Mathews Inc.
K9's, K114 and a Killer cat
cougar
Contributors to this thread:
BOWNBIRDHNTR 22-Apr-21
Oryx35 22-Apr-21
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From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
This is the story of my 2021 mountain lion hunt(s). It's long with lots of pictures. I apologize if my writing gets too boring. There are definitely more talented hunters and writers on here but I just wanted to share my hunt with you. I hope to get everything posted today but we'll just have to see how the day goes.

From: Oryx35
22-Apr-21
Can't wait! Lion is on my bucket list.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
A mountain lion hunt with dogs and my bow has been a dream of mine for many years. Four years ago I went to Arizona to hunt Coues deer with Ward’s Outfitters and Layne Chitwood was one of the guides. Layne was only 20 years old but a great guide. He has a great passion for hunting and is very skilled at finding game and guiding hunters… Layne and I hit it off right away.

After spending a little time together I also learned that Layne had killed a lion or two. When I told him I really wanted to hunt a lion someday, he said to just let him know when I wanted to go. Layne’s good friend, Mike Harris with HD Trophy Hunts, had the lion dogs and he would be glad to set it up.

Layne and I stayed in touch and over the next few years Layne killed a couple more lions and began helping Mike with other lion hunters….of course he sent me pics from several lion hunts. Finally, in 2020, I was able to commit to a hunt. Mike and Layne worked out the details and sent me a contract. I would fly to Arizona January 12, 2021.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
My normal whitetail deer hunting bow set up, gear and clothing would work fine. The biggest concern I had was shooting UP. Obviously the plan would be to tree the cat or possibly trap him on a ledge. Either way the odds were good I would shoot up at a fairly steep angle. To practice for this I put a pulley about 30’ high in a tree. I ran a rope through it and tied it to my 18:1 target. This worked great and allowed me to shoot from multiple angles and distances. The biggest difference I noticed was my sight picture. When aiming up with both eyes open I found my left eye sometimes becoming more dominant. If I tried to close my left eye I lost about a third of my sight picture. After a few adjustments, and one arrow launched into the cornfield behind my house, I was able to shoot accurately and confidently with both eyes open.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Breeze and Deca
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Breeze and Deca
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
My son Wyatt and his dog Creed.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
My son Wyatt and his dog Creed.
I had a good time chasing deer and pheasants with my wife and son in the fall and winter. I took a doe the first night out and a decent buck later in December after the gun season. My wife killed a doe during early muzzleloader season and then took her best buck with a bow in November. She wrapped up her deer season by filling her antlerless bow tag on the last day of the season, January 10th. She had never filled all of her tags before. She was very determined to do so after she got her buck and I couldn’t be more proud. She killed all three deer by herself….I still get to help field dress and drag. We always support each other’s endeavors. She’s a great hunting and workout partner, a terrific mom and wonderful wife!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Not sure why, but I can only rotate the first picture. Might be some sore necks by the time I'm done....or I'll just post pics individually.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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My wife's early season ML kill.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
My wife's early season ML kill.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Annette's best buck with a bow.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Annette's best buck with a bow.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Annette's last day doe.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Annette's last day doe.
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Heart shot.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Heart shot.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
So January 11th I added one more item to my “to do” list, I butchered her deer. I shot one last time and finished packing my gear. Finished off the day with fresh deer tenderloin and heart. A perfect end to our deer season and great meal before leaving for my lion hunt.

From: Brotsky
22-Apr-21
Loving this so far Jeff! An archery mountain lion is somethin I absolutely WILL do in my life!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
January 12. Travel day. Easy flights and no hassles. Mike and Layne picked me up at the airport pulling a load of hay. We stopped and got groceries, a lion tag and sunglasses (I had to forget something). Soon we arrived in Arivaca. From the paved road to the house is 2.9 miles. Pulling a trailer that 2.9 miles takes almost 30 minutes because the road is basically like a motocross course….up and down with lots of twists and turns. I saw lots of Coues and Muley does on every trip to and from the house so it was always fun.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
After helping unload hay (I’m not one to watch someone else work) I said hi to the dogs and mules and was then shown my room in the house. I had a bed and a bathroom so I certainly wasn’t roughing it. Next I put my gear together and shot my bow. Everything was good and I was excited for tomorrow.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Jan 13. First day of my 7 day hunt. (FYI, every morning of the entire hunt consists of a 4 am wake, chores and Arivaca’s finest coffee) 4:00 am and it’s COLD. I came from Iowa, I’m used to cold and even like cold but I wasn’t expecting this cold. After catching and saddling mules we loaded them and the dogs and headed out. At one point the temperature read 16 degrees….it was 34 in Iowa! It was 26 when we took off on the mules. Chillier than I had expected but the sun felt good and temps were rising….and I was officially hunting mountain lions!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
It didn’t take long to realize a few things. Dunny, my mule, had a wide top and is very stiff legged when going downhill. I go to gym 5 days a week and nothing I do there could quite prepare me for sitting in a saddle. Also, I’m used to Iowa where it’s basically flat, now I’m in the mountains. I’ve ridden horses (30 years ago) on lots of trails in Iowa, none of them compared to places we rode these mules. I learned really fast to just focus on the ground in front of my mule and make sure to steer because these mules will go anywhere and over anything. We rode up, down and across slopes that made me cringe multiple times (I texted my wife that night that we probably should have upped my life insurance!).

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
A few miles in the dogs (we had 10 on the ground) started on a track. There was a bit of concern as it appeared the younger dogs were barking much more than the veterans. Soon they were barking “treed”. I was only a couple hours into day one and we were already tying up the mules and hiking to the dogs. Layne got to the tree first with Mike and I not far behind. He stopped us and said forget it. Dogs had treed a Coatimundy. They were all scolded for it and we returned to the mules. I didn’t want to be done on the first day anyway. We rode a total of 10 miles through the mountains, saw some beautiful country and my hips and legs were sore!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Jan. 14, day 2 of 7. Cold, but not as bad as yesterday. Today I’m riding Nancy and we have 9 different dogs on the ground. We are hunting a different area. We ride and check a few trail cams. We have pictures but they are a few days old. Soon we come across some tracks. Dogs are interested but the scent is pretty old. We ride to a saddle and find two more sets of tracks that appear to be a female and kitten. We now have three tracks, excited dogs and an upset cow that looks to have lost a calf. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the dogs lined out on the bigger track. We rode another 10 miles. I’m super sore but at least Nancy isn’t as wide and stiff legged as Dunny.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
We are also missing a dog, Cheerio, who is actually new to Mike. The previous owner used him on some other game but hadn’t chased many lions. We knew about where he was thanks to his GPS collar. We tried to tone him to come back but wouldn’t come to us. We decided to come back for him with a buggy (side by side UTV) as he was a long ride away on the mules. We returned 3 hours later and since he hadn’t moved we figured he was treed….and I didn’t bring my bow. Sure enough, when we got to him he was treed….two more Coati’s. Mike and Layne weren’t impressed with what he treed but we were all impressed with his determination! He got to ride next to me in the buggy on the ride home.

22-Apr-21

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
K114 lives on! Keep it coming.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Day 3, back on Dunny.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Day 3, back on Dunny.
Jan. 15, day 3 of 7. Still chilly but not bad. We are going back to the same mountains as yesterday but coming in from the other side. It appeared that the cats all worked their way to that side the day before. I’m back on Dunny. Hips, knees and legs are sore. Damn he’s got a wide top. We rode a few miles and the dogs struck a track and treed. We rode straight up a mountain as they appeared to be right under a lone tree. When we arrived we found them fighting a Javelina. This did not go over well with Mike and Layne. I understood though, we are running about half young dogs and half veterans. There’s a lot of training and learning going on. I’m still enjoying the entire experience.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
This picture does not do the mountain justice....On day two we rode over the tallest point on the left and went straight down. It took us 45 minutes to ride down to point where I took this picture. Fortunately I was on Nancy....you will understand later.

From: t-roy
22-Apr-21
Not being able to rotate some of your pics, might turn out perfect, once you get a little further into this story, Jeff! ;-)

Looking forward to following along on this journey!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Border wall panels.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Border wall panels.
Jan. 16, day 4 of 7. Cool but nice, more like what I expected in southern Arizona. We are going to split up so we can check more cameras. Mike and I will take some dogs with us and Layne will have some dogs with him. If anyone strikes a fresh track we will all join together. I’m not gonna lie, my legs were happy to be in the buggy or hiking instead of riding a mule. Mike and I almost needed a passport…we were driving right next to border wall.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Border town of Sasabi.
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Border town of Sasabi.
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This is Sasabi.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
This is Sasabi.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Layne went to a different ranch and found several “scratches” made by lions which was a great sign. He called Mike and we decided to meet up and turn the dogs loose. Layne had pictures of cats as well but they were a day or two old. No cats were located but the sign was good and we knew they were in the area.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
One cat in the pictures is very big according to Mike and Layne. They said they have been after him for a year and call him El Humongo. I really can’t tell how big he is by the picture and honestly I’ll be happy with any respectable size cat.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Freshly killed Coues deer.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Freshly killed Coues deer.
We did put out a few more cameras and hiked some areas near water looking for sign. Upon doing so we found a lion kill, a young Coues deer. We put a camera on it and made plans to return in the morning with the mules. As we left that day I met Ron, the ranch manager. He is a true cowboy and hard worker. Ron is always happy when Mike and Layne kill a lion on his ranch. He loses a lot of calves to the big cats.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Ron is a cowboy and a gentleman.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Ron is a cowboy and a gentleman.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Jan. 17, day 5 of 7. Weather is good. We are all excited to check the kill and the new cameras. Layne is going to run some cameras from the buggy and Mike and I will take mules. Unfortunately the kill was taken over by coyotes. We checked cameras and had no lions so we made another big loop through the mountains. We came across a couple other lion hunters. They were glassing and hunting with rifles. Everyone shared a “little” intel and then went their separate ways. We rode about 14 miles and now my legs and hips are feeling pretty good.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Dogs like the buggy ride too.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Dogs like the buggy ride too.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Jan. 18, day 6 of 7. Gonna be warm today. Mike and I will start on mules and Layne will check some other areas and cameras. Divide and conquer. Mike and I get a couple miles from the truck and he gets a call from friend saying he just saw a cat while deer hunting. Mike knows the area and says it will take a couple hours to get there. We decide it’s worth a shot. If the cat has a kill nearby he could just be laid up in the rocks somewhere close.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
We left the mules in a corral at Ron’s and loaded the buggy and dogs on a trailer. Once we got to the mountain where the cat was seen we unloaded everything and headed in on a jeep trail. Initially the trail was very nice, then it seemed we were driving on bowling balls and eventually we were climbing rocks the size of a VW Bug. A couple times Mike and I jumped out and we then helped guide Layne up the rocks. Unfortunately we didn’t jump out once when we should have and we ended up tipping the buggy over! No dogs were hurt and other than a couple bruises we were all ok.

From: Scoot
22-Apr-21
This is awesome! Great stuff.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
We were able to tip the buggy back onto her wheels but that was the end of the road so to speak. From here we were still 1.5 miles below where the cat was seen. We gathered our packs and dogs and headed up. I thought it was crazy where we rode mules, this was worse. After another run in with a Coati we finally made it up to right area. We found the lion’s track and the dogs took off on it. We didn’t have a trail to hike on, it was just a matter of fighting our way up…and up.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Finally we reached a point and saw the dogs across the canyon in some steep cliffs. Our guess was the cat went over the top. At that point we were 1200’ from the peak and it was getting late. There was no way to get it done before dark. Mike and Layne toned the dogs which signals them to come back. Hiking down was even harder than going up. We got into rocks and cliffs that were a bit challenging. We watched a beautiful sunset as we bounced back down the VW bugs and bowling balls. By the time we got to the truck it was dark and we still had a two hour drive home. When we got home it was after 10:00 pm. That 4:00 am alarm would come early.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Sunset on the desert.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Sunset on the desert.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Had a flat on the trailer when we got back. These guys come prepared.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Had a flat on the trailer when we got back. These guys come prepared.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Jan. 19, day 7 of 7. Weather is good. We are going to Ron’s. We are taking two buggies plus we have the mules that we left the day before. The plan is to cover as much ground as possible. Early on Layne cuts a fresh track. He and Mike start the dogs on it and things are looking good. All of the dogs seem to be working this track which is a good sign. Suddenly things get a bit crazy though as the dogs intercept a big herd of Javelina. This really distracts the young dogs and even some of the veterans are involved. Everyone is gathered up and we need to regroup.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Dogs are ready to roll.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Dogs are ready to roll.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Judging by the direction the track was going we believe the lion is heading back up the mountain. We lined up the dogs and they seem to be back on track. Only dogs really barking now seem to be the veterans. Mike follows them on foot and tells us where to go on the opposite side of the mountain. He has had cats run this direction before and believes we can catch him.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
The track takes Mike and the dogs up the mountain into more cliffs. Layne and I go to the other side and hike in to the area Mike thinks we need to get to. Unfortunately the cat gives the dogs the slip in the cliffs. Mike and Layne worked their tails off but we just couldn’t make it happen. Also, we find a picture of a cat on one of the cameras. He came into the area we had previously hunted ONE HOUR after we left. He walked in from the opposite direction so there’s no way the dogs could have smelled him. That’s hunting and I have nothing but respect for these two men and their dogs. Tomorrow I will fly home to Iowa. I wish I had seen a cat but I have no regrets about my hunt.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Jan. 20, departure day….But wait, my flight doesn’t leave Tucson until 12:45. Mike says unless I want to sleep in why don’t we go to Ron’s one more time. If we can cut a track early maybe we can still make it happen. I didn’t come to Arizona to sleep, I’m in! We still had mules in the corral and a buggy to drive. We loaded only veteran dogs for this last try. No pups to screw up the track.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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10 year old Bonita, the one eyed wonder dog, worked her tail off for me.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
10 year old Bonita, the one eyed wonder dog, worked her tail off for me.
We covered as much ground as we could in a short time but didn’t find any fresh sign. At 10:00 we had to call it. On the drive to the airport I was already trying to figure out if I could come back sooner rather than later. I asked if they had any openings left for February or March. I own a landscape supply company with little going on in the winter so work wouldn’t be an issue and my wife is very supportive. February was full but since Mike was expecting to become a new daddy in March they didn’t book any hunters for three weeks. Mike and Layne had already discussed it the night before and if I was comfortable hunting with just Layne they were more than happy to have me come back. The hunt isn’t over yet baby!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Cochise finally surrendered...lol.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Cochise finally surrendered...lol.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
As soon as I got home I discussed it with my wife and even asked her to join me. She enjoys hunting but thought it would be best if I continued this hunt on my own. I confirmed the dates with Layne and booked my flights. I would return March 3 and hunt the 4th-8th.

22-Apr-21
Hey Jeff, great recap so far, and I am sure there will be more to come as March is over. Lets see more.

From: Buckeye
22-Apr-21
aaaannnddd then???!!!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
-19 degrees in Iowa but we are making the best of it.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
-19 degrees in Iowa but we are making the best of it.
You know it's cold when the head on your beer freezes. We definitely had some colder weather in Iowa. I'm ready to go back to Arizona!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Sorry for the delays guys but I'm at work....

At work one morning I checked in on Bowsite and saw something mentioning K114, the knife being used by many Bowsiters in memory of Kelly Harris and soon to be given to his daughter, Morgan. K114 wasn’t available on my first trip as it was helping Paul at the Fort on a Coues deer hunt. I contacted Scar Finga and found out K114 would be available for my second trip. Scar sent it to me right away and, after a delay thanks to USPS, I received K114 the day before I was flying out. Maybe this would bring me a little extra luck!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I'm on my way!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I'm on my way!
Mar. 3, travel day. I couldn’t get an early morning flight. My wife needed to be at work but my son is a sheriff’s deputy and didn’t have to work until 2:00 pm. He could take me to the airport. He and I hunt together whenever possible but since he’s getting married soon his vacation time is a bit limited. This hunt would just be me again but I did enjoy getting to talk to him about it and other hunts on the way to the airport.

From: Sandbrew
22-Apr-21
I'm sure Kelly is enjoying the saga of the K114 knife and story of a good cougar chase. ;-)

Sandbrew

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Layne's cat from last year and Mike's Coues buck.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Layne's cat from last year and Mike's Coues buck.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Had a great supper here.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Had a great supper here.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Some of the locals insisted on wearing masks.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Some of the locals insisted on wearing masks.
Flight was good and Layne was there to pick me up on time…with another load of hay. I thought I was going to have unload it to earn my keep but this time it could stay on the trailer. Since I arrived late afternoon and already had my tag (and sunglasses) we only needed to stop for supper and fuel. We were home before dark, I checked my gear and shot my bow, said hi to the dogs and mules and was ready to start round two.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Mar. 4, day 1 of 5. Cool morning but not quite as cold as the previous hunt. Chores were done quickly and we headed to Ron’s in hopes of finding El Humongo….or any other mature lion.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
At sunrise we were back in the saddle. I was happy to start with Nancy as she is not as wide and has a smooth gait. We started down the dirt road into the mountains. About a mile or so in the dogs picked up scent and were working a track. We checked a couple cameras in the area and found a cat had been by around midnight. Dogs are working and we have pictures and scratches, this looks good!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Soon the dogs were tracking steadily and going almost straight up the mountain. Not long after we could hear them treeing at a cliff. We rode up as high as we could and dismounted. We were only 175 yards from the dogs but it was pretty steep. We glassed the cliffs and didn’t see anything. Layne told me to stay with the mules while he hiked up to the dogs. He was fairly certain the dogs were cliffed out and unable to pursue the lion. Soon he came back with the dogs in tow. The cat had eluded them.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Our best option was to ride around the mountain and see if we could find him on the other side. We made a big loop and rode across a couple areas meant for goats….still amazes me where these mules can go. We did find a track and some scratches on the other side but they were old. We saw lots of deer and some Javelina (with no dogs chasing them) but didn’t find the cat. We were guessing that El Humongo (or whoever we had chased) had stayed up in the steep cliffs. We rode just over 14 miles and I felt surprisingly good.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Mar. 5, day 2 of 5. Still cool but warming up. We are going back to Ron’s in hopes that the lion has a kill he’s staying with. Pretty much the same routine as yesterday but I’m back on Dunny. Just like yesterday the dogs seem to be working an old track but staying low instead of going up. We get to the camera and have another picture and more scratches. He was there around 11:00 pm yesterday so the scent is pretty old. The dogs worked it but we just couldn’t get them lined out and soon it appeared they lost it.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Back on Dunny
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Back on Dunny
Layne and I decided to head up the mountain and work our way across as high as we possibly could hoping to stay above the cat if he was still around. After about an hour of riding we came to a very steep area with loose rock. Our only option was to go lower and try to find a way across. While descending the mountain Dunny was struggling a bit with the loose rocks. We got into an area that was still pretty steep and he was basically sliding on his haunches….and then he’d had enough. Dunny, the bulletproof mule that I had ridden multiple times and trusted to go anywhere, blew up and became a rodeo saddle bronc! I have ridden many bucking colts but not for 30 years and never going straight down a mountain. I thought for sure I was going straight over his head and going to be under him on the jagged rocks….and no, we had not increased my life insurance before the second trip.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Somehow I managed to push myself to the side as I came off the mule. I actually landed on my knees and elbows with my bow in a sling on my back. I knew I’d have some bruises but the heavy chaps I had on really saved my knees from the rocks. Overall I was ok and, more importantly, my bow and arrows were all fine. Fortunately Dunny went straight to Layne and his mule and was easily caught.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
We led the mules out of the loose rocks and finally made it to the bottom. We then rode up another canyon and back up a different mountain. We found some old scratches and a herd of Javelina but didn’t come across anything for the dogs to work….and the youngsters are learning to avoid chasing Javelina. We rode just over 14 miles. I wasn’t saddle sore but I knew I’d have some new pains tomorrow. I did shoot my bow again when we got back. Everything is good.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Mar. 6, day 3 of 5. Cool but going to get hot. I am very sore. I think the worst of it came as I was getting slammed in the saddle. The inside of my thighs are bruised and my pelvis, abs and a couple ribs hurt. We are a bit torn as to what to do, go back to Ron’s where we know a lion has been the past two days or try someplace new?

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
We decide to go to Ron’s but make plans to ride through a couple different mountains. Layne tells me it’s going to be a 16.5 mile ride. I’m concerned about how I’m going to feel in the saddle because just riding in the truck hurts. I told Layne I’d know within two minutes whether or not I could endure a 16.5 mile ride. As soon as my butt hit the saddle I was shocked. No pain. I felt better in the saddle than I did in the truck. I said I’m good and off we went.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
We started down the same dirt road as the previous two days with the intent of going through a couple different mountains. As we rode we both looked up and saw a strange mark in the dirt….a drag mark. Upon inspection we saw fresh tracks next to it. The lion had just made a kill and drug it across the road!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
At that exact same time the dogs exploded. They weren’t tracking, they were chasing! We jumped back on the mules and headed in the direction they were going. It didn’t take long and we could no longer hear them so we headed for higher ground. As we climbed we still had one young dog with us and soon a second.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
We got to a spot to stop and listen something was wrong. Not only could we not hear them but we also could not pick them up on GPS. When we turned on the transmitter we could see the two pups that stayed with us but the other 7 were gone. We continued climbing the mountain and thought maybe they had gone over the top and we were just not getting a good signal. Once at the top we still couldn’t see or hear them. We decided to head back down to where we last heard them.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Once we worked our way back across and down the mountain (avoiding the loose rocks) we were back to the general vicinity of where we last heard them. We were in a lot of mesquite and cat’s claw trees so it was time to dismount. We tied off the mules and Layne said he was going to go look over the edge of the hill we were on. I stayed with the mules and tied up the two pups.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
A few minutes later I could hear Layne yelling but I couldn’t tell if he was yelling for me or the dogs. I headed his direction and met him coming up the hill with one of the dogs. I heard him say, “This isn’t good, this isn’t good”. The dogs were deep inside an abandoned mine shaft fighting a lion in the dark! Layne only figured it out because he saw blood on the rocks going into the shaft. Not until he was 20 yards inside the shaft could he actually hear the dogs. We feared some of the dogs would be dead as it had been an hour and a half since we had last heard them.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
I grabbed my bow and headed to the mine to help Layne. The first dog out was Bonita, the 10 year old, one-eyed queen of the pack. Layne said Mike would kill him if anything happened to her. With absolutely no concern for himself and only the safe recovery of the dogs on his mind, Layne quickly had every dog out of the mine. Soon we had them all recovered and tied up. 7 of the 9 dogs we had with us were bleeding but none were ready to give up.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
What do we do now? Layne asked if I had any lights. I had two in my pack. He also had two. He decided he would go in alone (with a 44 mag) and see if the cat was in a place I could shoot him with my bow. He didn’t want me in there with him just in case “things get western” and bullets start to fly.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
With a deep breath Layne started into the mine. He hadn’t taken more than two steps and I heard “OH SHIT!”. Layne dove out of the entrance and the lion raced past him like his tail was on fire! The cat was 3 feet from Layne and 6 feet from me as he came out. He jumped over a dog and took off down the mountain.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
We were amazed at what we had just seen and the dogs were all tied up and going crazy. We didn’t waste any time and quickly had the dogs cut loose. I hustled back to turn lose the couple dogs still with the mules and Layne followed the rest. Only seconds later I could tell by the barking that the dogs were treed again.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
I had to fight my way through the mesquite and cat’s claw. I tried bending over to go under it but my abs and pelvis hurt worse doing that than just letting the thorns scratch my arms. I didn’t care, I had 9 excited dogs at a tree with my lion in it!

From: Bake
22-Apr-21
THis is awesome!!! Now I have to go on a lion hunt!!

22-Apr-21
Great story!!!

22-Apr-21
I feel like I'm there with you. Great write up

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I was there in just a few minutes and couldn’t really believe I was walking up to my first treed lion. Layne started tying up dogs while I figured out where I wanted to take the shot. The cat was in a perfect quartering away position and looking the opposite direction. Layne told me to just watch the lion and let him know if he started looking like he may try to escape again.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Soon the cat was starting to look around and saw us. I told Layne the cat was getting nervous and he said ok, time to take the shot. We agreed on shot placement. The dogs and Layne had done EVERYTHING up to this point. The only job I have now is to make a good shot. I don’t want the dogs to have to chase a wounded lion. They have worked hard enough.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Time to do my part.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Time to do my part.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
I went straight to kill mode. I was calm, anchored, saw my pin exactly where I wanted it to be and squeezed the trigger of my release. Layne recorded the shot. It was perfect. The lion was dead when he hit the ground 6 seconds after I released the arrow. El Humongo was dead.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Entrance.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Entrance.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Exit.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Exit.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
The time I released the arrow to the cat falling out of the tree was 6 seconds. He was dead when he hit the ground

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
The pose I'd been waiting for.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
After some high fives it was time to switch our attention to the dogs. Not until the cat was dead did any of these dogs give up. They got the cat for us, now we need to care for them. We had a couple water bottles with us and more in our saddle bags. While Layne went to grab the mules I stayed with the dogs. I gave them the water I had and took the time alone to thank them, my wife and God for letting me take this beautiful animal.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
Layne had cell service when he got to the mules so he called Mike to pass on the good news and to have him let the vet know we were on our way with a few dogs in need of attention. He also called Ron and let him know where we were and that we had killed the calf killer.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
This GPS collar probably saved a dogs life. Notice the perfect hole in the corner.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Ron hopped in his fencing truck and was able to drive right to us. After some pictures we promptly had the cat tagged and loaded in the back of the Toyota along with 9 dogs. I rode out with Ron and the dogs and Layne rode the mules out. Back at the truck and trailer we were able to get everyone watered. All of the dogs were exhausted but all things considered they were doing well. We still wasted little time getting the dogs, mules, lion and ourselves loaded and headed to the vet.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Cheerio. Sedated, shaved and ready for staples.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Cheerio. Sedated, shaved and ready for staples.
The vet determined two of the dogs, Cheerio and Rosey, needed some attention. Cheerio had several bad cuts and ended up with 40-50 staples. Rosey had a hematoma under her throat and some badly cut ears. She got 20-30 staples and a compression wrap around her head. Meds were sent home with us for all 7 of the dogs that had been injured while fighting the lion in the cave.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Rosey getting fixed up at the vet.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Rosey getting fixed up at the vet.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
We made a quick stop at the local market for a Coke and some beer. As a side note, I had not had a pop since 2019. I told myself when I killed a lion I would celebrate with a Coke. It was great. Might have another after I kill my first elk next fall.

From: elkmtngear
22-Apr-21
Very cool story Jeff...huge Kitty!!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Loin and tenders.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Loin and tenders.
It’s now about 1:00 and getting warm. Time to care for the hide and meat. I guess K114 brought me some luck so she definitely deserved to get some lion blood on her! I never met Kelly but I felt like I had known him at least a little bit and I hope Morgan can enjoy the knife and take it on her own adventures.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
In all of the excitement and rush to get the dogs cared for and lion processed we didn’t think to weigh him while we were in town. We estimated him to weigh 160-170 lbs. When we took the hide and skull to the game and fish, the officer checking him in said he had never seen a bigger cat in Arizona (though I’m sure there have been many).

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21
I brought the loins and tenders home with me. Looking forward to sharing it with my family when we can all get together. I shipped the hide directly to a taxidermist buddy of mine in Colorado. He said I can pick up the mount next fall when I come out to chase a cow elk.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Mike and Layne have them on speed dial.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Mike and Layne have them on speed dial.
I'll share just a few more photos before closing...

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Rosey going in for a check up.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Rosey going in for a check up.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Rosey enjoying a lion leg bone.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Rosey enjoying a lion leg bone.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Ron and I.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Ron and I.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

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Layne and I.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Layne and I.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
22-Apr-21

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I’m going to end this by saying thank you to God for providing and looking out for all of us, to my wife for letting me be me and always supporting my dreams, to Mike Harris and Layne Chitwood with HD Trophy Hunts for providing a terrific hunt and experience, and finally to the dogs… Cheerio, Rosey, Bonita, Annie, Dottie, Cochise, Rojo, Spanky, Doc, Virgil, Wiley, Fancy, Tess, Rio, Kink, Hippy, Scooby and Lego….18 of the best lion dogs out there.

From: hdaman
22-Apr-21
You're one heck of a story teller and that's a beautiful lion! Congrats and thanks for sharing!

From: Brotsky
22-Apr-21
Holy sh!$ Jeff! What an awesome story buddy! That is the kind of adventure we all come to Bowsite to enjoy. Congrats on an amazing lion and the memories to match! Great story telling too, one of my new favorite threads!

From: Oryx35
22-Apr-21
Congrats! What an adventure and fantastic story telling. Thanks for sharing.

From: Matt
22-Apr-21
Congratulations on a tremendous tom. Thanks for taking the time to share in such great detail.

From: Marty
22-Apr-21
Excellent story telling! Great job and Congrats!

From: BIGERN
22-Apr-21
Unbelievable adventure and recap. Thanks for sharing and what a monster, great job to all of you!

From: JohnMC
22-Apr-21
That was a fun read! Sounds like a great hunt and a hunt I want to do someday.

From: upclose
22-Apr-21
I've been lurking on this site for 20 years. That could be the best story i've ever read. Thank you, and well done!!

From: GLP
22-Apr-21
Great read! Enjoyed the story!

22-Apr-21
Cokes are good but your story/hunt was GREAT. What a roller coaster of a ride but you stayed on course, you, the guides and the dogs. Got to love the dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nicely done and to respect the cause of K114. my best, Paul

From: t-roy
22-Apr-21
Great job with the storytelling, Jeff! Congrats on a giant cat! Looking forward to seeing the finished product, once Cris gets it finished, too! I’m sure glad he reconsidered getting out of taxidermy.

Have you had a chance to try any of the meat, yet?

From: Ron Niziolek
22-Apr-21
What a fantastic hunt and write-up. You sure killed a giant. Congrats to all involved!

22-Apr-21
Make sure to cook the meat thoroughly mine had trichinosis

From: Quinn @work
22-Apr-21
Wow, that must of been quite a sight when that cat came barreling out of that mine shaft right next to you guys. Congrats on huge Tom. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

From: tkjwonta
22-Apr-21
awesome awesome awesome. Thanks so much for sharing the story and all the great pictures!

From: HUNT MAN
22-Apr-21
Excellent

From: Rgiesey
22-Apr-21
Great job and hunt! Congratulations!

From: BigSkyHntr
22-Apr-21
Awesome story!! And congrats on a beast of a lion!!

From: Scoot
23-Apr-21
Outstanding in every way! Great adventure that was well written. Thanks very much for sharing.

From: Bowboy
23-Apr-21
Excellent pictures and story. That's a very nice cat. Congrats!

From: njbuck
23-Apr-21
Awesome story and amazing cat. Congrats.

23-Apr-21
Hey Jeff, K114 has earned her keep in Arizona. You did well. Paul

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
23-Apr-21
Thanks for all of the kind words! The entire experience was incredible and I hoped I could express that on here as well.

We have not had any of the meat yet. My son in law has been deployed since September. He got to come home this past Tuesday as he and my daughter are expecting a baby....yes, I will soon be a Grandpa! Anyway, I wanted to wait until I could have all of my family out to try it. Betting we'll be grilling lion and deer backstraps soon!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
23-Apr-21
Fortunately they had no hunters booked for a couple weeks after my hunts, but all of the dogs made a quick, full recovery. I think my buddy Cheerio was ready to go again before I even left. All of the dogs have so much heart and desire to hunt. I equate their experience in the mine fighting the lion and then chasing him up a tree to being like one of us getting beat up in a dark alley and then standing back up and saying, Let's do it again!

From: Scar Finga
23-Apr-21
Jeff sent me pictures and told me the story right after his hunt, and I have been dying to see this posted up!!!!!!

What a toad and an amazing story!!!!

Once again, Well Done Jeff, and Congratulations!!!!

From: KHNC
23-Apr-21
Great Job! I also killed my lion on a dry ground hunt in Southern AZ, back in 2015. Toughest damn hunt ive ever been on! Nasty country! Nice lion!

From: Airborne
23-Apr-21
Great Write up!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

From: Shiras42
23-Apr-21
Freaking outstanding! Thanks for the ride along. I'm a little saddle sore after reading. :)

23-Apr-21
Great write up!

From: SBH
23-Apr-21
Incredible!

From: Buckeye
23-Apr-21
awesome story and animal! Thanks for sharing that experience with us.

From: Z Barebow
23-Apr-21
Awesome story! Thanks for sharing.

From: keepemsharp
23-Apr-21
Thanks for the ride.

From: Hawkeye
23-Apr-21
Great story and thread Jeff! Congrats on multiple levels. Well done buddy:)

From: TD
23-Apr-21
Congrats! Great story! And a well earned lion. Thanks much for sharing.... to do it as well as you did takes more work than many know. Appreciate it.

Lion hunt is on my bucket list. Soon! This fires me up even more!

From: Svrelk2
23-Apr-21
Hell of a story.... Your houndsman is very lucky all his dogs made it thru that ordeal..... Every time I turn out.... I'm anxious i until I get them back safely in the box .

Good write up!

From: Medicinemann
23-Apr-21
Jeff, I remember elevating my target in a tree before my cat hunt. My first arrow probably still hasn't landed yet!! In the picture with Annette's last day doe.....are those fireworks in the background? Did the one eyed dog lose it's eye to a cat? A very enjoyable read....thank you for sharing.

From: INbowdude
23-Apr-21
Great looking cat, congrats!

From: Old School
23-Apr-21
Great story. Lion hunt just got added to my bucket list.

From: Bou'bound
24-Apr-21
Great job well done

From: sticksender
24-Apr-21
Fun hunt, thanks for sharing.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
24-Apr-21
Jake, with the weight you pull your arrow probably landed on the moon! The fireworks are actually a Christmas wreath lol. Bonita actually lost her eye as a puppy. She somehow got her head stuck in the kennel and basically popped it out. The vet said chances were good that she would have issues down the road if they left it in and by removing it as a pup she would grow up used to not having it. She is pretty much the alpha dog now...and had almost no wounds from my lion!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
24-Apr-21
I do have a couple videos on my Iphone. If anyone can tell me how to post them I'd be glad to put them on here.

From: Kevin Dill
24-Apr-21
What an outrageously great hunt and story....one of the best lion adventures I’ve ever read. Only someone who has done many consecutive days of desert lion searching knows what it’s like to greet the sunrise and feel those emotions. Monster dry ground lion! Absolute congratulations and endless thanks for sharing this with us. I’m truly inspired.

From: Inshart
24-Apr-21
Holy crap, that thing looks UUUGE! Great write up! No wonder they will stand their ground against a black bear.

From: nchunter
24-Apr-21
Fantastic story. What amazes me is that you say back in January they were booked up till March. They took almost 8 weeks of hunters out for lion. That must be one of the hardest to achieve hunts in that area. I wonder how many other hunters got a lion in the 7 or 8 weeks between your hunts. I am glad you got the lion you were after. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

From: RJ Hunt
25-Apr-21
Yes. Such a great write up. Appreciate you taking the time to write that up and share. Awesome adventure.

25-Apr-21
Fantastic story.... congrats on a beautiful cat and thank you for taking us along for the ride!

From: T Mac
25-Apr-21
Great write and great cat congrats!

From: Buc i 313
26-Apr-21
Thank you for sharing your adventure with Bow Site and the travels of K-114.

From: Beav
27-Apr-21
Wow what a great writeup! Congrats on a great cat and thanks so much for taking us along.

From: otcWill
27-Apr-21
Enjoyed this. Well done and thanks for posting!

From: KY EyeBow
27-Apr-21
WOW! Way to get it done. I believe K114 did help!

From: bohuntr
28-Apr-21
Congratulations Jeff! An El Humongo adventure and an El Humongo cat!!! Thanks for sharing it.

From: bowhunter24
30-Apr-21
Thanks Jeff for taking us and K114 on this great adventure! You relly made me smile at work tonight thanks! Good luck this fall maybe we can get some more write ups from you, you do have the skills!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
13-Jul-21
Just wanted to let everyone know that HD Trophy Hunts is donating a 7 day lion hunt to the Pope & Young Auction. I believe you can bid online or at the auction. Mike and Layne will also have a booth in Reno. If you are looking for a lion hunt these guys are worth talking to. Jeff.

13-Jul-21
Congrats on your big cat! Must have missed it in the spring.

From: Shug
13-Jul-21
Congratulations

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