Bitterroot Hunter Bags First Lion
By Toby Trigger

Posted: December 31, 2016

It was a Monday and waking up early after a long Christmas weekend wasn’t in the cards.  Early in hound hunting terms usually means about the time most people go to bed on their day off.

It was one of those mornings where the trailer lights won’t work and snowmobiles need to be swapped and nothing seems to go smoothly.  My friend Harry and I loaded up two hounds into a dog box on the back of my pickup and headed out about 7 am.  It wasn’t planned that way but that’s how it goes sometimes.

Meanwhile our friend Wyatt and his hound Huckleberry were waiting for us 60 miles away.  In fact they had been waiting since about 4 am.  We felt a little bad but not too bad since he got to sleep in because of our inability to get our act together.

Harry headed one way on a machine and Wyatt and I on another.  Wyatt and I found a nice mule deer buck feeding along the road and a smoking fresh bobcat track.  Harry made his way through two drainages and found tracks from six different lions.  One female with three sub adults (confirmed by a biologist) a good sized tom track and another tom track even bigger.  The biggest tom track was in a different drainage and the tracks weren’t as fresh as the first tom he found.  We decided to run the freshest tom track but getting the hounds all the way up there would be a challenge.

In another stumbling series of getting ready we had to dig a dog box with sleigh out of a barn, and chisel the box out of the snow.  Hounds were pushed into it and off we all went on snowmobiles pulling hounds along a road for several miles.

By the time we let the hounds go it was nearly noon.  Not exactly the earliest we could have begun.  Wyatt had an annual alumni basketball game scheduled for 6 pm and was hoping to be back for that.  No pressure.

But all that fumbling around all morning didn’t matter when our GPS trackers showed the hound treed at just .60 miles.


Less than an hour later we found the pups chewing on the bark of the tree and bawling for all they are worth and Huckleberry sitting on the ground howling her victory.

Harry made a solid shot with an old 25 20 lever action Winchester that is well over 100 years old and the tom jumped out of the tree and made it about 50 yards before it was over.

Congrats to Harry Marvin for harvesting his first mountain lion.  We don’t have weights and skull measurements but as Harry said, “this lion isn’t light” and the tom is a fine representative.

And Wyatt made it home by 4 pm in plenty of time to play basketball. I guess some things are just meant to be.