The Bowsite continues its tradition of bringing you Live hunts while they are happening. This one takes place in Central Idaho with guide Ron Sherer of Steel Mountain Outfitters (208-939-0469). Ron has been guiding cat hunters since 1977 and came highly recommended by just about everyone I talked to. But Ron is not just a lion guide, he is a Pope and Young Board member and archery history buff. After the hunts we talk about old archery books, about broadhead collecting and swap knowledge on archery history. Ron is also an assistant guide in AK for Grizzly's so there's no shortages of stories!!
|Day 1 - Monday||This is the cabin we're staying in in the mountains. Ron is loading up the truck for our first morning's cat hunt.|
|Not before long we had cut our first lion track. The stride was about 41" which is a good cat. The track was a bit old so we kept on going.|
|During the afternoon we cut this bobcat track which was pretty fresh. We decided not to bother with it though and keep looking for a lion track. As you can see by the license plate - lion hunting is more than just a job to Ron!|
|Day 2 - Tuesday||The chase is on. After loading up the trucks in the morning with dogs and snowmobiles, we headed up an old trail to see if we cut a track.|
Within minutes fresh lion tracks are cut. Ron remarks that its the track of a female and her kitten. We checked the rest of the trail and headed back to the vehicles. Once loaded up and in the vehicle, Ron asks me if I would of liked to follow those lions - I enthusiastically say "YES" and we head up the trail. The snow is about 20" deep as we let the dogs go. Within minutes they are out of hearing range. Ron and I set out after them up a very steep mountain. Once near the top, the snow is quite deep - up to our waist as we push along. four hours of heavy breathing, two miles later, we are at the tree where the dogs have the cats tree'd. We take a few pictures and some videos and head back to the truck. The Kitten, by the way, looked pretty darned big to me!
Let me tell you, this lion hunting behind dogs is anything but easy - and this is fast becoming one of my all time favorite hunts. When you see these big cougars in the tree - its awesome!
We had to take a very cool wade across this river to get back to the trucks - then walk another mile uphill to get the snowmobiles - but it was worth it.
|Day 3 - Wednesday||
The old saying "Red sky at morn - sailors be warned" was right on. By noon, a blizzard had kicked up so we decided to give it a rest for the afternoon and head back to town. On our way down we saw two coyotes ripping up a deer while it was still alive - her back legs covered in blood. The coyotes ran off but the deer won't make it. Another ten miles down the road we saw 40 deer being chased across a lake by three coyotes. Ron remarked that the deer population is down in ID because of coyotes; not lions.
Tomorrow we get to check out some new snow. See ya in a bit!