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I will start this post off with the fact that I did kill the lion with a rifle. I chose to use my great grandfather's 30-30 that has never hunted before. He won it in a bar and gave it to my uncle who doesn't hunt. Because of the history, I figured it would be cool to use. So with Pat's permission, I will give a quick recap of my lion hunt with Fred Wallace of Cat Tracks Outfitters.
I learned about Fred from Bowsite years ago and put it on my bucket list. I was able to book my dates over 2 years ago and started saving up for the hunt. I also started working out 6 months ago so I could hike to the hounds if needed.
I left WI on Dec 26th and headed west. All went well and an I arrived at Fred's on the afternoon of the 27th. From this point forward the weather turned and made the hunt very difficult. Between the timing of the snow and the rain, we were not able to cut a track until day 5. It was not due to lack of effort. We were up at 1-3 AM daily searching for tracks. We put over 400 miles on just his UTV. We also used his truck and tracked 4-wheelers.
On the 5th morning, we finally cut a track 2 hours before daylight. It was warm and the snow was melting but we had to try the dogs on it. After putting the dogs on the track we were able to find a deer kill 50 yards from the trail. After that, the dogs covered the next 4.5 miles in no time. We were able to get closer to them and could hear them bayed up in some cliffs. At that point, we grabbed our gear and started straight up the muddy slope. As we got to the top, we could hear the hounds had moved to the next ridge. So, we skied down the mud slope to the bottom of the draw and started back up towards the sound of hounds going crazy. We were able to finally get below the dogs only to look up and see a lion in a 20' cedar with 3 dogs in the tree with her.
At that point, we did our best to climb the near vertical mud to the base of the tree. When we got there, Fred dug his heels in and started grabbing dogs. We were able to get all but one. He was still in the tree with the lion when Fred gave me the green light to shoot. I was able to make the 20 foot shot only to see the lion go straight down into the creek below that was full of mud.
We were able to get the hounds and ourselves down to the cat and end the hunt. In the end, the lion was a mud ball and the pictures do not look the best.
It still hasn't set in yet that I was able to take a hunt that has been a dream for many years. I have never looked at a picture or mounted lion without thinking I want to hunt them. Now, I can say I was fortunate enough to do it. Fred is a 1000% dedicated lion hunter. He worked very very hard to make the dreams a reality. I can't thank him enough. I also learned a lot on this trip. Winter travel in the mountains, sucks!! I also learned that I'm blessed to be able to chase my dreams and that my wife and family support me. It was probably one of the most mentally challenging experience of my life due to the weather and hours looking for a track.
Again, I know it was a rifle kill, but I wanted to share it because I learned about Fred from this site and a hunt like this is not about the actual kill but the process and running of the hounds.
Two of the hounds got smacked by the cat while up in the tree with her.
Congratulations! It's definitely all about the adventure rather than the kill (although nice) on a lion hunt!
You broke that rifle in well, congratulations.
Your out there doing it, smile on your face says it all... congratulations!
Congrats on a nice cat and a great time.
It's great to see someone fulfill a dream! I don't care how you killed it. Congratulations!
From one WI hunter to another, congratulations! Well done and your essay also was well done, enjoyed reading it. The rifle is now becoming a family heirloom, why don't you enclose a copy of it's history in it's gun case,...then add more stories downstream,...a few years from now you'll have a bona-fide family treasure!
Congrats Matthew - awesome cat & what reads as a super cool/rugged adventure. Many fond memories made. Thanks for sharing.
No problem with a rifle, good work. I did a hound bear hunt with my willed down grandpa's old 30-06 in WI in 2018. It's now known as the "bear gun". I don't regret it at all.
That is awesome, congrats on a great cat and thanks for sharing your hunt story with us!
Great story and it is hunts like that, you endure and have a successful outcome with a piece of family history makes it even better.
Thanks for sharing and a big congrats on a tough job!
I have said is before and I will say it again.......That is awesome!!!! Congrats.
Congratulations! Thanks for sharing. The .30-30 is a great round for that type of hunting.
Regardless of the weapon awesome hunt Congratulations and thanks for the write up.
Congrats on your success, Matt! Please share some more pics of your hunt, with us!
Cool story and awesome cat! I hope to getvto do the same hunt here very soon. If only the snow would cooperate in WY i would already be there. Your story just fuels the fire even more. Thanks for sharing.
Include pics of the 30 30. I had a lever action Winchester in the eighties but found it was not practical in WNY. Again, nice thread.
Congrats! That's a great story! Great to see another teacher hunting and making memories.
Very cool. Congratulations!
Here are a few random pictures from the trip.
Congratulations again Matt! Glad you posted the story.
Great pics! Holy cow! You weren’t kidding about your cat being a muddy mess!
Luckily, the bottom of the draw had snow in it and dragging it out helped clean it up.
That's awesome, congrats! I'm hoping to get one later this month.
Sure glad you got your dream cat ! It's a hunt you will never forget. I recognize a few of those places you took pics of. Good to know Fred's still getting it done. Jim
Congrats on an amazing adventure!
What a dang good read
Congrats! Fred and Cody are great guys!
Awesome recap and congratulations
From one teacher to another...good work. Its hard squeezing hunts into our schedule...if only we could hunt June - August
Nice cat and story, congratulations.
Great story, nice pics, nice that you used the 30-30.
Great adventure well done. That creek picture is amazing
Great cat and pics. Congrats!!!
Well done from another Badger!
Awesome. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful country. Looks like a blast.
Congrats pal. Ain’t nothing like it
Congratulations Matt! Like you, I gave all the credit to the hounds on my lion hunt as well. They are the real hunters when it comes to chasing cats. It's such an amazing experience to watch good dogs doing what they love to do!!
Can we see a picture of the rifle too? I have a Winchester 94 that my dad gave me. Not sure if it has ever been fired but someday it might knock a cat or a bear out of a tree.
Congrats on your lion and the adventure ! That’s some rugged country there, and I imagine you’re glad you started working out six months before the hunt. Enjoyed the story.
Congratulations sir. boy that lion could not of fallen into a nastier spot. Beautiful pictures, the clarity of them was fantastic.
Very nice, I'd love to see the rifle.