The Unreal Hunt
Well I wasn't even going to go out Sunday afternoon because of getting back to my house at 1:30 . I figured it would be 2:00 when I got to ranch 2:30 or later by the time I got up on the ridge would it even be worth it,but I figured I couldn't get anything setting at the house so I went. Got to the ranch and grabbed a 4 wheeler, headed for the ridge, parked and started walking. Decided because of the direction of wind to go straight up over instead of walking ridge line. As I got to my blind, I figured I would get ready just in case something was over the ridge when I checked. I might add here...while sitting in blind I like to start with crow gathering call then switch to rabbit distress. 6 or 7 times just at sunset I've heard magpies to my left. Every time I think - CAT, but nothing ever happens when the magpies go silent, so I suspect maybe they are roosting there.
Now back to story... when I look over the ridge... nothing. I took about an 8" step to side and see a lion testing air! The cat turns and heads down the hill, I drop my pack and shoot! The cat did a somersault 3 times then drops out of sight. I go check but no sign of blood and can't tell how far it slid over the side.
I called my son Levi and tell him I just shot cat but don't no how far it slid so I will check and call him back. I go over working my way down probably 80 yards - still no blood. I called Levi again tell him cat was moving along the side of the hill and I told him I'd check it out and call him back. I made it another 100 yards and the track turned uphill but I finally found blood! I made it another 40 yards and was standing at a tailings pile of old miner diggings. As I looked up and over the pile, I saw an opening!
I called Levi again but whispering this time, I told him I wouldn't go into the diggings unless he came, and while I was talking to him, the cat came back to entrance. I immediately dropped phone and shot the cat again. He disappeared so I picked up phone....Levi was still there and said "I'm on my way!" I told him to bring a light and rope. I tried to look into opening from above but couldn't see into opening. I figured the lion probably wouldn't leave, so I went back to 4-wheeler down the hill and called my wife to let her know I might be a while.
Levi arrived and and I began to work into the opening and was finally able to see what I was pretty sure was tip of tail then saw him all piled up about 15' back and down inside. I tossed some rocks down to just make sure. I grabbed the rope and crawled in to get him out. Now I know why I was hearing magpies, it all makes sense now.
Funny thing is I have hunted this ridge for over 40 years and never knew or had forgotten that opening was there maybe 150 yards from my blind. Want to give a big thumbs up to number one son,and hunting partner!
Bruce's 2018 male Lion was officially weighed in at 141 pounds and estimated at 7 years old.