August Is For Velvet
I know a lot of people don’t care much for the month of August. But it has always been one of my favorite months. Mainly, because that’s when Utah’s archery mule deer season is. For my whole life, I have made it a point to get up in the mountains in August just to look at mule deer bucks. In recent years, I’ve added taking pictures of them to just looking.
Sadly, I have not been able to hunt with a bow in recent years. But that’s not what I want to talk about.
What I want to talk about, is the family camping trip we took last week. We loaded up the trailer, put the ATV in the back of the truck, tossed in lots of good food and a bunch of guns and all headed for one of our favorite camping spots.
We just relaxed, for the most part. Did a lot of plinking with .22 rifles and pistols, did a lot of cooking and eating. Did a lot of trail riding on the ATV. Did a lot of looking at beautiful scenery and plentiful wildlife. We saw very few other people and saw only one other camp which was about five miles from ours in all our moving about.
Here is a short time lapse video of the stars from camp that the picture above was taken from. Note – when it looks like daylight at the end of the video, that’s actually the moon rising and moonlight washing out the scene.
We had a blast!
In the evenings, we’d get in the truck and just drive around slowly, seeing what kind of wildlife we could see. We saw a lot! Mostly deer. But a few elk, including some nice bulls and one absolute MONSTER bull (which did not stick around long enough to get his picture taken…).
I took a lot of pictures of bucks!
Look, a Lion!
That’s exactly what I said to the kids when I spotted this cat. “Look! A lion!”
We were just driving around looking at deer and elk, seeing what we could see, hoping for a bear maybe.
Had a rifle onboard and an unused lion tag in my wallet.
Spotted him running through the oak brush, looked like maybe chasing a deer. After the kids spotted him my daughter started whistling at him and he stopped, turned and took a few strides our way. Then jumped up on a stump to get a better look at us over the oak brush. Sitting up proud and pretty at about 70 yards!
I let him go ha-ha! But not before taking his picture!
After using a Foxpro to try to call a lion into position for a shot like that last winter, without success, there just would not have been any satisfaction or joy in shooting this cooperative animal. Besides, the camera was closer than the rifle and this was probably a once in a lifetime photo opportunity. And if you want to get pictures of wildlife it’s bad karma to shoot the talent.
Have to share though, my daughter was pretty bummed that I let it go. She really, really wanted me to shoot it, ha-ha!
Maybe I’ll have better luck calling one in and getting a good shot at it this coming winter!
9 thoughts on “Velvety Goodness, with lion!”
Excellent pictures Dave!!! The lions paw on that stump really shows how thick they are. Very cool. In all the years out hunting, I still have not had the pleasure of having a lion up that close unless he was running away and all I see is his rear end. The deer pictures really got me going as muzzy season is right around the corner. Keep the stories and the pics coming, I really enjoy them!
That is definitely not something that happens very often! I have seen my share of mountain lion, including several that I have called in on accident on coyote stands. And one that followed me on foot for 45 minutes once when bowhunting deer. But to have one literally jump up and pose for a picture like that has to be once in a lifetime!
Excellent DAA! Anytime somebody says they saw a lion I want to hear the tale. Getting pictures? Well hell, that is like winning 10k in the lottery. I like your karma philosophy on shooting the subject even though we all buy a tag just in case the opportunity presents itself.
I’ve kinda rediscovered your site (forgot how well done it was) and plan on spending some evenings following along on your adventures. Keep getting the most out of life my friend. We all know it is too short.
Hey there DAA, Nice Camera Work,,,,, well, my take is,,,,,, that’s a young Cat, maybe 2-3 yrs. or so, as you well know, an older, more mature Cat would not have “Posed” like that, especially in Board Daylight,,,, I grew-up on my Grandfathers Ranch, NW Nevada, on the Calif. / Oregon Boarder, in the 50’s & 60’s, Sheldon Antelope Range, High Desert Country Area,,,, Dropped my 1st Cat, Pretty Good Size Tom, @ 13, Circa… 1963, with my Win. 25-35 Saddle Gun, anyway, as I’ve said, I like your Style.
Take Care, and be Safe;
Thank you Brad, I appreciate that!
Another guy with lots of mountain lion experience pointed out the mottling on the shins as a sure sign of a young cat too. He figured less than 2 years old. I think you guys are spot on with that.
Hope I can get the time to get out and call one in this winter!
DAA,,,, yea, hope you get that chance, back a few yr’s ago, Mid-90’s, while Hunting Elk in the Selway-Bitteroot, my buddy and I were about 100yds or so apart on this ridge, both had different views,,,, but we could keep each other in sight somewhat, I was backed into an old burn out at the base of that large Pondorosa Pine,,,, kind of a Cubby if you will,,,, anyway I was working that Cow call pretty good, thew in a few Calf Mews-Chrips,,, after about 30-40 mins of calling, a “BIG” Tom came “Slinking–in”,,,,,, and I mean right on his “Belly”, or so it appeared anyway, the Wind was just right, coming up, over and across that Ridge to our left as we were sitting, we let him get with-in about 10yds, then I moved my foot & leg, he looked right at me, and realized what he had done,,,, and I swear, he jumped 10′ straight-up in the air, and dove of that Ridge in a milla-sec, and yea,,,, I always have my S&W 629 Mtn. Gun with me, in my chest-rig,,,,, and I was ready to draw, if needed. My buddy couldn’t really see what was going on, until that Cat jumped up in the Air,,,, it all happened pretty “Quick”, less than a min. or so,,,,, needless to say, the “Adrenalin” was pumping for sure.
Dang, just saw this! Awsome as usual Dave. Great pics…and your kids have fine taste in weaponry!
Sometimes, you just look, think, “what a beautiful animal” and don’t touch a rifle. Happens more often every year, in my life.
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