Sunday, December 9, 2018

Cougar's and other dangers.

Travis McLing gave me permission to post a couple of pictures from his most recent chukar hunt. As you can see it turned out pretty successful.
I don't know how to copy his whole story but it was excitement plus. His dog's actually got in a short wrestling match with the cat before Travis's shotgun placed a load of 71/2 shot in the cat's face at 8 feet and another into the cat's side as it released the dog's and then ran by him. If you get a chance read the full story in the Idaho Upland Bird Hunters blog. It's a good one.
I wrote a blog about a similar encounter I had about nine years ago and his description of the dog's point and encounter was very similar to mine except for the wrestling match. I figure this to be a good time to remind chukar hunter's of the big cat's presence especially this time of the year. They are around year round but as the big game moves lower into their winter grounds which are also popular places for the chukars the mountain lions follow.

The chances of having an encounter like Travis had are pretty slim but I'll bet most chukar hunters out this time of the year and getting away from the beaten routes would be shocked at how close they probably were to a lion at one time or another. I've seen several occasions where cats won't move until either the dog's force them to or the hunter comes so close that they finally must get out of town. Most chukar hunters are pretty quiet and there isn't a lot of noise from the dogs so many times Lions don't even know the hunters and their canine partners are near until they are within a 100 yards or so and by then the lazy cat just hunkers in his obscure little hiding place until the danger passes. It's kind of what he is good at. 

Don't run to your gun safe and grab your .357 or can of mace just yet though. I'd say the odds of you or your dog getting hurt by a lion are less than 1%. Just be aware of their possible presence and maybe you'll enjoy what very few people ever get to see once your heart settles back down. Just one more of the wonders of chukar country. 
This is the guy that got a little too close to Dakota nine  or ten years ago.
Who knows. You may be walking along some snow covered mountain and fall into what you thought was a badger hole but when you pull yourself back up you're looking at this guy.
After typing about Travis's luck with a cougar I got a note from Greg Munther down in Arizona. It seems like his luck wasn't quite as good even though nothing was trying to eat his dog. He ran into a danger of a different type. His dog, Oakley broke to flush and didn't see a stick hidden in the tall brush. All I know is that he said "darn for bad luck".
Ouch! Hopefully Lucy can cover for Oakley for the next two months and healing comes quick.
Upland hunting isn't always a walk in the park as these two incidents show. 


Larry said...

thanks for the stories about cougars. I would like to see them, but at a distance, just like I like to see brown bears up here in Alaska.

Feels ok to be back at home in the recliner after a couple months in the trailer, but honestly I would rather still be hunting chukar. Not too much snow here, so may be able to hunt grouse or ptarmigan for a little while longer. One thing is certain, Hannah at 7 months old is not going to be able to sit around the house all the time. Maybe I could hook her up to a dog sled or something heavier.

Annie had several small cuts this season, but they take a long time to heal. Hope Greg's dog heals well. That is a nasty one!


Greg said...

Reporting out a day after Oakley's train wreck. 4.5 hours in the vet has her sewed up with a drain tube and wearing a tee shirt to keep it all together. There are many hazards down here in far my dogs have experiences with some. A previous GSP lost an eye in a collision with a cholla cactus. My older GSP now had to be sewn up due to fight with javalina, and went over a cliff chasing a covey of quail. Also some barb wire tears. Other hazards we have missed so far are the plentiful abandoned vertical mine shafts, various poisonous snakes, and valley fever caught from sniffing soil. In the field I carry forceps for torn blood vessels and, a portable dog pack, with the rest of first aid in the truck. For myself, usually all I have to avoid are the drug runners, and not crashing on the rocks hidden under the grass.