother hunted with his now exwife. She was referred to as the gutshot queen. Was not a single deer she ever shot that was not shot through the guts several times. She used a Ruger 44 carbine.
Well right at last shooting light she plugged a big doe. Off course hit it badly. Her and my brother found her about 150 yards off the cut in some super thick popple. Trees were maybe three inch diameter no more than a foot or so apart. Nasty jungle. Deer needed a finishing shot. Brother popped her. Got ready to drag her out. He stepped in a hole and trashed his ankle. Barely made it to the truck without the deer.
Me and my dad get a call at the cabin. We got to go get the deer. Get all ready to go and dressed and head back up there. Took about and hour all tolled. Now well after dark
Head into the woods with gutshot queen. Can't find the deer right away. She was clueless. They left a orange hat on the deer instead of hanging in a tree where you could actually see it. Cold, about 8 degrees. Flashlights ain't working.
We finally find the deer. Well first we smelled it. Nothing like exploded deer paunch. On top of that I think every stinky rutting buck in the county had a turn with this doe. She just plain stunk. Drag was going to suck. Due to flashlight issues we elected to gut her at the truck despite the extra weight.
Me and dad each grab a front leg. Just as we take the first step a cougar lets out a scream. So close you could not even tell which way it came from, surround sound. Hair on the back of my neck stood up. We looked at each other said nothing and started hauling ass.
Here we are middle of the woods pitch black no moon night. Flashlight giving off less light than a cell phone. Kitty cat had a couple hours to get wind of this deer that we smelled from about 50 yards away. No guns. Tell you what, if deer dragging was an Olympic sport we would of won gold. You ain't never seen two fat guys move that quick with a deer in tow!
No one believed us. Said it was bobcat or screech owl. Well prior to this I knew what a cougar scream sounded like. Since then I have listened to numerous recordings. Absolute no question it was a cougar.
Oh and the next spring, about a mile from the spot, a guy got pictures of cat with three kittens. Yep no cougars in Wisconsin at the time. I have found tracks in the area numerous times since. Send pictures to the DNR, and they tell me they are bear tracks. (Apparently, we got a lot of bears with no claws, missing a toe, walking around WI.) To this day DNR denies any breeding population just traveling males.
NC 1 - Jasnt - Washington
I was out deer hunting my favorite place. I was just setting up on a heavily used saddle crossing when I heard this terrible screaming. The sound kept up almost constant. I had to go check it out. Half mile later I'm getting close, I can tell its coming from just the other side of this marsh/swampy area at the base of huge hill that I already new is normally 90% surrounded by water.
I sneak up to just 10 yards from the screaming. Now I can tell it's a cat.
I start glassing thru the trees and thick brush and what at first looks like a person peeks out at me from behind a tree. Then it peeks again, and this time it's obvious its a cougar. I pull my rifle up and center my cross hairs and squeeze.
Big cat! It runs up the hill best it can. As I jack another round in I see another cat peaking out at me, this one smaller and looking confused. After a sec it jogs off. I saw where my cat went, so I cross the bog and head up the hill after him.
I'm shooting a 300win mag with 185gr Berger's so I was sure he was toast. I get to the top and no sign of the cat but I thought I spooked a deer off the other side of the hill. So I head back to where I hit him, take off my pack and set down my rifle. I marked the spot on my gps, and started tracking the blood.
With toilet paper as marker, and my 44 on my hip, I headed up again. I get to the top again, and the blood peters out. So I start circling, looking for some sign.
Down the other side I find a track on a mole hill. Down a little farther I find another. So down to the bottom I head. I get all the way down and see that the pond is about dried up, mostly just grass and very thick brush all around the outside edges. I hear a commotion in the brush. I stand there listening and watching but it won't leave the brush. I debate with my self for a bit then decided I owed it to the cougar to put this thing down.
I take a deep breath, say a prayer, draw my 44mag and cock the hammer back. I headed straight in to the brush, right at him, hoping to push him out in to the shorter grass where I could shoot it easy.
The cat charges straight at me, and just barely misses me, as squeeze off again missing him. The cat runs past me, back in the trees, and makes a quick half circle, back into the brush.
I keep after him, and each time I just get a glimpse of him before he runs farther into the brush.
I catch up again, and this time when he charges at me again, I nail him in the spine. Cat stops under a nasty thorny tree, and screams at me. We're 10 ft apart! I check my gun... Oops! I got one round left!
I step to the side with the cat growling and hissing, my heart is pounding. I aimed for the heart (the best I could tell, from my angle) and sqeezed it again. This one hit him hard, and sprawled him out. I could tell he was about gone, so I hiked back up and over the hill to my backpack and rifle.
When I got back to the cat he was still. I poked him with my rifle, and then grabbed his leg and drug him out.
Holy cow! He was bigger than I thought! Heavy too! It was getting dark. I was planning on just skinning him out, but it was so big and heavy I felt I needed to weigh him. So I drug him out to the trail, and half mile back towards the truck, before I decided to call for help. I was mentally and physically drained. It was 8:00pm and I had been in the woods since 5:15am. Still had over a mile to go to get to my truck.
Finally got him home and weighed. He was 134lbs,6'9" long. My first cougar. I didn't think cougars bred in the fall but that's what they where doing.
NC2 - Mark - Nevada
It started when my trapping partner Levi and I where out checking traps. We checked a draw where we had some bobcat traps, and we found a young lion caught in one of our traps. Where we live you can't keep a lion that has been trapped, so we got our choke pole and released the lion from the trap. She was only about a 70 pounds.
I called the game warden and let him know we released the her, as we have to by law. He told me that they had released another one about 8 miles from there. I talked to the ranch boss that runs cows in the BLM country that we where trapping, and he told me that he had seen alot of lion sign in that area in the last couple years, and even had calves killed by them.
Levi and I decided we should go back in there and try to call in a lion. As we where walking into our first stand of the morning, Levi said, "Let's hold up here and glass some of these rock outcroppings for a minute." Sure enough we found a lion laying up under a ledge watching us walk into our stand.
We decided the best thing to do at this time was to split up, and Levi would watch the cat while I made my way into a position to get a shot at it.
I slowly made my way across 2 small draws and up the hill, on the down-wind side of the lion. As I got up to the rocks where we had spotted the him, I tried to figure out the best place to get into position for a shot. I was slowly creeping along the rock outcroppings when I looked over and saw the lion was only about 50 yards from me watching me as I was getting ready to shoot. I pulled my .44 mag out and fired a shot. Low! The lion got up and gave me one more chance... I shot again, and that shot was low too! The lion took off running.
We walked the track out for about 3 miles, studying his movements and tracking him through 6 foot tall brush. That was an experience full of adrenaline, eerie feelings, followed by should have's, and could have's.
(The eerie feelings came when we where tracking it and found where we had been within several feet of the lion in the brush, and it had snuck by us, got up on the hill side, and watched us as we walked around, chasing the tracks, trying to figure out where he went!)
Even though I missed the cat I was excited to get that close to one and track it for a while.
NC3 - Robert - Oregon:
On the last day of Oregon's archery elk season, I was headed up to my usual glassing spot. While walking the road, I bumped a beef calf from his bed in the thick buck brush 20 yards in front of me. When he spooked I saw the top of a cougars tail move right, over the buck brush at 20 yards. I got an arrow knocked and moved to the right, and saw TWO cougars walking away from me. One cougar broke off to the left and the other continued straight, I couldn't get a shot at either. I stepped back to the left hoping for a shot. At this point the beef calf is looking at me broadside at 30 yards.
Behind the beef calf I see the cougar that broke left pop out from the brush with only his head visible. He is looking intently at the beef calf, who is looking at me, so the cat doesn't see me in the wide open. I range the cats head at 38 yards, and I hookup my release. The beef calf spooks away from me.
When he runs, the cat pounces at him, but misses. The Cougar landed directly in the wide open looking at me. I draw my bow and shoot. He jumps 5 feet In the air and does a 180, running back into the brush. I watch him for a couple seconds before I lose sight of him in the thick brush.
I look back where I shot him and standing in the exact spot is a MUCH bigger cougar! This cat has come from the brush to the left. I knock another arrow not knowing what will happen, this cat sees me, and quickly slinks into the same line of brush.
At this point I determine there are 3 cougars, because the two I originally saw were smaller than the big one. I wait 5 minutes before continuing up the hill to my glassing spot. I call my buddy and tell him what happened and he starts hiking to me. About 45 minutes later he calls me and tells me there are two cougars on the ridge 200 yards above me! He says one is bigger than the other. I'm curious if the smaller one might the one I shot, since I wasn't sure of my shot. I sneak up and end up within 25 yards of the bigger one, and its sitting down on its butt! It sees me and spooks down the hill, I never saw the smaller one.
My buddy and I go to where I shot, and find my arrow covered in blood. The blood trail wasn't very good, which had me concerned because visibility in this thicket was 2-3 feet. Thankfully the trail only lasted 25 yards and ended with a dead cougar!
NC4 - T-Roy - NE Washington State
This was a first for me!
I'm sitting in my deer stand just about to give up on the morning hunt, and this guy walks out right underneath me. Maybe 10 yards. I give him a little, "Bahh!" at about 15 yards, and he stops and turns his head right at me!
I draw and shoot, and he goes straight up in the air about 5 or 6 feet (it seems like.) He hits the ground a blows off into the brush.
I give him 30 minutes, and then I find him piled up only 30 yards away. Pretty incredible experience!
He's got an ear tag. I was guessing he was a trouble maker at some point in his life.
That hole is from a rage hypodermic.
(Several days later...)
The biologist got back to me yesterday. Pretty interesting... They had a collar on the mother of the cat I shot. They must have an idea of when she had babies by the collar movement or something, because the Bio gave me my cat's birth date, and said they tagged him and 2 to other siblings 7 days after birth.
He was 2.5 years old, and was tagged roughly 30 miles north of where I got him.
NC5 - John - Washington State
This cat was lurking on the outside of a local elk herd near my property, I had him patterned! I sat every evening watching for him to show himself, mostly in the evenings after work. Then on a Friday I checked my camera at 6:30 am before work, and checked it again when I got home, he was there at 7:15am, right after I left! So Saturday morning I walked out there to sit in my quick made blind, and as I get to the blind I ease up for a peek at the back of the field at around 7:10... and there he was! I laid the crosshairs at top of his shoulder and squeezed !!!! He goes 6 ft into the air and lights out .. 1st kill shot for my new Bergara .243
NC6 - John - Washington State
I was deer hunting and came across his tracks a couple different times in the same drainage. It was a steep clear cut with a creek and a small patch of timber running through it. On the upper side of the creek there was a rocky type cliff area. I shot a few nice bucks out of there with my boys, and never imagined I would see this cougar. Landowner below this area kept telling me that something got their small dog and cats, so as soon as I knew the snow was coming I figured I would go comb the area for tracks. I walked up the old grade multiple times and no tracks. But I would sit and watch every time I was in there. On the 4th day that I walked up into the unit, I glassed the thick draw below me. I was there maybe 20 minutes, when I scanned through the bush will my binoculars I notice 2 round ears behind a log ! Not sure what I am looking at yet ! Then his whole head pops up !! [😮] . My quick reaction was get on him quick ! I laid the gun on a stump and placed the crosshairs right below his ear , all I could see is his head ! I take deep breath and squeeze the trigger !! After the shot I see his tail flapping around ! Shot was dead on ! 1 inch below his ear ! When I got to him , I just sat there in disbelief !! I have a lot of respect for the cougar but he needs to be managed !
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