I went on a mountain lion hunt in February 2009 with Mike Root, longtime NRA member and lion guide extraordinaire. The hunt started out in the lower elevations of southwestern New Mexico. We spent two days hunting off of mules, watching well-honed dogs work the extremely dry ground without much luck. Then we moved camp to the high country wilderness of the Black Range. The going was tough since the U.S. Forest Service has not cleared the public trails in years.
We made it to the Continental Divide with no big wrecks, just a lot off cussing and a few drops of sweat. The dogs hit on tracks a few times but were not able to take off on anything fresh. While working north along the divide, the dogs took off on a hot set of tracks. Within a few short minutes the dogs had treed a large tom bobcat that had been feeding on a mule deer buck-lion kill. This gave the dogs a shot of enthusiasm. The next day the dogs came upon another deer, also a lion kill, but were not able to take off on the week-old tracks.
After spending four days at 10,000 feet with snow above our stirrups and blown down trees blocking the trail, we dropped off of the divide and stayed at a camp with running water and ate some of the best flapjacks I have ever had. With Mike in the lead, we started working the ridges and canyons that feed off of the divide. We saw a lot of beautiful rough country and plenty of elk, whitetail deer and mule deer. We watched the dogs work daylight to dark hitting on anything hot in the bone-dry country. On the tenth day of the hunt, we were working a ridge due east of where we found the second lion kill when all the dogs sounded off, and the race was on. Because we were not able to take the same route as the dogs, it took an hour to cross the canyon. With a 40 to 50 mile per hour wind blowing, we could not hear the dogs. They had a head start and were in a canyon that had not had a trail cleared in years. With a little luck, Mike got us caught up to the dogs, which had treed a big tom.
I have to say this was the best hunt I have ever been on! A little tough at times, but Mike was always telling jokes and stories from years of hunting. This is an outstanding hunt and value. The big tom I took will be on the wall for years to come, giving me a smile each time I see it!
Mike and Mary Root
HC Box 35
Cuchillo, NM 87901
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