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Preparing for a lion hunt
I am booked to hunt mountain lion in Wyoming next winter. Having all summer to prepare, I want to make sure I'm ready to go when I get the call conditions are right next winter. Right now, my plan is to hike the hills with a heavy backpack to strengthen my legs. However, I can't mimic the elevation here in the Midwest. Also, how should I carry my bow? I've thought about a sling, or using my take down recurve instead of my compound. I could stow it in my backpack and assemble it at the tree. However, I'm only proficient out to 15-20 yards with it, and worry the upward angle of the shot in the trees would be better undertaken with my compound. Any advice from veterans of a lion hunt is much appreciated!
I used a rinehart ball target that I would lift up into a tree with a rope. That allowed me to get proficient at the upward angles. While there is no substitute for elevation in training the best you can do is get in the best shape you can were you can...I think increased cardio and walking at inclines on a treadmill is awesome...next thing is go a day or two early if you can and acclimate to the higher elevations . As for packing your bow. I just lash mine to my pack.....might not work as well with a recurve though. I can’t see why you can’t keep it broken down and packed and quickly assemble at the tree. You most likely will have then enough time.
I’d recommend strapping your bow on a daypack/backpack. You will have plenty of time to get to it when it’s needed, plus you will have both hands free to navigate the terrain. One word of caution about carrying it this way. We used snow machines to get as close as we could to where that cat was treed, (I was riding on the back of the guide’s sled) then snowshoed in the rest of the way in to the bay tree. It was quite the white knuckle sled ride for certain, ducking under and around trees and snags! After getting my cat, and heading back to the truck, we went under a pine and I just about got jerked off the sled. When we got back to the truck, I discovered that the bow had hooked a branch on the tree and the string had popped off of the cam. I was fine sitting upright on the sled, but when I ducked my head to clear the branches, my bow was still sticking up and snagged on the branch. Just glad it didn’t happen on the way in!
May I ask what outfit you’re going with? Good luck! Cat hunting is quite the rush.
Take 2 walking sticks with you, they will be a huge help when hiking.
I'll second the shooting at a target in a tree, for practice, as well as the training. I'd also like to suggest making plans to bring the meat home....It is really good, yet frequently overlooked.
I agree with the above guys. I just went lion hunting a few weeks ago. I brought trekking poles with me and forgot them when we went up the mountain. I was really wishing I had them when it was time to climb.
2x Medicineman, the meat is excellent. I have a standing offer with a couple of guides that if they do not want the meat I will come up and pack it out. They just need to give a me a donation slip so I am legal to have it.
Good for you, Jeff! Before I went on my cat hunt I wasn't too interested in it. I had an opportunity fall in my lap and I couldn't pass it up. Boy am I glad I didn't! We had an absolute blast and I hope to do another one some day.
Practice shooting at extreme angles. I practiced to a little more than 45 degrees and that wasn't nearly steep enough. The shot I took at the cat ended up to be about 25 yards up and I was standing about 8 feet from the base of the tree-- practically straight up!
As others have said- the meat is wonderful!
I'm excited to eat it. Right now in my freezer I have raccoon, deer, squirrel rabbit and muskrat, so I'm looking forward to lion!
bring a pack with extra jacket, hat and gloves, after your hike in you most likely will be sweaty and will get chilled on way out. headlamp is a must, ask about snow shoes? lots of time at tree to reassemble your bow. if cat is too high or bad angle ask if they can jump it out and re-tree it, might tree in a better tree. I would decide on what kind of cat I wanted to shoot and not settle for less. also every female in a tree is the largest one they have ever seen. almost any tom, other than a juvenile, is more impressive than a female. average adult female is 100 pounds and toms will probably be 110-160 pounds
Not to hijack the topic,,,but can you guys that have eaten lion,give us a comparison of what the taste is similar too??
Tastes like a HOG ..... we smoked ours and it looked like a big ham and tasted like ham ... Unbelievable .... it is very very good! When we cut into the meat it looked just like 'ham'!
For shooting practice, I’d recommend squirrels and grouse. I don’t know the first thing about hunting lions, but I’m pretty sure that if you can take a squirrel out of a tree, a 100-some-odd pound cat will probably be NBD. Except for the gasping for air and shaking with adenaline part!
As to which bow to take, only you can answer that, but me bein’ me, no way in hell would I cart a compound around at high altitude if I had a viable option with a string-bow at a fraction of the weight. And if you carry your take-down “tooken down”, then you just bought yourself a little time to catch your breath and steady your nerves, which I’m pretty sure that I would need.
For training, do some strength work with weights and do the cardio without... JMO, anyway. There are orthopedists on this site and I AIN’T ONE OF ‘EM, but logging a lot of miles with a bunch of weight sounds like the express route to a joint replacement. If you want cardio under increased resistance, use a bike and lose the impact.
I’m no fitness expert; just a guy who’s young enough to still be able to do some of the things I used to do, and old enough to wonder why the hell I ever thought some of them were a good idea.
cat nip and a bouncy ball with a bell will help draw them in .
As a flatlander, the most difficult adjustment was incline
. I was able to get in fine cardiovascular and muscular shape but the incline changed all the pressure points on my feet and I paid the price. Were I to go again, I would find a way to build some sort of narrow ramp and do steps ups on it. In my boots. For you, hit the steepest inclines you can hike.
If you want to prepare for elevation, increase your VO2 Max by incorporating running, interval running or HiiT workouts. Plenty on Youtube for ideas.
A bow sling is fine.
The meat is very similar to pork only much leaner. It might be the leanest of any game meat. Any slow cooker recipe for pulled pork or pork roast works great! Be aware it is likely to carry trichinosis so it has to be cooked to a high enough temperature to be safe. You won't be grilling any medium rare steaks. Besides I find it too dry to grill.
If you want to work out and mimic altitude as much as you can wear a respirator like one used during construction to cut down dust.
As for the shot I wouldn’t worry too much about it. The shot could be very easy to impossible if the cat gets into too many branches...
My first cat was a chip 10’ high 10 yard shot. The second one was so high and in so much brush I could only see it’s head and butt... no possible shot.
It wasn’t long before he bailed out of the tree. I actually ended up shooting it as it ran down the tree. I was at full draw following it and as it stopped to gather itself to leap I shot. The arrow entered at the bottom of the cat And exited between the shoulder blades on the Toms back... my point being be ready for just about anything.
My outfitter said there was NO way he was gonna eat a cat, so I didn’t bring any of it back with me. I sure wished I would have, now!
Bring an extra pair of socks in your pack never know if you’ll step into a creek and need dry feet
If it`s a snow hunt it will the elevation...the incline and the snow. The only way to replicate that is to train on a local hill that has grass/weeds on it and highstep or pump your knees. You should be able to find a hill....we used to run up and down the huge piles of black dirt the builders would scrape off the farm fields prior to building a subdivision. The late GREAT Walter Payton used a local hill for the exact same type of training.