I got a late start in life in the hound world. Raising and training hounds to chase lions is much more than getting a dog and turning them loose. In Montana, we can only run hounds on cats for 4 months. So, what does a person do the other 8 months of the year with their dogs? Owning hounds is a yearlong job. They are like any other athlete in this world, they need constant exercise and training to stay in tip-top shape to be safely and effectively used. We run them in the hills every chance we get. We constantly are raising and training pups every year to improve our pack. Every time we turn a dog loose on a cat we run the risk of them getting killed not only by the cat but by wolves.
These dogs are not just dogs, they are family, being raised around our kids, loved on just like any dog should be. A true houndsman or houndswoman is in it for the dogs. There’s nothing better than taking a puppy and watching it grow up chasing the house and barn cats. Then to actually watch them mature and sit at their first cat tree and see the light switch click the first time. Makes all of the training worthwhile.
Harvesting lions are like any other animal, they need to be managed properly. The last thing I want is for any species to go unchecked. Every year you hear someone say “I just want to harvest one cat in my life,” well here is my take on that. We burn tons of money on fuel, vehicle expenses, snowmobiles, and tracking equipment. One more cat harvested is one less cat track we get to find and train our dogs on. I harvest only mature toms which in return helps out the population as it lets females raise and protect their kittens. Mature toms will kill the kittens to bring the females in heat.
If you want to harvest a cat, get to know some local hound guys or gals. Ask them what you can do to help train their dogs. Don’t ask the houndsman to call when he finds a track. Get out and find a cat track for the houndsman to run. Ask the dog owners if you could help by taking care of the dogs if they go on a trip. I’m more than happy to help someone fulfill their dream of harvesting a cat but there has to be an effort on their end. It’s expensive trying to find a cat to run every day. I have been fortunate enough to have been helped by a few select houndsmen. They have taught me the true meaning of the sport, it’s not about killing a cat, it’s about hearing the thrill of the sounds of the dogs.
How many have had the chance to run with a true houndsman or woman?