Botkin’s Beast

February 25, 2017 | By: Eric Botkin
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I started my day headed to my job site and thought with a storm coming, it would be a good time to check my trail camera. I had found some nice tracks in the area while scouting early in the season. For the next few weeks there had been no sign of a cat in the area so I decided to move my camera elsewhere. Although I left my electronic call at home, I always keep some hand made calls with me. Whether by myself or with my family in the woods, I like to make a little noise to see if anything shows up. You never know.

Once I got to my camera I pulled out a call and made some racket. Within a couple of minutes I heard some commotion and a growl from the bottom of the canyon. There was a cat close by. I continued to make the same sound with my call, and it really seemed to agitate the cat even more. After 45 minutes of back and forth with this cat I decided to move in closer to get a better vantage point on where the snarls and screams were coming from. 

I moved a couple hundred yards and crouched down next to a tree. Made some more noise and the cat growled back. From the ridge I had just left. Thinking I blew it, I waited a couple more minutes and made some more noise. This time he yowled back from just below me. He was really close. A few seconds later he came into full view at 20 yards. I shouldered my rifle, fumbled with my safety and scope cap, and took the shot. Down hill he went. I gave it a few minutes and started following his tracks in the snow, and found him 100 yards later. I knew he was a great cat, but had no idea what I was about to walk up on. 

Here I was in jeans, barley any camo, half dead cell phone, and what looked like the biggest cat I had ever seen. 

I have been tracking and calling lions ever since the season was reopened. Spent many days, covered a lot of miles, by myself and with some friends trying like hell to get a cat like the one before me know. I sent a picture to my "thrilled " wife and called for some help. special thanks to my sister Amy, and brother-in-law Jason for taking some great pictures in the field, and helping me get him out of the woods. 

After all the time I've spent chasing cats, i never would have thought that this was how this day would end.

Eric Botkin's male lion was officially weighed in at 163 pounds. 

Check out all the lions taken in the 2017 season.

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