Cool Story, Big Adventure – Shikarcamp Blog
March 27, 2012
I haven’t linked out to any new blogs in a while. True, I’ve hardly had time to spend reading the blogs I already link to. But I still pop around from time to time to see what everyone’s up to.
It was while doing some of this “popping ’round” that I caught up a bit on the Suburban Bushwacker’s site. As always, good stuff to read there (sorry, Sten, I didn’t leave any comments). One of the posts was an introduction to “Shooter”, a UK resident of Indian descent who apparently does quite a bit of hunting. Shooter’s blog is Shikarcamp (Shikars are Indian hunter/trappers). It’s still fairly new, but it did have some real promise. The writing is good, the humor often subtle, and the stories were fresh. One I found of particular interest and timeliness was his account of a mountain lion hunt in the Utah wilderness, The Lion of Zion.
In light of the recent Dan Richards controversy, this story should challenge the preconceptions of anyone who thinks hunting lions with hounds is a simple matter of sitting in the truck drinking a beer, while the dogs tree the lion. Then you just walk over to the tree and shoot the cat. It’s not generally like that, as this tale will tell. Hre are a couple of snippets, but you really should take the time to read the whole thing.
This was getting nowhere. I told Jake that I didn’t want to shoot the lion. I told him to take the shot and keep the lion. I would return to the UK, get fit and come again.
“You will do it” said Jake. “You have come here all the way from the UK investing so much time and money. It’s your lion and no one else is going to shoot it but you. Just think if you can’t get this one, you will have to do the same thing tomorrow.”
That did it. There was NO way I could have done a similar trek the next day or even for the next week. He was right; it had to be done today. I realised one way of saving on walking and running was to roll down hill. The knee high snow would cushion my fall and I could cover half the way really fast.
I knew from my antics in the hill stations that rolling down on snow covered slopes deposits snow in ones backside but since I was wearing bibs and parka, I wasn’t worried about that. So off I went but what happened was that my trouser legs tucked into my boots became un-tucked and snow went into my boots from the top. This small inconvenience, ignored then was going to have a bearing on the later part of my story.
I again crossed the river and started the climb uphill. This time the slope wasn’t very steep and I tried to press the pace as much as my weak body would allow. I finally reached where Jake stood ready with the rifle. I took the rifle and was just looking into the scope when the lion jumped again!
I knew this was all the punishment that my body could take. I sank to my knees, my face in my hands.
“No matter what what you do, do not fall asleep, otherwise you could freeze to death. I will come back to rescue you. I just need to find a way of getting back”
“In case you can’t make it by the morning, my passport and driving license will have the contact details for my family”. I said.
“Don’t be ridiculous. Just keep the fire alive. Do NOT let it die. I will come as soon as I can.”
It’s a hell of a story, and having followed the hounds for hogs and for bears, I know the physical effort it can take… even on relatively flat ground. Sure, the final act of shooting a treed or bayed animal is simple. But getting the animal to bay, and then getting to it for the shot… there’s the challenge. Of course hound hunting still isn’t for everyone, but it’s a disservice to the folks who are passionate about this sport to write it off as “lazy” or “easy.”
Oh, and one more aside that I can’t help but offer… note in the story that after the kill, when they process the animal they take the MEAT as well as the skin. People DO eat mountain lion.