I went out one last time to see if I could call a coyote in and catch him or at least get a good race. After terrible windy weather for a week straight, I was ready to get out and let the dogs run. I saddled up a horse and loaded him and Joe, Rat, Bones and Poke in the trailer and took off.
They had been flying a helicopter and killing a lot of coyotes on some of the ranches I usually go to, so I went a different direction to an area that I had been by a few times but had never really rode and hunted.
I drove up to a place where I knew there was a gate and started off. I like to ride in a ways before I start calling, so I went in about 2 miles and came up on a dirt tank that actually had water in it. This was the first of a series of tanks that I called from, with all of them having water - which is rare due to the drought we have been in.
After 3 stands and nothing showing up, I had just about decided to make a circle and head back to the truck. The dogs were sure ready to run something and they kept watching and checking the wind. I rode up and got the call and started for the next tank. When I got to the tank I saw some tracks in the mud - they were kind of smeared but definitely lion. About that time Joe stuck his nose in the air and took off with all the other dogs following. They ran up in some thick brush and Poke took the lead and I seen the dust that is typical when they trip and turn a coyote. Well I took off after them following the dust trail. As I was riding up Bones came back but I could hear the fight so I knew they had one down. As I came up on them I heard a noise that I had never heard before. I rode up to an awful fight. Joe had her by the throat, Rat had hold of her belly and Poke had hold of the flank. I looked on in disbelief... at first I thought it was huge bobcat until I seen the tail and then I realized that they had caught a lion. I sat on my horse and watched for a while until the lion got loose from Joe and flipped him over and grabbed at him with her paws. She missed and he got another grip on her neck but I knew I had to help or risk loosing one of my dogs. I stepped off my horse took my pistol and waded in. I didn't want to shoot one of my dogs so I had to get close. I stuck the barrel within a couple inches of her head and shot.
It didn’t kill her but took enough out of her that she quit fighting as bad. The shot startled Poke and Rat and they let go. Joe never gave up his grip on her throat. I shot her again and this time it did the trick. Joe didn’t let go for a while - he wanted to make sure for himself she was dead.
All in all for catching a lion on the ground the dogs didn’t get hurt that bad. Joe had some scratches on the back of his head and one close to his eye and he is missing more teeth, now 2 canines on top and one on bottom. Rat had his ear split in two and a small hole in the back of his head. The lion was a small female, probably a juvenile, maybe a yearling. She felt like she weighed around 65lbs. If she had been any bigger I think I might have some dead dogs. If they would have put her in a tree I would have just taken some pictures and gone on, but as it was I didn’t have much of a choice.