Litter mates

Talk about Cougar Hunting with Dogs
Bluedog88
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Litter mates

Postby Bluedog88 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:24 pm

Anyone know how long litter mates will stay together? Found 3 traveling together was told there probably litter mates? Treed and freed one looked good sized to me.
Mike Leonard
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Re: Litter mates

Postby Mike Leonard » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:26 pm

I think the general rule is subs. generally stay fairly close to the Mother for the first year and half, but I also have observed many other dynamics can shift this.

An older established female who has had a home matriarchal range for some time will at times keep pretty close contact with her subs. especially the female subs for quite a long time and many times those females may actually establish their initial range in a portion of their Mother's range. Male subs. will come and go for a time and some may be a big cats on their own but still sort of hanging around a bit like the late teenager who hates to move completely out of the house. If the dominant tom in the area is stable and not killed or displaced generally not too much conflict is expected and I have at times seen as many as 6 lions traveling together. Matriarch mother, her kittens after they are up and moving well be there 2 or 3, and then her last litters hanger on's allowed to stay pretty close once the present kittens are traveling good and larger.

Throw a brand new dominant tom into an are and law and order sort of flies apart for awhile and he works pretty hard to kill the present kittens to plant his own seed when she comes in again, and he will also choust all the young tom cats down the road or die. It's a hard life when this happens but as we know lion on lion mortality is usually a bigger factor than even hunting pressure on lion numbers.


If the hunting area is pretty easy with good conditions a lot of tom displacement happens quickly and at times you can see a climax or rise in the over all lion numbers for a bit but generally before long you will see the number of females harvested spike because there are so many more of them to leave tracks. Once a number of the older queen lions are harvested, subs will get in all kinds of trouble and be wiped out and then lion numbers will b slump, and fewer hunters will spend the time hunting many days to find a decent track so that pressure will decrease.

But over time the average carrying capacity (suitable habitat and available prey), will bring a sort of balance if you will to the area, but it may take a long time depending on how many females were killed.


Sort of a lengthy answer I know but as you can see a number of factors can make it variable.

Other things like major drought, fire, or development can also impact it.
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1bludawg
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Re: Litter mates

Postby 1bludawg » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:46 pm

3 is the most i've treed at one time. A female and 2 spotted kittens and also a female with 2 grown off spring. I've been told of larger groups though.
Mike Leonard
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Re: Litter mates

Postby Mike Leonard » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:20 pm

One of the funniest ones we ever had happen was about 20 years ago or so.

We were hunting on spotty snow and dirt, and we hit the track of a female lion going off into a canyon, we held the dogs up a minute and looked it over and about 20 yards beyond the female's track there was a real nice tom track going along parallel with her. We put the dogs on the tom and I think we had 5 dogs between us and boy they just left roaring into the canyon. In a bit they sort of started barking here and barking there and seemed kind of confused. In a little bit one little female that was a good locater sat down and started to tree, and several of the other dogs came to her and started treeing too.
Well we started into the canyon and we heard a lone dog still trailing way down the canyon about 1/2 mile away from the other dogs it seemed. Well we got down in the bottom where the snow had held a little better and there were just lion tracks all over the place!

Tracks going this way, and that way tom tracks female tracks and just all about the same age looking tracks. Well we made our way about halfway up the other side of this canyon where the first dogs were treed on a huge ponderosa pine and found them under a tree with 3 good toms up there on separate limbs. All about the same size and I mean they were all mature nice big cats, and being a ponderosa it was easy to see that they were all toms and none of them appeared to be in the least bit winded. Just sort of looking down at us like, where did you guys come from?

Well we took a reading on the other dog we had heard and found the telemetry signal said he was treed too. Well we had some of those little Motorola radios so I told Charlie to stay there with the dogs and I would go see what the other dog had.

I got there and sure enough old Booger had a female lion treed and her tongue was hanging out. I leashed Booger up and drug him back to the other dogs, and he said those toms never did threaten to jump out just sort of made themselves at home. None of them looked scratched up in the least from fighting.

We finally decided we had enough and leashed the dogs and drug them out of there and left the lions to sort it out.


I guess that this female was in heat and maybe she was sort of on the fringe of a tom's range or maybe with displacement a whole new crowd showed up to see who was the best dancer.

I relayed that story to an old lion hunter who has since passed on and he said he had that similar deals had happened to him several times over the years, and he felt at times there maybe wasn't as much fighting that went on as we presume.
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Bluedog88
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Re: Litter mates

Postby Bluedog88 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:01 pm

Thanks for the info. Been on 3 traveling together twice now first time jumped them one treed the other 2 went the other way 50 yards in front of me. My dogs were getting mixed up by the 3 sets of tracks going different ways then meeting up. Second time I was in a mess if broken rock treed at least 2 it was slow going for me. Think they jumped out of the tree when they heard me coming. Dogs had cut up feet loaded them up and a few miles away a cut anothor track leading away from where I was followed it on foot and it turned 180 degrees to where the 3 were. Think it was the mother? The one treed looked good sized to me but it also the first lion I've ever seen
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Re: Litter mates

Postby JustinKeller » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:59 am

Funny how a creature famed for being such loners are often caught running the same canyon when the next three canyons often have no Lions at the present time.

Along the same notion. Will a tom kill his own offspring? we know a tom will kill kittens and why, but will he kill his own blood offspring. I've talked to several local houndsmen that all seam to agree he will kill any and all kittens and even seek them out. A few books and my own experience suggest a dominate tom patrolling his area will not kill his own but will protect them to the degree of keeping other males run out. Is it good for the population to kill big daddy or keep him alive?
Mike Leonard
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Re: Litter mates

Postby Mike Leonard » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:09 pm

Nobody can say 100% that a steady dominant tom in an area might not kill some of his own kittens, but it does seem they pretty much leave them alone. Although all lions look pretty much the same to us nearly all animals know their own kin maybe by smell or handshake or who the heck knows, but they do.

I will tell you though if you kill that dominant tom out you may see all kinds of dynamics happen, and not just dead kittens but you might also find some dead female lions because when a tom cat goes predator he let's nothing stand in his way.

As for that being good for the population well it will shift it around a good deal and you will in time see some other toms come in but it is not like a lot of hunters say. Oh kill a big tom and in two weeks there will be more big toms right back in that area. Maybe, but it might be months before you ever see another tom lion track. it's not like the lollypop tree pull one off and another pops out in it's place.

The dynamics of the lion hunting deal is such that it can keep you up and night and you still get up scratching your head....
MIKE LEONARD
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Bluedog88
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Re: Litter mates

Postby Bluedog88 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:07 pm

Seems like 5 to 1 here. Cut 5 lion tracks to every one bobcat. My dogs have and will run a lion to bad it not legal here in Oregon. What kind of chance you think one would have walking a track with a foxpro and rifle in hand?

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