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Paul's Mountain Lion

By Paul Askew

This year’s spring bear season was starting slow. I took a week vacation from work to spend in the bear woods with my friend Nate from Ohio. I hunted with Nate back in 2007 where he put me on a nice public land buck, so I decided to take him to a couple of spots that were recommended by my friend Rick D. as well as the long narrow clear cut where I killed my bear in spring of 2009. Once again, there was plenty of bear sign in the SW.

The weather was not what I consider the best bear hunting weather with Saturday, May 8th cloudy and Sunday cloudy with Pauls Mountain Lionshowers. It was slow Sunday until I received a text from Nate that he heard a twig snap, looked back, and there was a lion 12 feet from him and ready to pounce before he jumped up and started yelling and chasing the lion away. I was at the opposite end of the cut, which is about a half mile away and had no clue.

Nate was rattled. I called his cell phone and asked him if he wanted to continue glassing alone or if he wanted me to walk down and glass with him. He said he would be fine, so I left him alone. I did walk down to another vantage point in the middle of the cut where I checked on him frequently. He was obviously concerned because he kept looking over his shoulder quite often. I started doing the same.

Monday looked to be real poor weather with rain in the forecast, so we decided to wait until Tuesday, May 11th to hit it again. We headed back to the same cut where Nate had the lion incident, and where I killed my bear the previous year. There was fresh bear sign all along the 4 mile walk into that cut. The weather was partly cloudy with some real nice sun breaks and our hopes were high. This was the best weather yet out of our 4 days afield.

Once again, we took up our posts in the clear cut. I sat where my friend Chris Dunlap had glassed my bear last year, which is about the middle of the long narrow cut and has some of the best vantage points. Nate was down at the very end where he could glass back up into the bottom and where he had the lion encounter.

We were in the cut by 4:00 pm and every now and then I would walk up the hill to what I call the door way to the cut. It is where we enter the cut. The walk in is all 15 to 20 year old reprod and resembles a hallway or corridor, so when you enter the cut it is like walking through a doorway into the open.

With only deer sightings by 8:00 pm, I was trying to be optimistic. Because Nate’s cell battery was dead, if I spotted a bear, I would wave my hunter orange vest to get his attention, which meant get up here fast. Well, I glassed up to the doorway of the cut, which is about 450 yards from where I was setting. I saw something sitting off the road over looking the clear cut and thought it was a coyote, so I waved the flag at Nate thinking he may want to shoot the coyote.

I glassed back up and then realized that it was the lion. My adrenalin went into overdrive. I am a Bowhunter and don’t like long shots with rifles, because to be honest, I don’t shoot a lot. I waited for Nate to get over to me while I monitored the lion’s activity. The lion started making its way down the road toward me, but was still a long way out. By the time Nate got to me, the lion had walked the road toward me and cut about 150 yards. I had to go up hill on the road to keep a vantage point where I could see the lion. Nate caught up to me in time to see the lion before it went into a valley on the road and out of sight. Now the lion is within 150 yards, but I don’t know where it is.

Thoughts are racing through my mind. I don’t know if the lion stayed in the valley on the road or if it continued my direction. I decided to continue up the road one short step at a time. There was a flat between me and the lion, so I decided to cut the distance a bit and then just stand there and wait. I was a bit Pauls Mountain liondownhill from where the road made a slight bend on the flat, so my vision was limited to about 25 yards. Nate was behind me about 20 feet and had a better angle of the flat and could see through some of the brush on the road side. Nate whispered, there it is. I said, where, and Nate said, in the road. At that very second I caught the movement through a small amount of brush on the side of the road and was then face to face with the Lion at 25 yards.

The lion saw me and paused. With adrenaline in over drive, I almost made a hasty shot, but with the seriousness of the situation, I was able to calm my self and settle the crosshairs on the chest and squeezed through he shot. The lion disappeared out of sight, so I ran a few yards to where I could see the lion struggling and put another round in it. The Savage 270 a with Remington Core Lokt 150 grain bullets; made for a humane kill.

After observing the lion for a minute or two to ensure it was dead, I just looked at this beautiful creature in awe. Pictures and mounts, just don’t exemplify how magnificent lions are in real life. After settling down a bit, we took several photos. I wish I had set up the tripod for a group photo of Nate and myself at the time, but didn’t.

I called my taxidermist Tim Tuttle at Creative Taxidermy for advice. He asked if I could take the lion out whole. Although it would be difficult, I told him I could. I found a dead tree for a pole and was just going to tie the legs together and slide the pole through, but Nate had a much better idea. Nate told me we could make a stretcher with poles and t-shirts.

We found 2 dead trees that were the same size and de-limbed them. Nate sat the poles side by side and then shoved a pole through each of the arm holes like we do when we are putting a shirt on (see picture below). About half way out, Nate said he needed a picture of this stretcher, so I set up my small tripod, and we got a good photo.

The 105 pound female lion was much easier to carry out this way. A 5 hour energy drink complemented the crazy adrenalin that I had rolling through my body from the harvest, and we did the 4 mile hike out in just under 2 hours. We made it to Creative Taxidermy in Newberg by 3:30 AM where Tim Tuttle weighed and then skinned out the lion.

All in all, it was a great hunt. I feel blessed to have harvested such a fine specimen and plan to honor the animal with a life size Pauls Mountain Lionmount. Although Nate had to leave the next day, he still had a great time and plans to return next year, and I look forward to spending more time in the woods with him them. Steaks and pepperoni are in my future.

As a side note, between May of 2009 and May of 2010, I have spent 7 days afield in this area. I saw 2 bears and 2 cougars in 
those 7 days afield. Chris Dunlap harvested 1 bear and I harvested the other bear as well as this cougar. I am thinking there are a lot of lions in the SW region of Oregon.