Beware of DEAD LIONS

Talk about Cougar Hunting with Dogs
Mike Leonard
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Beware of DEAD LIONS

Postby Mike Leonard » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:21 pm

This subject flashed back across my mind recently while listening to and excellent pod-cast interview by Steven Rinella of Meateater fame , while talking to expert dry ground lion hunter Floyd Green of Arizona.

They were talking about a ground catch that was made on a big tom, and the dogs were fighting the lion down in a washout bowl, and Floyd beat the shooter there and was trying to contend with the lion until the client got there. The shooter got there and shot the lion once but he was still working the dogs over and right up close to Floyd. Green told the hunter to shoot again while he jammed a large wood stick into the lion's mouth. Finally the lion was dead but he did some nasty work on those good dogs.

This took me back to a day my eldest son Scott and I had an experience with a huge old tom that didn't want to die.

Horseback we had ridden into some rugged country and struck this jumbo track not long after daylight. The old dogs took the track but were just steady on it but not setting the world on fire it had been made many hours before. They pounded and pounded on it making progress but after some miles it didn't seem to be getting any better and the sun was getting high in the sky and the bare rock and ground was heating up. Finally up on a big bluff the track just seemed to peter out, Dogs were fanning this way and that but it seemed the old cat had just disappeared. We sat our horses and watched the dogs for a good while but not much was happening. Suddenly I realized that old Gunner one of my best strike dogs was missing. He was a spotted dog and easy to see among the rocks and brush but he had slipped out. We watched and listened quite a while but never heard or saw him, and we were just about ready to call the dogs out and move on when I heard a yelp up ahead of us and off the bluff about 5-600 yards out. The other dogs threw their heads up and built in that direction, but before they made half the distance they just blew up and left out across our path in full cry. Evidently Gunner had drifted out picked up the lion right where he had chosen to lay up in the rocks. From there he jumped him and the lion came right back by him knocking him off the bluff we found later and was all out running now in front of the pack.

They got out of hearing pretty quick but we had the direction in them so we just rode for all we could in that rugged country. Finally a pretty good long ways off we heard them treed in a rocky header. We got there above them scrambled off our horses and made our way down thru the boulders to the tree. They had this massive tom up a good sized ponderosa pine about 30 feet and he was just laying out on a limb panting. Well one look told us this was a lion of a lifetime, and we were going to take him. Scott having just killed a huge B&C tom the year before said , you go ahead and pop him Dad.

Well I had my trusty 92 lever action that had been the veteran of many, many successful lion hunts, so I took a bead on the lion's chest and squeezed the trigger. He shook a little at the shot but hardly moved but I could see the hit was a fatal one, but I cranked another one in and sent another bullet that landed about 2" from the first. This caused him to break loose from the tree and fall to the ground, but he was up instantly running hard towards some big rock piles. He made it about 60 yard and went into a kind of rocky cave created by some huge sandstone boulders that had fallen off and jumbled together. The dogs were down in there still fighting with him, as we ran for the hole. I couldn't believe that this lion no matter how big he was could take 2 158 Gr. hollow points thru the lungs and still have much fight left in him. I began jerking dogs out of the hold as I tried to get in there to finish him. When I got most of them clear I could see he was down but his jaws were still working and he had one of my best ever redtick females , Josie by the front leg, and she was just bellering for all she was worth. Luckily I jammed the carbine barrel into his mouth and wrenched it off her leg or I am sure he would have crushed it about halfway up to her knee. Finally the lion died and it was over but it could have turned out really bad for old Josie.

After that I thought back to something another excellent lion hunter Dick Ray of Lobo Outfitters had told me years before about how he likes to get a pine knot ready in his hand when a client goes to knock a bear or a lion out of a tree. He had experienced similar things.

So don't trust just because they are well hit that they will be stone dead when the dogs get there. Maybe tie them back and hold them a bit if you are sure of the shot, and then get in there and make sure those teeth on a expiring beast don't do some permanent harm to your best friend.
Somewhere out there.............
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Re: Beware of DEAD LIONS

Postby johnadamhunter » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:25 pm

Great story, Mr. Leonard! Good advice, too.

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Re: Beware of DEAD LIONS

Postby JustinKeller » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:41 pm

Great story and great info. The "dead" ones are way to dangerous to trust. Tie the dogs up and have the shooter approach first.
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Re: Beware of DEAD LIONS

Postby Three44s » Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:39 am

One heck of a story! ...and a very good lesson as well!

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Re: Beware of DEAD LIONS

Postby Hollowpoint » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:29 pm

A bear outfitter in North Carolina once told me, “You can’t kill ‘um enough”
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Re: Beware of DEAD LIONS

Postby lawdawgharris » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:18 pm

That's an awesome story for sure. Hard to beat wisdom gained from experience.

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Re: Beware of DEAD LIONS

Postby FullCryHounds » Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:05 am

Good read Mike.
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