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April 15, 2013
The True Story Behind Viral Monster Mountain Lion Photos - 17
These photos of a massive mountain lion have circulated the web for months over email, forums, and social media. Rumors suggested it was killed in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho and who knows how many hunters have claimed by now that it was taken by a "buddy of a friend."
But the truth is that the cougar was taken by Rob Klein (right) in December on a hunt with Fraser Valley Outfitters in west-central Alberta. "I put the picture on my Facebook page and from there it just kind of went viral," Klein says. "The cat's been taken in 13 states by 25 different guys … I had a guy arguing with me on one of the sites saying 'No, you didn't shoot that cat, it was shot by a buddy of mine.'"
When they thought they had gained enough ground on the cat, they cut three hounds loose and the chase was on. After about 30 minutes, the dogs had the tom treed at the bottom of a huge creek gully. It took Klein and the guides about an hour to hike through the snow and over scattered deadfalls down to the cat.
"It was a nightmare of a place to get into, it wasn't pretty that's for sure," he says. From there, a single shot from Klein's .270 short mag. brought the mountain lion down.
"That was the first cat I've ever harvested," Klein says. "I've chased elk, mule deer, and bears, but this was by far the most exciting hunt I've ever been on. Prior to the hunt I thought that you just walk in on the cat and shoot him and it's all yippee kaya ... but these don't cats just sit in trees. There's the possibility that they'll jump trees, come down and fight the dogs, hunters have even been stalked on some occasions."
Maybe the most interesting fact from Klein's hunt is that they first cut the big cat's track just outside of a semi-suburban area.
"In the country where we first cut the track, kids could have been out there waiting for the school bus," Klein said.