“Hey, nice cat!” “Great job finding that track!” “Wow! Are you staying in that wall tent to keep a log book on lion and wolf patterns? That’s dedication!”
These are words you won’t likely hear from other houndsmen. In fact you won’t get a Montana wave from truck windows like you do in deer season.
The competition for a track heats up when there’s a general season and that sense of camaraderie goes out the window like a banana peel.
It isn’t that cat hunters aren’t excited to hunt in fact it’s doubtful that you’ll find a more dedicated group of outdoorsmen. They drive roads all night, hike canyons on snowshoes and go more hours without sleep than most people can stand. Now that I think about it, maybe cat hunters are ornery because they are always tired.
There are cat hunters who share freely with others and share their love of hounds and lions with others. Those who will help a new houndsman train pups, find tracks and teach others about the intricacies of hound hunting philosophy. But this type of houndsman is rare.
Meanwhile, big name animal rights groups have drawn an X across the back of lion hunters in Montana. Requests for lion data have flooded the Montana FWP in-boxes lately and legislation is being drafted in neighboring states to end this much needed activity.
So as we drive along lonely roads staring at tracks in headlights and isolating ourselves from one another, anti-hunters are rallying their troops. They are setting the stage to play out all they’ve rehearsed and the ending they’ve crafted in the story doesn’t involve a wave out the window or a pat on the back.
Maybe houndsmen just need more sleep, but then again, I hope we aren’t falling asleep at the wheel.