Lady hunter bags lion and deer on Unit 16A
There aren’t too many sportsmen or women who have bagged a mountain lion and a mule deer on the same hunt, but Kingman resident Lisa Carley accomplished exactly that.
Lisa and husband Donnie applied for a pair of the 350 tags in Unit 16A (Hualapai Mountains) in 2019, even though in the past they had mostly hunted in nearby Unit 18A. “Unit 16A was not our first choice,” Lisa said.
Having two tags in hand the hunters set out to put some good-eating venison in the freezer.
But the hunting was tough and the husband/wife had not been very successful in locating bucks in the rugged Hualapais. “All we found was one little spike and some does, and I didn’t want to shoot him,” Lisa said.
It was Wednesday, the sixth day of the hunt, when they had a chance meeting with a hunter and his wife who were hunting mountain lions with their dogs in the unit.
The lion hunter and his wife from Phoenix were looking for a male lion, but their dogs had found a female lion without cubs in the Hualapais.
“He told us that if his dogs could relocate the lion that he would give us a call if we wanted to go after the lion,” Lisa said.
Lisa said they decided that going after a lion would be fun, so when they got back to town, she bought a mountain lion tag just in case the lion hunter called.
The next morning they got a call from the lion hunter who said his dogs had found the scent of the female lion and if they wanted to meet him, they could go after the adult female lion.
Before they got to where the lion hunter was, Lisa spotted a buck. She couldn’t get a shot at the buck but Donnie had a clear shot and he took the 3x3 buck.
After the deer was loaded up, they headed back to area where the lion and the dogs were at. “The dogs had the scent and chased that lion up and into some very rough areas,” Lisa said. The chase was now on.
As they climbed up a nearly vertical rock cliff the lion retreated into a cave, where she decided to make a stand against the dogs.
Once Lisa got into the area close to the cave, the lion came out and ran by her just 10 feet away. “I was so scared, this was the first time I’d ever seen a mountain lion,” she said.
That started a chase that the 50-year-old hunter described as one of the toughest ordeals she has ever had while hunting. Then the pursuit got a little crazy.
“The dogs got the lion treed but after I got back down to close to where it was, it jumped out of the tree and started running again.”
Once again the hunters went in pursuit, and once more, the lion ran up a tree. Then it jumped out of that tree and ran back up the mountain into another cave.
So more climbing up a near vertical slope was in order. As Lisa and Donnie got close, the lion, which had fought and injured several dogs, ran out of the cave and back down the mountain where it finally climbed into yet another tree.
Finally Lisa got into a position where she had a clear view of the lion and one well-placed shot from her .30-06 rifle ended the lion adventure.
When they got to the lion, Donnie asked for her tag. “In all the excitement of climbing, falling, crawling and chasing the lion, the tag fell out of my pocket,” Lisa said. The couple quickly drove back to Big 5 Sporting Goods in Kingman, where she got a replacement tag. Donnie does taxidermy work and is going to do a life-size mount on Lisa’s lion.
The information about the lion was called in to the Arizona Game and Fish Department as required, and ultimately the lion was checked in at the Kingman AZGFD office as is also required by law. It was determined that the lion was an adult, about 3 years old.
So in one day, the Carley’s harvested both a mule deer and a mountain lion. But Lisa’s deer hunt wasn’t over.
It was the last day of the season when they spotted a 3x2 buck following a doe. Lisa took the buck with one shot. As Don went back for the truck, she tried to pull the buck down the mountain toward a road.
Suddenly the buck started sliding and pushed Lisa down the mountain and into some rocks and cactus.
The lady hunter received some severe bruising and had a lot of cactus spines in her body. She would be in a lot of pain for the next few days.
“Next time I’ll go get the truck and let Don pull it down the hill,” Lisa said.
While this was the first lion that Lisa has taken, this buck was her third and she has also taken a cow elk.