How to Hunt a Mountain Lion | Getting Your First Kill

Video how to trap a mountain lion

Although attacks are rare, mountain lions can be a frightening sight for a camper or hiker. But to hunters like you and me, a mountain lion can be seen as an object for the sport with the promise of an exhilarating hunt. These amazing animals can sprint fast, jump high, and are excellent hunters themselves—qualities that make them quite challenging to catch or hunt. Nevertheless, this article will be teaching you how to trap or hunt mountain lions step-by-step.

I’m going to divide this section into two parts: how to hunt a mountain lion and how to trap a mountain lion, for these two methods are entirely different and require different types of skills to be executed efficiently. Even if you prefer one method over the other, I suggest you read both sections to add more to your knowledge.

How to Hunt Mountain Lions

Hunting these big cats is a challenge and requires rigorous exercise, but finally getting that mountain lion on the back of your truck is definitely worth it. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on what you need to do in order to catch these regal creatures:

mt lion 2 How to Hunt a Mountain Lion | Getting Your First Kill

Step 1: Prepare yourself.

It is of utmost importance that you ensure you are physically and mentally capable of hunting these animals. These are not your typical game animals: they are fast, agile, and potentially dangerous. Before you proceed on a mountain lion hunting trip, here is a checklist you should read:

  • Ensure that you are capable of running for long distances on regular to difficult terrain.
  • In case of facing a provoked lion (usually trying to protect its territory against you: a potential threat), make sure you know how to scare it off. This involves waving your hands slowly, making yourself appear larger.
  • There is a possibility that you can get attacked, so make sure you’re capable of defending yourself.
  • Hunting these lions require patience and persistence. Otherwise, you may scare it off easily and lose your kill.
  • It is generally the best bet to be physically fit in order to hunt mountain lions, due to the difficulty and amount of physical activity that this sport requires. In this case, physically fit means you are able to run, jump, hike, and climb without too much difficulty.
  • Stealth is important in this sport, for mountain lions are very elusive creatures. Make sure you can crouch, crawl, and walk quietly enough on a forest floor.
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Step 2: Do your research

Know how to track mountain lions, the extra precautions you need to make, the location you’re going to be hunting in, as well as the local laws regarding mountain lion hunting. In addition, watch informative videos on hunting and read articles such as this one to be as prepared as possible for your first trip.

Step 3: Prepare for your hunting trip

To hunt mountain lions, you’ll need to have:

  • Hunting rifle
  • Ammunition
  • Hunting knife
  • Water
  • Extra food
  • Bait (optional)
  • First aid kit
  • Proper attire (thick clothes and boots; as well as something bright to prevent friendly fire)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Calling instrument (optional)

When you have your pack settled, it’s time to decide whether you need a hunting partner or not. I recommend having a more experienced hunter accompany you on your first trip. But if you feel that you can handle the hunt by yourself, do so with caution.

It is also recommended to have a trained hunting dog to accompany you, since they can sniff out and find mountain lions better than you can. Make sure to bring treats for them as well.

Step 4: Choose your location

You can’t just go to random wooded area and expect to find a mountain lion there. Know the locations where the mountain lion population is big enough for game hunting, and select the one you prefer. Once you have chosen the most convenient place for your hunt, schedule a trip there.

However, you cannot go on a hunt immediately. Take at least 3-5 trips to that area to familiarize yourself (if you aren’t yet) to avoid getting lost. Strategize your game plan and scope out the possible spots where a mountain lion might appear for a more efficient hunt.

Step 5: Lure/track a mountain lion

To track a mountain lion, look out for their paw prints. For a beginner, it may seem difficult. But with enough practice, you will have a trained eye.

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mountain lion hunting

A mountain lion is a very territorial creature. It will scrape dirt, grass, twigs, leaves, and other debris into a pile and then urinate it as a mark of its territory over that area. Other times, it will bury its food under a mound of leaves and dirt to hide it from other animals. Thus, look for these indications of a mountain lion nearby, and wait for the animal to come back in a safe hiding place so you can shoot it from afar.

Another technique of luring a mountain lion is to use bait. Like most animals, it will prefer a live bait rather than a dead one, so be sure to choose the former for better chance of success. However, this method can have you luring all types of animals, so be wary of your choice.

You can also lure lions with mouth calls using reeds or recordings of a lion’s sounds. Employ this technique and then wait for a mountain lion to come by.

Finally, a very popular and successful method is to have a hunting dog aid you. Well-trained hunting dogs can sniff out a mountain lion from afar and lead you to it. Like house cats, mountain lions usually run away from barking dogs and will most likely climb up a tree for safety. When it is trapped, you can now shoot it.

Step 6: Go for the Kill

When shooting a mountain lion either with a gun or an arrow, always aim for the animal’s head or heart as much as possible. Not only is this a humane way to kill the lion, but an aim to its fatal spots can prevent it from running away. Otherwise, a shot to the hind or back, for example, can make the animal panic and sprint as far away as possible.

Keep in mind the local laws regarding this type of hunting and kill only the allowed number of lions that you can hunt.

How to Trap a Mountain Lion

Trapping a mountain can be more dangerous than hunting it. Why? After you’ve caught a live lion in your trap, you’re going to be dealing with a very angry, very stressed creature. Moreover, trapping is usually used when you want to control the predation in your area since these lions can prey on your livestock or pets. Nevertheless, if you do it right, you can catch a mountain lion with these steps:

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Step 1: Prepare your trap

Choose the trap you think would be most effective. Mountain lions are very strong creatures, so you need high caliber traps that can hold them. Trap options for catching mountain lions are:

Leg Hold


Cage Traps

mountian lion hunting How to Hunt a Mountain Lion | Getting Your First Kill

Step 2: Place your trap

Place your trap in a strategic place. Examples of such are near territorial indications, areas where you usually see them, and near their tracks.

Check your trap once a day from a distance. These animals will be very hostile, so exercise caution.

Step 3: Transfer or Kill the Lion

If you want to get rid of the lion, I suggest having wildlife control transfer it to another place for you. Do not approach it if you are unsure of how to handle the situation. If you are going to attempt to transfer it yourself, use legal tranquilizers to put the animal to sleep before caging.

Another thing you can do is shooting it, but if you have no use for their meat or fur, let them live and have them transferred.


Mountain lions are one of the most challenging animals to hunt, other than the mighty black bear or the ferocious wolf, among many others. However, the thrill and exercise of the hunt is what we’re really looking for; a challenge that any hunter is happy to overcome. If you are a novice hunter looking to get your first mountain lion, this article will happily help you out.

Therefore, I hope you enjoyed this article and learned a lot from it. Don’t forget to share it with your friends and leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

Also check out our How To Hunt Rabbits Without A Hunting Dog by this articles!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>