In 2009 I moved to Rapid City through a job transfer and being an avid outdoorsman/hunter, I always thought it would be something special to successfully harvest a mountain lion. There's something so unique and intriguing about that animal that I cannot describe compared to any other type of hunting out there. Something about them being on the top of the food chain and being so elusive has always drawn me to want to try and outsmart one. Due to life events that we all experience I was never able to get out and chase these beautiful animals.
Fast forward to 2017 and through making some connections of an area of lion activity and finally having the time it was game on. Through the kindness of my neighbor lending me his FoxPro game call I headed out opening day bright and early not knowing what to expect. I hiked in a half mile or so and sat. The game call played for around 45 min. and no activity, so I proceeded to head further in to the hills to another ridge and played the call for another 45 min and no movement. Again, I headed a little further in to the woods to another ridge and played the call and again nothing. I crossed what looked like some old tracks from a day or two earlier so I knew there was something moving around. By this time its after 11am so I decided to head back and call it a day as I had obligations that evening.
Thursday night came and due to the weather conditions looking unfavorable for Friday between here and ND, my family and I decided not to head back to ND to see my family for a late Christmas. As I'm visiting with my wife about everything she states you might as well go lion hunting if we don't go back, so it was game on again. I headed out bright and early Friday morning and hiked into some very rough steep terrain to the back side of a ridge I had called on opening day. I was about 200 yards down from the top of the ridge and put the call right in the middle of the ravine that funneled down what I just had climbed up. I proceeded to head 50-60 yards of to the side and nuzzle up into the rocks so I was able to have a great vantage point. As I sit there motionless not 30 minutes went by and as I look to my right up the ridge - here she comes quite and undetected except for this bright golden spot moving through the trees on a dead trot to my call. In a matter of seconds all kinds of emotions where going through me and the thought of an opportunity to harvest one of the most elusive animals in the Black Hills that I had always longed to do was about to potentially happen. I pulled my 25-06 rifle up and followed her towards my call and then she stopped literally 3-5 feet from my call broadside and I pulled the trigger and down she went. The excitement and joy of taking such a beautiful and elusive animal that I was able to experience is something I will truly never forget. So many emotions ran through me as I sit there speechless trying to gather myself to head down the ridge and realize what actually just happened.
I always told people I would just like to outsmart one in my lifetime and do a full body mount and then I would be done, but after experiencing nothing like this type of hunting and the adrenaline that came along with it I have a suspicion that I may be out in the woods again for the 2018/2019 season again