No matter how many times you’ve heard it before, there’s nothing quite like topping over a ridge and hearing the dogs treed in the distance! I experienced this again recently, only this time the dogs were barking treed in a couple of different spots.
The story of this hunt actually began the day before when I’d found where a small lion had crossed the road not to far from our house. I had prior commitments this morning so I didn’t really put any dogs on the track. I made plans for the next day to make a circle with the dogs in the same general direction where I thought this lion might of gone.
After about an hour the dogs found some lion scent, with 2 dogs going one direction and the rest going the opposite direction. I’d taken about 12 dogs and for whatever reason, I figured that the 2 dogs by themselves were probably going the right way. With considerable effort I managed to get the others to turn around on the track and they eventually joined the other two. After riding about a mile, I started hearing the dogs treed in the distance. I slowly picked my way through the rough country and as I got fairly close, I could tell they were in 2 different spots about 300 yards apart. When I got to the first tree, there were 2 dogs barking at a nice tom. I took a few pictures and started for the other dogs figuring they probably had this guy’s girlfriend treed. As I approached the second tree, the lion was very agitated and bailed out of the tree as I was getting close. The cat jumped tree a couple more times before I could really get a good look at it. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that this lion was also a mature tom lion!
Male mountain lions simply don’t tolerate each other. The only thing I can figure is that the smaller track I’d seen the day before was probably a female and she was probably in heat. Therefore attracting the two toms. After studying the second tom, I could see a wound on the chest where they probably been fighting.
Only one other time can I remember getting into one of these lion nests and ironically it was in the same exact area.
It happened about five or six years ago. That day we treed 2 toms and 2 females that were all running together. One of the toms got in a tree right where they had killed a deer. The other tom went maybe 3 miles before he treed and the 2 females went a couple more miles and were in the same tree! Not bad for a day of dry ground lion hunting! You just really don’t know what you’re going to get into when looking for these wild cats in this wild country.
I left these lions unharmed to run and nest another day!