Killer Cat Covers: The Best Outdoor Life Big Cat Covers

There's no predator more deadly than a big cat on the stalk. With a scary combination of size, speed, and ferocity, big cats are the last animal you want to tangle with. Over the years, Outdoor Life has highlighted these beasts' abilities on our covers. These are our 15 best cover photos and illustrations in chronological order.
Blue Tiger**
February 1929 "At this instant I heard the rustling of grass far to my left and below. Turning I saw a streak of red flash across an opening between two small pine trees. A snapshot at long range caught the animal in midair. With the first shot, I had killed one of the 'mystery' animals protected so long by the gods." Painting by Lynn Bogue Hunt
My Fight With a Killer
January 1930 "Before the beast broke from this cover he mauled two dogs badly, then ran for it, far back into the jungle–the young men following, with me in the rear. On this run of 300 yards all dogs got scratched up and whipped and, when they had had enough, went about looking for crickets. One poor creature had four gashes across the hip, injuring the bone, the outside two were big–8 inches apart. This we said was 'lion work.'" Painting by Robt. Lindeux
Big Game on the Roof of Asia
_September 1930
"Because of an adventure that very nearly ended in the death of both Bill Morden and myself, we were forced, after having completed most of our program, to change our route and do something that certainly had not been a part of our original intention. Furthermore, we had planned to be in the interior of Asia for about five months. It actually took us nine to get from the Vale of Kashmir, which was our starting point, to Peking, where our crossing of Asia actually ended." Painting by H.C. Murphy
Killer in the Woods
December 1949 "Although he has learned to live in the neighborhood of man, the bobcat is so sly and furtive that he is seldom seen… Avoiding humans whenever possible, he becomes a raging, spitting, fighting demon if cornered." Painting by Bob Kuhn
Trust a Hound to Know
February 1950 "I can recall many fall nights when Ernest and I were out with Big Red. The dog, trotting ahead in the far rim of the lantern's light as we ambled down some deserted road, would suddenly stop; his head would come up and that choke-bore nose of his would swing upwind. On some occasions we've seen him stand on his hind legs and literally walk into the wind, his nose agitating like some frantic inchworm. In this way Red could locate not only air-borne body scent but trail scent as well." Photo by Grancel Fitz
September 1953 "I suddenly saw the lion crouched in some high grass a few yards away, watching me. I was about to fire when suddenly my friend's gun went off in the tree. The lion gave a scream of pain and came straight at me. I dropped my sights and fired without taking true aim, for there was no time. The lion fell dead at my feet." Painting by Robert Doares
This Happened to Me!
February 1958 "Stepping around a bend, I saw a huge lion crouched on a narrow rock ledge. Its tail switched ominously. I knew it wanted out, and I was in the way… I felt a hard shove as the lion shot by, sending me sprawling in the dirt." Photo by Walt Wiggins
World Record Leopard
December 1958 "In the back of the hunting car he had a superb leopard, the finest I have ever seen. It was a different kind of critter from the East African leopards. Spots on this one were darker and more closely spaced, his background pelt much less golden. And he was big. He measured 8 feet, 2 inches between pegs, and his skull was larger than anything we could find in the record book." Photo by Jack O' Connor
The Mountain Lion
November 1959 "In spite of his relatively small size, the mountain lion is a formidable beast capable of killing even a full-grown horse or a bull elk. There are stories (whether true or not) of lions running the enormously larger grizzly bears off kills. One would think that like the tiger, the African lion, or the leopard, this big cat would become a killer of men." Painting by Thomas Beecham
The Jaguar
February 1961 "My never having shot a jaguar leaves a gap in my collection of the world's greatest cats. And it is quite a gap, since the jaguar is not only one of the world's largest cats, but it is also one of the rarest in trophy rooms. Painting by Frank McCarthy
The Lion
February 1964 "In addition, the lion, like the American grizzly, has to learn to be afraid. In the natural state, the adult lion has nothing to fear; he has no enemy but man." Painting by Denver Gillen
A Spoiled Lion
February 1970 "At my feet was a great gaping hole going straight down. Out in the middle of this hole, 10 or 12 feet from either side on a rotten 8×8 timber, crouched a very angry mountain lion. Her black-tipped ears lay back tight against her head, her tail lashed back and forth in quick short jerks, and her lips wrinkled up showing a full set of yellow fangs and teeth. One foot was raised high with its needle-sharp claws poised for a lightning-fast strike. Painting by Bill Johns
How to Get Amazing Results from Your Coyote Call
August 1975 "Varmint calls have been used in Africa to call jackals, lions, and leopards as well as many African horned animals. The ordinary dying-rabbit sound was used. Just why the horned animals respond is not known for sure. Perhaps the cause is curiosity." Painting by John McDermot
Cougar Attacks: New Crisis for the Big Cats August 1977 "Thane Morgan had just begun his snowshoe hike when the lean, hungry cougar sprang at him in a fury of claws and teeth. In desperation, the boy groped for the knife in his backpack." Illustration by Tom Beecham
Arizona Lion Hunt
January 1929 "Dr. Kerr missed his shot at him–the lion jumped from the tree and was away. When again treed by the dogs, he was shot in the shoulder but came down running. The dogs cornered him, and one–Wrinkles–was in a death grapple with the lion when Dr. Kerr ran up and practically shot the lion to pieces with his Springfield." Painting by G.B. Smith

Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Jaguars, and Cougars, Outdoor Life has tangled with them all. Check out our best covers of big cats here!