If you enjoy doing things the hard way, there is no Lion hunt like a Dry Ground Mountain Lion Hunt in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico or Utah's High Deserts. Your appreciation for what dry ground hounds can do is amazing. You may not even see Lion Scat or Track. Scent may seem undetectable without humidty, moisture or frost. The most impressive part for me is seeing the dogs change direction with no bearing of direction like you could get from a full or partial claw mark in the mud, sand or snow. As a guide or hunter, you may have nothing to identify to tell them which way to go.
Kenny Haught in Yarnell, Arizona is a fantastic Lion Guide. I purchased an outing with him at the Arizona Deer Association Banquet Auction. He knows his country and has a great understanding and knows how to read Lion habitat and sign in the High Desert extremely well. His horses are extremely well trained and sure footed. The dogs are bred based on instincts and behavior. There may be a few pure breeds mixed into the group, but his Hounds are HOUNDS.
The cat I am writing about had just killed and gorged on a skunk. Once stumbling accross the kill, the race was on. This area of High Desert had no trees for a Lion to perch into and was some very intense barbaric terrain. As pictured, the dogs cornered the Lion on a rock bluff. When the dogs got too close, the Tom got some very good whacks in with his claws. Several of the dogs had blood on their snouts from being scratched.
The best part of this hunt going down the way it did was the way I had to shoot the cat with my Remington Model 700, .22-250. We could not get in closer than 125 to 150 yards and had to shoot the cat from a sniper like position. The caliber of this gun was perfect for a tiny entrance hole and zero exit wound.
Packing the cat out was a unique experience in itself. Like I said earlier, it had just ate a skunk and it smelled just like one. I had to straddle the Lion across the front of my saddle ride a long way with it. My clothes had to be washed several times to get the stench out of it.
Kenny is fantastic company and any hunter can learn a lot with him. You'll typically ride in rough terrain on horseback for 2 or 3 days and see some of the most beautiful country Arizona has to offer. I look forward to a hunt he has planned for my wife in the next few weeks.
You can see some footage of this hunt on my YouTube page by searching regionalaz mountain lion arizona dry ground. Enjoy the pictures.