Krietlow’s Mystic Lady
Kurt Krietlow's 2017 SD Mountain Lion
6 Year Old - Female 94Lbs.
I started my day at 3:30 am with the usual shower using scent killer soap shampoo and deodorant. This would be my third day hunting lions, snow conditions were great but I had only cut one track in the past 2 days and lost it in the blowing snow.
I set out towards the Mystic area for another day of searching for tracks or maybe just another day of taking in the beauty of the hills. As I shut down the truck I noticed it was a balmy-6 below zero no wind a beautiful clear morning. I bundled up and took off on the 4 wheeler on the hunt for tracks and finally after maybe 20 miles is searching I found what I was looking for, a nice sized solo cat track that had crossed the forest trail and was headed up into the rocky steep country. I marked my spot on gps and took off on the cats trail, it seemed like the tracks were at least 8 - 10 hours old but still had high hopes.
As I followed the tracks up the steep slope I ran into several areas where the cat had bedded down and after each bed the trail got much fresher. Finally I was on the top of the ridge in steep rocky cliffs. The snow was getting a little crunchy where the sun had hit it the day before and I noticed a stiff breeze coming up from behind me, I was beginning to think my hunt may be over.
I pressed on following the tracks along the rocky ridge until they cut down through a crevice and disappeared, I eased out onto an outcropping to peek over the cliff edge and there she was sneaking out of her bed. I quickly shouldered my rifle and made a smooch noise which was enough to make her stop and look up. I fired and she took off flying down the hill, I got one more shot off before she disappeared into the forest.
I took a little time to collect myself and worked my way through the crevice the cat had taken and worked myself to the spot where she was when I shot. I followed the tracks down the slope and I knew it was a good heart shot, I cautiously followed the tracks into the thick timber and finally saw a motionless tan spot in the snow and knew she was done.
After a few moments of celebration the work began getting this cat back 3 miles to my 4 wheeler. What a great one-on-one hunt using all of your senses !