Getting Right on Top of them

Talk about Cougar Hunting with Dogs
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Walkerdirt
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Getting Right on Top of them

Postby Walkerdirt » Fri Mar 18, 2022 2:08 pm

Not much going on with this page so I figured I might as well post about what I've been chewing on lately.

I've had on a few different occasions where we trailed up to a set of bluffs or even big rock piles thinking I was getting close to jumping one and the track seemed to die right about where I'd guess a lion would be bedded. I picked around in the rocks with the dogs some to try to turn the lion up with no luck.

On my last outing i spent 4 days looking for a good track and of course on the last day, the day i planned to drive home we cut 2 tracks going over the wash i dragged the evening before. We trailed across a flat and up into a long bluff. Knowing there were two lions made it tough because the dogs kept splitting and coming together. At one point we were at the bottom of the bluff and i had two dogs trailing one way and 2 trailing up a shoot/pass in the the bluff. I went with the one dog i sort of trust which ended up taking us on top of the bluff and thats where the track ended. I was watching the clock knowing i had to head home and after while of trying to figure out what happened i head back to the truck. On the way down the bluff we hit a pretty hot track and the dogs took off. Sadly i had to call it and get home.

A few days later i was listening to an old podcast with Floyd Green and he mentioned that they often are within 50 yards of a lion thinking it was no where to be found and the dogs bump into it. That statement really got me thinking, we could have been right on top of that thing and it snuck out below us.

My question to you all is how often do these types of situations happen and what do you do if you think one might be close? I gave the dogs plenty of time to try to figure it out but they just stood on their heads after we trailed down the top of the bluff. I'd like to hear what you guys have experienced.
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Re: Getting Right on Top of them

Postby Mack0120 » Mon Mar 21, 2022 1:02 am

I think these scenarios can happen more often than a hunter thinks. I’ve had the same situation happen a couple times I know I was on a night-old track; the first time dogs trailed a track that wasn’t there day before and went right up to a big rocky bluff - I gave them a half hour and didn’t know any better, thinking they’d lost it. I pulled them and went home and asked my two older mentors about it. Both said I shoulda gave more time and one said he knew a lot of hunters that had caught a lion cause they got down in them rocks w their hounds. The second time I was 5 hours behind the lion (got him on a trail cam), and one of my two hounds jumped him but again, I didn’t know any better (I’m fairly new to running my own hounds) and after an hour I headed home (I’ve since heard this hound jump 5 other lions and caught them so now know what happened). Sometimes they just don’t want to get caught, I think, especially in the heat of the day after hours of trailing in the heat.

This was all in New Mexico on dry ground w two young but driven hounds, and my long-time mentor says like the old timers, it’s like those lions can turn their scent off before laying up. Or, if they jump up/down ten feet in them bluffs that’s room for little scent for the hounds or where the track ends.. There’s definitely smart hounds can figure it out, I think I failed mine both those times by not giving them enough time.. Live and learn.
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Re: Getting Right on Top of them

Postby tman308 » Tue Mar 22, 2022 9:58 am

Depending on the bluff lions can leap a long way up or down. There won't be a continuous trail in to them as they jumped from one point to the other. I've been on several that if the hounds didnt see them go over the edge they would have never caught them.
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Re: Getting Right on Top of them

Postby Bluedog88 » Wed Apr 20, 2022 12:16 pm

it's happened to me a few times on short tails. cat goes down a hole or a crack in the rocks. sometimes they will jump 15 feet to the tree and there will be 20 fifty foot pines hard to find the cat. I really think I most losses something like this happened.
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Re: Getting Right on Top of them

Postby bowieknife50 » Tue May 03, 2022 10:12 pm

I really don't have any business even asking questions about what happens on a lion hunt, but did you have the opportunity to make some big circles around where they got stuck? I imagine that's a lot more difficult out in bluff country but just curious how far you would have had to circle to know he didn't leave the spot where you made a loss.

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Re: Getting Right on Top of them

Postby Walkerdirt » Wed May 04, 2022 5:33 pm

If I had all day I would have circled out but like you said it was tough because we were on the rim. I think we were literally right on top of him. I don't think I'll ever put dogs down on the day I'm supposed to head home again.
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Re: Getting Right on Top of them

Postby Dan V » Fri May 27, 2022 12:28 pm

I have had similar disappearing acts, sometimes we were able to figure it out, sometimes we weren’t. We had a jumped lion disappear in a lava flow a few months ago, initially we thought he made it across. He actually found a crack and disappeared underground. Given enough time, Daisy figured it out.

A story a friend of mine told me, he was trailing a big Tom and the track ended for them in some bluffs. He had a really good pack of dogs, but they couldn’t figure it out. They tried to press out and find an exit track, but nada. He sat down up in the bluffs and rested for while, when he noticed a pine cone fall out of this tree on the edge of the bluff. He had looked the tree over before and the dogs had been under it, but the wind was blowing away from them and out into the vast empty space. Another pine cone dropped and Charlie started looking the tree over some more, when he finally spotted one eye ball and just a sliver of the lions head as he peaked at him from the other side of the tree.

If the wind had been different the dogs would have been able to locate him, but they did not have access to his scent.
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Re: Getting Right on Top of them

Postby Walkerdirt » Thu Sep 08, 2022 2:45 am

They are slick critters no doubt. Two lessons I’ve learned are never put dogs down on the day you drive home or if your on a schedule and never assume where the track will end.

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