Thanks for tuning into KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle and let me introduce you to a few people. We’ve got Jeff Hosek from Henry S. Day Ford in West Valley. Nice to be here Adam. Good to have you. We’ve got Bret Wonnacott, Brooks Hansen from Camp Chef and Bret we are hunting something today, we really haven’t…I’ve never done a show on and I’ve only seen them. Man I’m so excited. I used to hunt these birds all the time so to actually getting an opportunity to go chase them again, I’m really excited. These birds are so much fun. They are my favorite partridge for sure. We are going after huns. Hungarian Partridge yes.
Well the dogs are rearing to go. I think we better get going. They are about to jump out of the crates. Let’s do this.
Alright get the old Stevens out. Adam I know you like your old Stevens. Dude I love this thing. It’s from like… My dad gave me this gun and it’s probably from the late 70’s early 80’s. That’s awesome. That’s a memory there. Yea. Why don’t you try this new Steven’s 555. It’s a brand new gun. I want you to give it, kind of christen it. That’s a Stevens? That’s a new Stevens. You’ve got the old Stevens side by side and the new Stevens over, under. Oh cool. 12 gauge.
I’ll try it. If I miss I’m blaming you!
They are similar to a chukar, little smaller in size. They are in coveys, they are a covey bird. I really enjoy hunting them because the covey is so organized. To me, it seems like they are more organized than say a chukar.
We are going to hunt Sunnie today and hopefully Sunnie is going to find them and hold them down. Pin them, point them, hold them down and we are going to walk in and when the birds get up we are going to try and break up the covey. When they are organized, we are hunting them to their strength. So we want to break them up and disorganize them and try to hunt to our strength instead.
Super fun, fun bird to hunt. Difficult to hit. A lot of people flock shoot and miss them. So you really have to be conscious and pick out a bird.
Remington is on point. Just watch them. Woo! Remington come. Easy picking, they are just going to sit right there for us.
Let’s just walk down through this, come up over the top of them and see if we can’t get them.
We don’t want to talk a lot when we are walking in on the point. We want to be real quiet, just as if we were hunting chukars or pheasants or anything else. Too much talk and those birds will get up and get gone. You don’t get a long time to shoot at these things, they are up and out fast.
She’s on point, she’s stopped. She’s down in the bottom, 37 yards in front of us. You guys stay up there when you can shoot.
Nice shot. I got it marked in the tree. Ok let’s see if there is more.
That might have been the straggler that didn’t get out with the covey.
Good boy, good boy, ok loose, loose. Jeff here you go. Beautiful bird. Is it a nice one? Yeah. Good.
That’s fun, we didn’t quite break the covey up but a least we saw some. One down. See if we can go get another.
Huns are known as an “eruptive” species, which means there can be a lot one year and not many the next. When populations are up, you can find Huns near agricultural land, ideally a grass and sagebrush mix interspersed with fields of wheat or barley. Lightly grazed rangeland can also hold good numbers of birds.
Watch mine. Watch that bird it’s going to tower and die. Double down.
Oh sunnie has got mine, good girl Sunnie.
Right here. That’s my girl. Drop, good girl.
Good dog! Look at that! That’s a hun.
The meat on these is going to be a little bit darker than a chukar but the flavor is outstanding, it’s nice and tender. You can see how flighty they are. The dogs getting them pointed, we are getting within about 30 yards and they are just popping. We are not even getting close to them and look how heavy the cover is, imagine them in light cover. So they are really skittish. They are challenging to the dog. And the hunter. I mean we had four guns on those birds and we managed to get two birds.
We were off to a great start. Three birds in the first draw. But wouldn’t you know it. We covered fourteen miles today and that was the only covey we found. Huns can test your dogs, your legs and your sanity.
We were able to break up one covey, I was hoping to get into a lot more. I’ve been in and out of this area a little bit and seen quite a few huns but they just outsmarted us today.
Welcome back to KSL Outdoors I’m Adam Eakle along with my buddy Nick and hey Nick you gave me a call a few weeks ago and said let’s go chase some lions. I know, it’s been a good season. I’m bored, I’ve been doing it all by myself lately and I need somebody to harass. We had good luck a few years ago. And you are good luck. Hopefully we’ll find one in a tree, real close to the road. Alright, hey lion hunting, the second part of our show. We’ve got some different types of dogs for sure.
We usually go when there is snow, typically fresh snow so we can tell if we can see a track, we can kind of tell how old it is.
I first met Nick a few years ago when he invited me to chase lions. Nick is a houndsman. Someone who trains his dogs to tree mountain lions.
Got us a little lion track it looks like. Let’s see what the dogs think. Little tough to see. What is it about lion hunting that maybe someone who is watching this doesn’t quite understand. Why would somebody do that? What’s the fun in it? First of all. How many times have you seen a lion within ten feet without dogs. Never.
We are going to be able to see this thing ten yards away maybe closer and not be scared of it. It’s kind of cool, plus if you think about it, we haven’t seen anybody. The only thing we hear is hounds in the background and that’s it.
I look at it like this too, it’s my exercise, my gym. We are going to burn more calories today than probably at the gym and plus I get to enjoy mother nature and my dogs.
From my experience with these houndsman, the dog is the reason they chase lions. For Nick it’s the same. Gauge, Penny, and Berkley are family and he loves to see them succeed.
They don’t really care how big it is. How small it is. All cats are the same to them. I like a hard race, like today. This is a pretty tough track and I like to just let the dogs work and see what they can do.
The hounds are outfitted with GPS collars. The signal is sent to Nick’s receiver that lets him know where the dogs are headed.
Good or the bad news. What have you got? Good news they are cruising on it and they are probably going to get this thing caught. Bad news is they are headed the opposite direction. Going that way. They are going all the way up this canyon so.
We get our four wheelers as close as we can. The rest of the chase is on foot.
Yea they are treed. Where at? 1.15 miles away. Dude you jinxed yourself. I know I did.
It will be a steep hill, but we can do it.
Well the snow is not too deep. So we should be alright.
I’m glad you are post holing ahead of me. Yeah, I’ll take one for the team.
Nick has what is called a pursuit permit. It doesn’t allow him to kill the lion, just tree it. I’ve learned over the years, that houndsmen are the biggest advocates for lions. Most of them agree that lions need to be managed, but they don’t want to see too many lions killed. In fact, Nick has never killed a lion.
Someday maybe? Someday. If I find one big enough. The right one. The right one. But it will only be one.
Coming up, we find out if our hike leads to a lion, but first
When your buddy calls you and says let’s go chase a lion. One tell him he’s crazy because he is and two eat your Wheaties, this isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s brutal, these guys are nuts. But it’s beautiful up here, look at this.
They are treed on the backside of that hill right there.
Oh I can hear them. How far have we come? They are six hundred yards right now. And we’ve come what about a mile? Uh, yea. Probably a mile.
The last 600 yards are straight up. Onto the North facing slope of this canyon, deep in the pines.
Alright we are getting there, getting close. We can hear the hounds.
Oh I can see a lion! See it through the trees?
She’s a decent female.
She’s not going anywhere. Pretty content. Yeah she’s pretty content. She’s pretty high.
Good girls, good boy Gauge!
She’s getting a little wirey, but beautiful cat and she’s healthy. You said going in you knew it was a female. Yeah the track we originally dumped on was a much smaller track and you could tell. By that tom track that we just saw, it was just a lot bigger.
You can usually tell by it’s face and it’s head. Doesn’t have the big pumpkin head like a tom will. Ears are a little closer, plus the face, you can just kind of… it’s a little darker usually. She’s got that. But it’s hard, it’s hard to know whether or not they’re female or tom and that’s why sometimes females get killed because people don’t take the time. In reality the only way to really tell is to get underneath and look under the tail and you tell in this tree that’s pretty much next to impossible.
Good girl Berkley. Good girl Penny.
This Nick says, is his reward. A lion in a tree and happy dogs. We get our video, some pictures and then Nick.
Come on Penny, Penny. Good dog Penny. Up up up. Come on right here, right here.
Leads the dogs off the mountain. Leaving us alone with this cat.
Hissing at you.
It doesn’t take long for her to decide that she’s not scared anymore by the two legged animals under her tree.
Is she coming?
This is me getting out of the way!
That’s the first time I’ve been under a tree without dogs. When she started coming down. I couldn’t get back over here fast enough. Get your heart pumping.
That’s why I like it. It’s a little adrenaline rush. Definitely is. It’s gets a little eerie when I’m by myself sometimes and it comes down the tree. When you took the dogs away. That’s what Jared and I were thinking about. I had a big stick in my hand.
Well we are like two miles from the truck. We spot another track and of course Nick has to let the dogs back out to go and try and track another cat today. You know there’s only like two hours left of light. These houndsmen are a little nuts. But, if you do get a chance to go out with them, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a once in a lifetime experience to sit under a tree and look at that beautiful wild animal looking back at you.