Canada: Alberta Mountain Lion

10 Hunting Days
Additional Species Available:
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Pooling hunting areas, resources and decades of experience, a team of passionate hounds-men have come together to offer what might be one of Canada’s top Mountain Lion hunts. With up to 10 full days, 3-4 guides per hunter, chasing big toms with 30 B&C cats to their credit…. this is the real deal.

TRIP DURATION 10 full 1×3-4 guided hunting days
PHYSICAL LEVEL Medium
PRIME TIME  December until the end of February
WILDLIFE STATUS Wild, Free-ranging & Indigenous

Package Highlights

A very exclusive offering, it’s no secret southwestern Alberta consistently produces some of the North Americas largest and finest Mountain Lions. With only 26 tags available to non-resident hunters each year province wide, opportunities at these massive cats are restricted to just those lucky few. In turn, the outfitters holding these tags are only allocated a handful annually. Being so limited, huge swaths of land generally go un-hunted each year, and so this region of Alberta is home to a very healthy Mountain Lion population. A typical Tom might weigh in at 150-160 lbs, but cats at 180 lbs or heavier don’t raise too many eyebrows. Treeing a big lion with the pandemonium of the hounds is an adrenalizing, heart-pumping adventure, certain to etch a permanent spot in a hunter’s lifelong memory bank.

What makes it extra special is the outfitting team, pooling together all their tags, hounds, hunting areas, resources and knowledge. This package includes up to ten fully guided days, with as many as 3-4 guides per hunter! With nearly three decades in the industry, they have taken 30 Boone & Crocket Mountain lions for clients between their various zones. Proximity to Calgary makes travel and logistics simple, and set amidst foothill type ranch country on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, the landscape is beautiful. Chinooks bring variable weather conditions however so be ready for anything. Many hunts are scheduled “on-call” so as to capitalize on prime conditions and weather. Expect quality equipment and vehicles allowing hunters to tackle the varied terrain. Experienced packs of house and hounds-men help seal the deal when that magical track gets cut, all factors contributing to this outfit’s consistent success on big wily Cougars. At the same time this is a free-range, fair chase hunt for a highly intelligent and evasive animal, so understandably nothing can ever be guaranteed.

With deep rooted connections and time-on-the-land, vast tracts of private ranch properties are exclusively held and hunted by our outfitter, in addition to expansive swaths of Crown or Public land. Bonus Wolves or Coyotes may be taken on a trophy fee basis, but the specialty remains big Mountain Lions. Leave early if you tag out early, and non-hunters are always welcome.

Typical Day & Tactics

Upon being greeted in Calgary by the outfitter or a guide, make the short drive to the lodge, unpack, secure your license and enjoy a nice dinner before heading to bed. Mornings arrive quickly, and after a hasty breakfast, head out in the dark, driving roads, trails and cutlines by dawn. Search for big, fresh, male lion tracks from the night before that head in a promising direction. While anything is possible, tracks are often located in various traditional lion crossing areas year after year. Days are short in the winter, so lunches are always packed for the field to keep hunters out hunting during the critical hours.  Once a lion track is found the guides commune to determine its freshness and the likely size and sex of the animal. If suspected to be a quality cat a decision is made where and how to initiate a chase.

Hunting these big lions can be a combination of high and low energy. Periods of monotonous and methodical searching can at times drag on, but within minutes of cutting a steaming fresh track, hunters can become involved in one of the most exciting hunting experiences out there. The outfitter likes Redbone Coon Hounds, and with a dozen dogs, 9 are usually brought out hunting, and 6 are normally turned out throughout a chase. When the pack opens up excitement levels soar, and it can get crazy at times. Often enough however, hunters manage to get a good shot opportunity on a mature tom with either archery or a rifle. With any luck, a vehicle can usually get relatively close to the end destination, but some chases may stretch on for several miles. This is where it pays to be in shape as getting to the treed cat quickly over sloped snowy terrain certainly boosts odds.

A really big treed lion is often the culmination of hundreds of miles of searching roads and trails. On days when the perfect track cannot be found, its best to end the day in the midafternoon as there is no sense in treeing a cat after dark. Once successful, hunters are welcome to change their travel plans and leave earlier if desired. Conversely, should a hunter still be unsuccessful after 10 days, extra hunting days can often be added. Bonus Wolves or Coyotes can also be taken as target of opportunity on a trophy fee basis, especially applicable to rifle hunters. Round trip airport transfers are included, as well as trophy preparations for the taxidermist.

Landscape & Climate

This is one of Canadas most scenic regions, with the Rocky Mountains jutting up sharply along the western horizon. The views are breathtaking. The hunt occurs mainly in the foothills,  which slowly transition to the stark prairies to the east. Much of the terrain is gently rolling, but some is extremely rugged, complete with steep ravines and canyons where big lions like to take refuge. One of the zones is mainly private land along the forest fringe of ranch country. Here the forests are mainly Aspen and Poplar with mixed stands of Spruce. While the other zone is mainly conifer dominated with species like Blue Spruce and Lodgepole Pine. Expect to encounter other species such as Elk, Mule Deer, Whitetails, Great Grey Owls, Bald Eagles, Ravens, Magpies and Red Squirrels, all sharing space with these Mountain Lions in this beautiful western landscape.

This region is in the heart of Chinook country, so weather and temperatures have the potential to vary dramatically throughout the course of the week. Some days can be well above freezing, then plummet down to -30 degrees Celsius overnight. Snow pack is usually not too deep, but this is not always the case in all areas or elevations. Its best to come prepared and ready for all conditions, a hope for a fresh dusting of snow each day for perfect tracking conditions.

Meals & Accommodations

The lodge is situated in rural private setting in rolling ranch country less than an hour west of the outskirts of Calgary. It is strategically situated directly in one of the hunting zones and only 30 minutes from the adjacent hunting zone. Stay in a newly built home with all the amenities and homestyle catered meals. Stay in touch with wifi, cell phone service and satellite TV, and enjoy private bedrooms and bedrooms. Recall the days adventures in a common lounge area with a magnificent view of the eastern Rockies in the skyline every time one looks to the west.

Meals are typical of any hunting camp, but very accommodating hosts are happy to entertain any specific menu items their hunter might request. Breakfasts are quick and early usually comprised of eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast, fruit, coffee or juice. Pack a bagged lunch for the day full of freshly made sandwiches and cookies, along with granola bars, candy, fruit and beverages. Dinners are hearty, prepared back at the lodge and can include a turkey dinner with all the fixings, local Elk medallions or AAA Alberta beef steaks, wild game sausage, grilled chicken or pork chops accompanied by potatoes, vegetables and fresh salads. For dessert, hunters are encouraged to request any favorite items! Should there be any dietary concerns please let the outfitter know in advance.

Key Equipment Suggestions

Once a hunt is confirmed, the outfitter provides a complete list of required equipment to ensure hunters are prepared for this style of hunting and the element.  Recommended equipment items include; quality warm layered clothing for cold winter weather, balaclava, goggles, warm mitts, neck warmer, a light day-pack, bow or rifle, quality 10X binoculars, rangefinder, warm boots, a headlamp and a digital camera. Hunter orange is not required in Alberta.

 

Pricing 

Trophy Mountain Lion – 10 days – 1×3-4 guided – x1 Mountain Lion – December – February – $10,500

Included 

  • Round trip airport/hotel pick-up and drop-off services from Calgary
  • All meals and lodge accommodations during the hunt
  • Up to 3-4 professional, local and experienced guides and hounds-man per hunter
  • Firearm and ammunition if requested
  • All ground transportation while hunting (4×4, ATV, Snowmobile etc.)
  • Basic meat, trophy skull & hide preparations for the taxidermist

Not Included

  • 5% Government Sales Tax (GST)
  • Travel to the destination city of Calgary, Alberta
  • Any pre and post hunt meals and/or hotel accommodations
  • Alberta non-resident hunting license, allocation fees, & tags
  • Trophy fees for any additional game animals harvested
  • Gratuities to guides and staff
  • Taxidermy & trophy export
  • Personal side ventures, tourism or purchases of a personal nature (alcohol, souvenirs etc.)

Additions

  • Extra hunting days: $1000/day (if available)
  • Non-hunting observer days: $250/day
  • Allocation Fee $170
  • Alberta Non-resident Hunting License – $70
  • Alberta Non-resident Mountain Lion Tag – $255
  • Alberta Non-resident Wolf/Coyote Tags – $25
  • Trophy fees for additional game species (upon harvest);
    • Coyote or Wolf – $250

Destination City

Hunters are asked to arrive to Calgary International Airport in southern Alberta, with a short commute to the lodge and hunting areas.

Travel Suggestions

Calgary is very easy to reach from various major North American airports often with direct flights or no connections, and serviced by multiple airlines.

Airport Shuttles 

Round trip airport shuttles between the airport/hotel and hunting areas are already included in every package.

Special Info

Passport required for all international travel. Non-Canadian citizens can be denied access into Canada if they have a DUI or any other criminal infraction.