Carbon Express Arrows
notags semi live lion hunt ( possibly)
Arizona
Contributors to this thread:
notags 07-Mar-17
elktrax 08-Mar-17
StickFlicker 08-Mar-17
Lv2hnt 08-Mar-17
Junior 08-Mar-17
notags 08-Mar-17
Scar Finga 09-Mar-17
Knothead 09-Mar-17
notags 10-Mar-17
bowbender77 10-Mar-17
notags 10-Mar-17
notags 10-Mar-17
notags 11-Mar-17
notags 11-Mar-17
notags 11-Mar-17
AZBUGLER 12-Mar-17
notags 13-Mar-17
notags 13-Mar-17
notags 14-Mar-17
AZBUGLER 14-Mar-17
notags 14-Mar-17
notags 15-Mar-17
notags 15-Mar-17
StickFlicker 15-Mar-17
notags 15-Mar-17
notags 15-Mar-17
notags 15-Mar-17
notags 15-Mar-17
AZBUGLER 16-Mar-17
Scar Finga 16-Mar-17
bowbender77 16-Mar-17
notags 16-Mar-17
StickFlicker 17-Mar-17
GaryB@Home 18-Mar-17
From: notags
07-Mar-17
Okay, we are all bored and waiting for the credit card hits in another two weeks or so , maybe I can liven this up.

As my handle states, I don't draw tags very often, but I have been blessed with some great tags , and definitely two that most would consider once in a lifetime. I drew my desert ram tag in 2008, and then my bison in 2014. I also drew my 4th AZ antelope tag in 14 , the first two were archery in the early 80's when I was fast and bows were slow. The third was a gun tag in 2001 when I was knee deep in building my own house, and after three days of hunting I was required to return home to handle some issues and never returned to the hunt. The 2014 was a muzzleloader tag, and I finally killed my first antelope in Arizona, although I had tagged out in several other states. The goat was number 9 in my Arizona 10 . And yes I know that there are now actually 13 separate big game species in the state.

Long story short, I am a lion short of my "Arizona Big Ten", which used to be an actual thing with AZGF. I think they refer to it as something else now, I couldn't find it on the website. I moved to AZ at the age of 8, and a friend of my Dads' had just completed the Big Ten . He had a plaque/poster on his wall from GF and all the animals mounted. I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen or heard of, having moved from Missouri where only turkeys were big game in 1970, although now whitetail are like rabbits there .

So, here I am today. Now I am slow and bows are fast. I qualify for the AARP membership, I can now live in Sun City where I have had my business for 21 years. My lower back is shot, but my heart is strong, and based upon what I am embarking on, my wife will argue my mind is shot as well. I leave Thursday after work for a five day horseback mountain lion hunt in southern Arizona. I have struggled after having shoulder surgery on my left side result in an 8 month recovery in 2015, to return to shooting my bow. I actually changed bows to the Mathews no cam and dropped my draw weight to 63 from 73. I am shooting well, and pain free. A year ago I was convinced my archery days were over.

My goal is to use my bow to hunt this trip, but I have heard some mixed reports about spending the day on horseback with a bow strapped to your side. The guy I am hunting with said his last hunter made it a day shlepping the bow and went to rifle (aka scabbard). I hope I am made of harder metal and don't cave. I plan to do what it takes to tie the bow on either myself or the hay burner.

I guess I can no longer use the " long story short" comment since I have been long winded here, but , IF I have cell reception in camp, and IF I am smart enough to use my iPad to post pics from my Iphone throughout the hunt, and IF I can handle the saddle time with my bow, I hope to make this something to break up the monotony of the next two weeks. Oh yea, I also hope to kill a lion with my bow, and turn a kid's dream that turned into an older (not old) guy's bucket list dream, into a reality. Stay tuned………...

From: elktrax
08-Mar-17
Great read Dave.. I will be praying for your safety and your bow kill.. Have a blast..

From: StickFlicker
08-Mar-17
Good luck Dave! I'm a buffalo short of my Big 10. While 27 points turned out to be enough for Desert Sheep, it wasn't enough this year for Buffalo....

From: Lv2hnt
08-Mar-17
You're bound to have a GREAT time, 'tho your keister might get a bit sore from the saddle! I've loved every day chasing the hounds (my legs, not so much). Take LOTS of pics --- can't wait to hear about your hunt!

From: Junior
08-Mar-17
Cool, this will be fun! You got any snow?

From: notags
08-Mar-17
The truck is loaded, I have checked everything off of my list of things I think I may need. I have "Anti Monkey Butt" powder packed, a back brace, my portable TENS unit, and a butt load of Ibuprofen. I have been in Butt Camp, no not Boot Camp as everyone wants to correct me, for 6 weeks riding my mountain bike with the most hateful seat known to man. My wife asked why I didn't put the gel pad on, I told her it defeats the purpose.

I talked to my guy with the hounds and horses tonite, camp is set up. They killed a big tom two days ago that was a lion kill call from a local rancher. His pictures and videos only made me more excited. I shot my broad heads tonite , having dropped from the 73 lbs to 63 I have switched to fixed blade. The Slicktricks shoot like my field points. As some like to say, one day and a wake up. Work is gonna DRAG tomorrow!

From: Scar Finga
09-Mar-17
Good Luck Notags!

Bicycle shorts while riding the horse help in a huge way!! Less Chaffing! Get some today, buy two pair and alternate them day to day. Good Luck and keep us posted,

Scar.

From: Knothead
09-Mar-17
Good Luck Dave. I look forward to the pics and story.

From: notags
10-Mar-17
Day one, up at five saddling horses , and loading dogs. Started at Arivaca lake , and hunted the canyon country behind it. Beatiful, but rough. We rode horses where I would not have thought that you could take a horse. The dogs lit up an hour into it, but like humans, there are some dogs that lie. The guys I am hunting with have about 15 dogs here, and the two that never " cry wolf " never barked lion. Got me excited though. It was almost cold when we headed out,but once the sun hit the canyon bottoms that changed quick. The area looked like great lion country to a novice like me, and Clayton told me out of eleven loops through this area they have hit tracks eight times. Perfect, let's make it 12!

It got hotter . I was surprised that we had seen only one coues doe driving into the lake. Saw a coati, found an Good Samaritan station for illegals, cans of beans with pull tops and gallons of water. This is in the middle of nowhere , no roads remotely close. Who hauls this stuff out there?

Finally jumped some coues, had one spook from her bed by the lead horse and run right at me and vear off at 20 yards. Up close and personal!

6 hours later it's hot, the horses are dragging , the dogs keep hitting canyon water pockets and cooling off. I thought about joining them. We ended up at the truck and trailer . It was 91 in Sahaurita . No wonder it felt hot .

I took Scar Fingas advice and bought a pair of bike shorts on my way out of town. Target had one pair my size. I think they helped, but I do have a blister on my ass. Never had to put moleskin there before, but will in the am. Found some shade , and ready for a power nap. Perhaps tomorrow we'll catch one. I am hoping for a mature cat, but will be thrilled to tree one of any size for the first time. We came up with a scabbard for the bow, but the brush keeps knocking arrows loose from the quiver, and I will probably be due for new string and cable after this. More to come.....

From: bowbender77
10-Mar-17
Best of luck on your quest Dave. Hope you arrow a BIG pumpkinhead tom.

From: notags
10-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo

From: notags
10-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo

From: notags
11-Mar-17
Day two, up at 3:30 loaded up and on the road before 5. Headed into the Sanra Rita's . An hour out and we got a call of a fresh track about 5 miles away. It took us almost two .hours to get there. Lion killed javelina. Dogs started baying , and I felt this was it! Dogs kept going up the canyon and we followed. . We had 8 dogs all over but none sounding committed . Tracks went cold up high, we found tracks going up and tracks going down. Which way did the tom go?

We headed down low into a big canyon and the dogs lit up again, unfortunately they were spread out, and none seemed to be lined out on the track. Finally got too hot and the dogs gave up.

We did see two nice coues Bucks running together, one around 105", the other upper 90's both hard horned and running together. Where are they during deer season? Also a big herd of pigs. Lots of lion food...'where's the cats?

Got two calls on fresh tracks and a sighting of three lions together, trying to decide where to head tomorrow The lion gurus figure the three are a female with two sub adults. Moleskin on the butt helped, almost felt like I was adjusting to the saddle today, but then it dawned on me we only covered half of what we did yesterday and in way easier terrain. I guess I best not get too cocky. Figured out that putting my Primos sling on the bow string and cable before putting it in the scabbard would protect cams and string. That worked out pretty smooth today.

Sounds like we may head towards Patagonia tomorrow, I guess that means we'll be up at 3:00 ..... The nights are getting shorter. I slept like a dead man last night, I imagine tonite will be the same. The dogs are fed and already sacked out. It will be an early dinner and as close to lights out as we can get with the full moon. There seems to be no shortage of lion in southern Arizona these days, just need to hit some fresh tracks... Confidence is high!

From: notags
11-Mar-17
Day two, up at 3:30 loaded up and on the road before 5. Headed into the Sanra Rita's . An hour out and we got a call of a fresh track about 5 miles away. It took us almost two .hours to get there. Lion killed javelina. Dogs started baying , and I felt this was it! Dogs kept going up the canyon and we followed. . We had 8 dogs all over but none sounding committed . Tracks went cold up high, we found tracks going up and tracks going down. Which way did the tom go?

We headed down low into a big canyon and the dogs lit up again, unfortunately they were spread out, and none seemed to be lined out on the track. Finally got too hot and the dogs gave up.

We did see two nice coues Bucks running together, one around 105", the other upper 90's both hard horned and running together. Where are they during deer season? Also a big herd of pigs. Lots of lion food...'where's the cats?

Got two calls on fresh tracks and a sighting of three lions together, trying to decide where to head tomorrow The lion gurus figure the three are a female with two sub adults. Moleskin on the butt helped, almost felt like I was adjusting to the saddle today, but then it dawned on me we only covered half of what we did yesterday and in way easier terrain. I guess I best not get too cocky. Figured out that putting my Primos sling on the bow string and cable before putting it in the scabbard would protect cams and string. That worked out pretty smooth today.

Sounds like we may head towards Patagonia tomorrow, I guess that means we'll be up at 3:00 ..... The nights are getting shorter. I slept like a dead man last night, I imagine tonite will be the same. The dogs are fed and already sacked out. It will be an early dinner and as close to lights out as we can get with the full moon. There seems to be no shortage of lion in southern Arizona these days, just need to hit some fresh tracks... Confidence is high!

From: notags
11-Mar-17
Sorry about the double posting, not sure what's up there

From: AZBUGLER
12-Mar-17
Dave this is so cool! Bucket list hunt for sure. Now that I'm all caught up, go Get em!

From: notags
13-Mar-17
addendum from day two, remember: when you put moleskin on a blister( which was caused by the belt for the chaps between my tailbone and saddle) it is stuck on the blister. I noticed as I went to bed that it was peeling so I decide to remove it an apply fresh in the morning. Bad idea, it ripped the blister clean off. I felt like the kid in Home alone when he hits his face with after shave. AAAAHHHH! I slept on my side last night.

From: notags
13-Mar-17
Day three. Up at 3:00, Really who gets up that early? No coffee, we are gonna hit a truck stop in Rio Rico for gas and coffee then. Horses loaded and dogs as well . In spite of the grogginess in my head and the fire on my butt, I have a feeling. A good one, today somethings gonna happen.

Coffee, and on to the Patagonias. Hit the area at daylight, trying to get going before it gets hot. It was 91 in Sahuarita on Friday, a little cooler yesterday. The altitude in Patagonia makes it feel cool. I have gloves on , and with my reduced follicle coverage on my head, a beanie too. I had hunted this unit years ago once for Coues, and didn't come back due to how thick it is. Its the same now, but absolutely beautiful country. Around 9:00 am, after over three hours of cruising the canyons and ridges of the Patagonia Mountains, we stopped the horses to take a break before crossing another canyon. As the dogs dropped off the mining road above us, one lit up! Then all hit the area and went ballistic. I have never hunted with hounds, and for those who haven't, one dog bays, a lot of the other will. Its the " old vets" that these guys rely on for a lion track confirmation. That dog was the one who hit the track. All dogs jumped in baying, my guys were trying to figure which way the lion went, up was hideous, down was better, but barely. The decision was made when all 9 dogs lined out down hill for the canyon bottom. And up the other side. And over. Mad rush down the mining road trying to intersect the canyon bottom they went into. Its one thing to ride a horse with a sore blister on your backside, Its torture when the all horses are trotting, and galloping. I kept trying to block the pain in my ass with the end game. It worked. Btw , I was given spurs this morning for the first time. I think my guides had the same feeling that I did first thing. I was strongly encouraged to use the spurs to keep up. The dogs were over a mile away and in another canyon. Damn, will this cat ever go up a tree or something?………….

From: notags
14-Mar-17
We stopped on a ridge, the guides looked at their trackers. "I"m showing treed, what do you have?" "Same". We had 9 dogs out their, both of these guys have their own dogs that they hunt together. Those were magic words, but what I didn't know was the pace before was a warm up. " We got gotta go, now!" The dogs were 700 yards away on the back of a BIG mountain, we were going around it. We came to a steep part of the hill and the lead guy jumps off his horse with the reigns and jumps off the hill, and its almost vertical. He starts sliding, his horse follows and it starts sliding. He's yelling at me "come on Dave, get your ass down here!" I looked down and thought" are they nuts?". I hear again" get your ass down here"! Okey Dokey. I follow and hear an avalanche above me as my horse starts sliding down the hill after me. All I could think of is please don't let me stop suddenly. I hit the bottom running to clear the horse behind me. I look up and my guide is saddled and headed up the canyon yelling at me to get on and stay with him. Easy for him to say. As we cleared the bend in the canyon I can hear the hounds baying like crazy, its a cool sound to hear echoing off the mountains………..

From: AZBUGLER
14-Mar-17
Awesome!!!

From: notags
14-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo
We rode the horses out of the bottom following a finger ridge that paralleled the hill the dogs were on. The sound was incredible, the dogs were going ballistic and the whole canyon echoed. When we got around 100 yds from where they seemed to be, we tied the horses. "Dump your chaps and spurs, and get your bow ready" was the command. Issue, My release is in a saddle bag on the horses behind us.. they are not in sight. Finally the other two guys come out of the canyon, I grab my release and strap it on as they tie their horses, we started moving up to the riot. We find a dog down in the grass. I thought it was dead. Upon closer look it isn't from the lion, the dog collapsed from the heat and exhaustion. She's still breathing. One of the guides sprints back to the horses for a water bottle and we move the dog into the shade. I am a dog lover, I choked up big time when I had to take my last lab in to be put down. I ask the guide is she gonna be ok? Maybe is the reply. Shit.

We move up and encounter pandemonium. I knock an arrow in case we have a jumper. The guides had told me if the lion jumps when it see us, one of two things will happen, the game starts all over, or the dogs get it and may kill the lion and the lion may kill some dogs. No pressure. I got my first glimpse of a treed lion.

From: notags
15-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo

From: notags
15-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo
This was where it all came together, sorry, should have posted earlier.

From: StickFlicker
15-Mar-17
Thanks for taking us with you Dave!

From: notags
15-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo

From: notags
15-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo
I don't know why photos keep going sideways, try again.

From: notags
15-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo
We got up to the dogs and cat, and the noise was amazing, I could hardly hear the lion snarling at the dogs over their noise. It looked like the lion didn't even notice us, it was hating that pack of devil dogs that had run it up the tree. We were grabbing photos and video, unfortunately either my computer or I am stupid, I cannot move video off the hard drive or I would post it here. I had loaded my arrows with Nocturnals so they would show clearly on the shot, and I wanted to try to video it. I had set the bow down with the arrow knocked on the string, and was setting my camera to video to pass to one of the guides, when one says, "Dave its gonna jump, you need to shoot now!" I looked up, and the lion was getting lower in there tree, I threw my camera down, grabbed the bow, snapped on the release and drew. As I swung the bow up my left arm relaxed slightly and the bow started coming down. I pulled back hard, too hard I guess, and watched the arrow fall off the string. Perfect. I grabbed the arrow and noticed one vane was peeled from the front halfway back . The bushes and tree limbs had taken a toll on it. I tossed it aside, and grabbed another arrow from the quiver when I heard Brian say, " Shoot that lion now!" I looked up and one dog was looking like he was going up the tree, and the cat was not sitting still. I grabbed the pistol and and cocked the hammer as the sights settled on the chest and fired. The cat lept back up the tree to another branch, I cocked the hammer and was starting to fire again when Clayton said, " Dave don't... it s done". The cat fell from the tree and the dogs were on it fast. It was stone dead when it hit. I was concerned with all the dogs chewing on it, but they said it was their reward, my taxidermist makes the big bucks for a reason. A few teeth holes can be repaired.

Sorry to drag you all the way here and it not be a bow kill at the very end, but I was not going to be the guy who screwed up and ended up with hurt dogs. My goal was to take it with my bow, but foremost my goal was to have a memorable hunt and hopefully tag a lion. Nothing is a guarantee. The guide confided in me that day he was concerned that we would not catch a lion with the heat, and that would have been their first time of not finding one for a hunter. They are good. Honestly, after the mad race on horses on day three, I don't know if I would have had it in me to get on a horse on day four. As it was we had one dog in bad shape. She got to ride out across the saddle, not much more life in her than my lion on the other horse. We were a long, long way from the truck, All the water we had went to the dogs, there was none left for us humans. The dogs were all hurting, we had to stop for over an hour in the shade to let them recover. The area where we found the lion was bone dry, I guess there is normally water pools in all the canyon bottoms, but not this time. By the time we found some water all were in need. Horses, dogs, one of the guides drank from the pool we found. Not me. I would rather die of thirst than have giardia again… once is more than enough. The good news is the dog that had gone down, was back on her feet after the hour break, but she and and a couple others got IV's when we got back. These guys have all that stuff to keep the dogs healthy. It was around four hours after I shot the lion that we made the truck and trailer, cold water had never tasted so good. We had found a livestock tank and dunked all the dogs in it to cool off, hounds don't seem to much like being in water, unlike my labs. However they do like to drink it. I had come close to canceling this hunt due to my back being blown up for over two months , but the Monday before I was to leave I woke up and things had gone back to good. For that I am thankful. All the riding didn't bother it, my butt is another matter. This was without a doubt the coolest experience I have had hunting, I felt like I knew what it was to ride the range in the old days, seeing areas with no roads, although lots of immigrant and smuggler trails. If anyone has a goal to go on a lion hunt, this is a cool way to do it. Riding around in a truck after snow hoping to see some tracks where a lion crossed the road really didn't excite me, When I heard horseback in southern AZ., I was hooked.

I hope this broke up the last week before the draw for whoever read my ramblings. Come on Card Hits!

From: notags
15-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo
water finally

From: AZBUGLER
16-Mar-17
Very very cool! Congrats buddy! Way to go.

From: Scar Finga
16-Mar-17
Excellent Story and Congratulation on the Kitty:) Believe me, you would have been in way worse condition if you hadn't worn the shorts! Glad the pup recovered, heat stress for dogs is bad, bad, bad, and horrible to watch!

God Bless and good luck in the draw!

You need to get a "life-straw" weighs nothing, can fit in a cargo pocket and is an absolute life saver in the desert!!!!

Scar.

From: bowbender77
16-Mar-17
Good job Dave. Thanks for sharing your adventure and good luck on the draw.

From: notags
16-Mar-17

notags's embedded Photo
notags's embedded Photo
I cooked the" lion loins" last night, kinda sounds like something you would buy at Castle Mega Adult store when I put it that way… my wife was skeptical, said she had never eaten a carnivore before. I am here to tell you that lion is the bomb! She had no problem with hers, she asked how much meat I would get from it, and whether its something I can hunt every year. That's a big yes and no, I really don't want to tell her what a hunt with dogs costs….. Maybe one day I will be that guy who glasses one up deer or pig hunting.

From: StickFlicker
17-Mar-17
Congratulations Dave!

From: GaryB@Home
18-Mar-17
Congrats, in my opinion Lion is the best game meat.

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