Pine Valley OutfittersUtah
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Pine Valley Outfitters – Wade Hollerman - Lion hunt in Utah After many years of hunting, including Alaska and Africa, I had long had a desire to hunt a Mountain Lion. I had been hesitant because of the perceived physical requirements necessary to follow the dogs in rugged terrain. I contacted Wade Hollerman after reading a very favorable report in the May 2018 edition of the Hunting Report (www:huntingreport.com) about how Hollerman could cater to older and less physically capable hunters. After speaking with Wade, I called four of his references. I received very favorable comments, including: • “Young guy, doesn’t quit, great hounds”; • “Will tailor the hunt to the individual”; • “Great family, girlfriend, packed out goat”; • From a firefighter: “safe”; • “eats, sleeps and lives this stuff” I later found those responses to be spot on. I asked each man if he was aware of any negative reports and one told me he had seen one, which I then reviewed and considered. Conversations and emails with Wade before the hunt were very helpful in planning for equipment and clothing. I chose to take a lightweight .243, insulated mountain boots, cold weather clothing and raingear. I would now recommend this outfitter to my friends. He and his crew are very hard workers and very experienced, especially with regard to lion hunting. Both Wade and Wyatt, while they are young, are very capable Houndsmen. I had an opportunity to converse with some of their associates and learned that in addition to their hunting endeavors, both men gained extensive knowledge of lions by contracting over many years with state wildlife agencies to track and capture lions for scientific studies. Wade has a network of Houndsmen and ranchers who assist him in locating fresh lion tracks and in obtaining access to prime lion habitat. Wade and Wyatt start the day at 3 am or earlier searching for tracks and navigating their vehicles through almost insurmountable snow covered roads. During our hunt we saw no other hunters who could (or would) navigate the deep snow on the mountain roads. The ability of Wade and Wyatt to find and identify lion tracks was impressive. On our hunt (two geezers in their 70’s) we both took lions. Wade and Wyatt are very athletic but were able to encourage us to navigate difficult terrain within our physical limitations and in a safe manner. Wade’s beautiful bride Allie (a rodeo athlete and graduate scientist) was my cheerleader and safety net. Their dogs were always under control and their GPS electronic monitoring equipment was first rate. I was surprised to learn how much information was available to the Houndsmen. We always knew exactly where the dogs were and whether they had a lion treed or at bay. I learned from observation and discussions with locals that Wade and his dogs are considered to the best in the area. Even the game department people told us that Wade and his outfit were first rate and respected in the community. Wade’s equipment, while well used, never failed and the men demonstrated an ability to reach the prime lion areas through heavy snow. He had four wheel drive trucks, four wheeler ATV’s and horses were available if needed. The accommodations in Wade and Allie’s home were comfortable and the home cooked meals were delicious. We didn’t bargain for a 5 star chef and food with multi colored “swirlies” on the china. On three occasions we were invited to Wade’s parent’s home for dinner, where we ate like royalty and were treated like family. Clearly Wade grew up in a lion and elk hunting family. The weather hovered around freezing much of the time, but we were all adequately dressed and the challenges were limited to climbing in the slippery snow and ice. It has been said that the fond memories of a hunt increase with the level of challenge. Well, we both have very fond memories of this hunt. The recognition of our physical capabilities and keeping the hunt within those parameters required a high level of perception on the part of our hosts. We were treated with respect at all times, even though we lagged behind the younger, more agile guides. Before and after this hunt, feedback from other hunters was that with other outfitters it sometimes took several hunts to finally take a lion. I was pleased that we both were successful with Pine Valley Outfitters on the first hunt. I would enthusiastically recommend this outfitter to others.
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The weather was unusually cold for us Florida hunter, but was probably normal for the time and place. The temperatures varied from 40 degrees F down to -10 degrees F. The snow was up to several feet and was good for tracking but difficult for these old hunters.