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.

Check out all the lions taken in the 2018 season.

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