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#1474120 - 01/06/10 06:32 PM RIP Brody and Top
HCS Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 03/25/07
Posts: 529
Loc: NW Montana
I have not posted anything about lion hunting for awhile. I just finished my first semester of college at the University of Montana where I am studying wildlife biology. I got home for winter break and have been able to get out quite a bit lately. My friends and I have treed several lions and we have taken two.

Yesterday my friend and mentor Mel invited me to go with him and another fellow named Jay who has two young dogs and a tag for our area. At about 6am we headed up into the Yaak area of northwest Montana. At about 2pm Jay found a track so he turned out his two dogs (Top & Lilly) and I also turned out my two (Elvis & Earl). They took off through the woods but they lost the track where the cat had crossed the Yaak River and had then doubled back across again. Mel and Jay walked downstream to gather dogs and look for the track while I was searching the far bank. We eventually lined out the track and put the dogs back on it. It was tough going so Mel put in his two good dogs (Brody & Fancy). The cat had made a third river crossing and the dogs were now on a fairly fresh trail. Since part of our plan was to get Jays dogs Top and Lilly some experience we grabbed Earl and Fancy and put them back in the rig.
At this point we had four dogs heading up over the mountain. We drove about 2 miles up a nearby road to try and close some of the distance. We finally got bogged down in very heavy snow and the Garmin Astro collars were saying that the dogs were still about a mile above us and that they were treeing. We headed up on snowshoes but the going was VERY difficult due to deep snow and thick alder brush. It took about 90 minutes to hike to where the dogs were supposed to be.
As we were hiking we saw on the receiver that Jays dog Lilly was running. Since she is young he just thought that she was running a back trail. As we continued to get closer we could still not hear the dogs. At about 500 yards the astro showed that the dogs were still treeing but since we could not hear anything we became concerned that the system was not working right. As we got close we had to get out our lights as the sun had set and we could no longer see. We hiked on and soon the screen showed that the dogs should be right in front of us at about 50 yards. Eerily there was absolutely no sound in the woods. We found the tree surrounded by tracks where they had put up the lion. We immediately began calling out for the dogs. Jay saw some blood by the tree and we assumed that a dog must have cut a pad.
Jay started shining his light down the hill and saw two eyes shining about 30 yards away. He started that direction and seconds later we heard him start yelling. Mel and I ran down to where he was and saw something no houndsman ever wants to see. There in the snow surrounded by blood were two dead dogs.
I instantly thought that one of them was my good dog Elvis. My heart was pounding as I got closer. When we got to them we had to check the collar since part of his head was gone. We ultimately discovered that it was Mels dog Brody and Jays dog Top. I could not find Elvis anywhere. I could only imagine that the same thing had happened to him and that he was lying in the brush nearby.
As we tried to get over the shock of it all we slowly pieced together what had happened. It became very apparent that a pack of wolves had attacked our hounds as they were baying at the tree. Brody and Top had been killed instantly at the tree and then drug about 30 yards away where the wolves had started to feed on them. The eyes Jay had seen were those of a wolf eating our dogs.
Lilly had obviously run away when the attack occurred but there was still no sign of Elvis.
We were all sick about what had just happened but we needed to get down the mountain and try and find Lilly and hopefully Elvis. It was as tough going down as it had been climbing up, and when I broke a strap on my snowshoe I didn’t think things could get any worse.
I have hunted these mountains many times but I have never experienced fear like I did on that hike. The thought of the wolves behind us, the dogs that had just been killed and of the two that we could not find were about all I could handle. With broken snowshoes I had to “posthole” most of the way back to the truck.
We finally got back to the trucks and our missing dogs were not there. Before we got out of that deep snow we had to winch ourselves out about five times. It was getting very late and I was both mentally and physically exhausted by the time we got back to the paved road.
We were due for some good luck and right then the collars for Lilly and Elvis lit up the screen and appeared to be about 1 mile ahead of us on the main road. As we got close I could see Lilly by the guardrail so I jumped out to grab her and began yelling for Elvis.
I immediately heard barking down below us by the river. I jumped the railing and began calling to him. With my flashlight I could see Elvis and he appeared to be lying in the ice on the bank. As I got closer I realized that he was actually in the water and was too exhausted to pull himself up on to the edge of the ice. I was able to reach out to him and pull him to safety. I don’t know how long he had been there but he was shaking so bad I did not know if he would survive. We warmed him up in the truck as we headed for home which was still an hour away on icy roads.

As I write this, Elvis is still so stiff and sore that he can hardly walk but since he is not yet 3 years old he is plenty strong and will be back on the trail soon. I have no idea how he was able to escape the wolf attack and near freezing to death in a river. All I know is that I am very fortunate to have gotten him back.
I have not talked to Jay yet this morning but he had put so much time and energy into training Top I can only imagine how crushed he is. I talked to Mel and he is very frustrated, not just because he lost a great dog but also because he called a local game biologist who told him that our dogs were killed not 500 yards from a known denning site. According to the biologist they don’t publicize information like that because people might disrupt the wolves.

R.I.P. Brody and Top, I hope the hunting is good up there in heaven.

Edited by mikegranger (01/06/10 07:44 PM)
Lions treed: 45
Bobcats treed: 2

#1474136 - 01/06/10 06:41 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: HCS]
gamedog Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 10/18/07
Posts: 1030
Loc: Razor Creek MT
Very sorry story!
Thats the second wolf/hound dog killing in Montana I've heard about lately.
If ranchers can kill a wolf harrassing their livestock, do hound handlers have the same option with dead dogs on hand?
Never argue with an idiot, he will just bring you down to his level and beat you with experience!

#1474143 - 01/06/10 06:45 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: HCS]
kal52 Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 1035
Loc: ND
Sorry to hear about the dogs being killed and hope yours is up and running soon.


#1474147 - 01/06/10 06:45 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: HCS]
marlin4570 Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 01/20/08
Posts: 289
After first scrolling down and seeing the picture this was very tough for me to read. I'm sorry to hear about your friends dogs and I also hope the huntings good for them up in heaven.

#1474162 - 01/06/10 06:58 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: marlin4570]
vargy49 Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 1318
Loc: iowa city iowa
Dam man!! I am really sorry!! I am a Hounds man just like you and would eat my heart out.
It would be very hard to not go wolf hunting after that!!
The DNR should compensate you folks for your hounds.
Also the denning site sure needs to be made public just for safty reasons.
I also scrolled down before I read it expecting to see a pic of a nice cat. and had a hard time reading it.
My heart goes out to you guys with the wolfs!!

no better music then a pack of running hounds putting the heat on!!

#1474233 - 01/06/10 07:38 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: vargy49]
Gimmieabeer Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 02/10/07
Posts: 597
Loc: Central Pa
sorry to hear about the hounds!! that sux! hope u guys get even with the wolves!

#1474238 - 01/06/10 07:41 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: Gimmieabeer]
A Dana Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 10/17/09
Posts: 78
Loc: BC Canada
That is Gut Wrenching.....sorry for your loss.

#1474263 - 01/06/10 07:55 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: A Dana]
Rickh Offline
PM Sponsor

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 615
Loc: Eastern Nebraska
First and foremost, glad you guys got in and out ok! Sounds like you must be in good shape and it paid off for you.
Second, very sorry to hear about the hounds, I am sure the loss will be felt for many years to come.
Stay safe and always have plan (B)ravo.
Rick H...

#1474389 - 01/06/10 08:51 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: Rickh]
Duane@ssu Offline
Retired moderator

Registered: 04/24/01
Posts: 4095
Loc: Gods Country
Sorry for your losses. We expect lots of things, but wolves ??? This is out of hand. When can we start to defend our dogs (legally)?.
I cannot tell you guys what to do, or condone "illegal" activity. But things need to change.
Best wishes and your dog will be in our prayers.


#1474572 - 01/06/10 10:37 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: Duane@ssu]
trapper2 Offline
Die Hard Member III

Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 2182
Loc: north central okla
sorry to hear about the loss, what pic?
nothing is politically correct if its morally wrong

#1474605 - 01/06/10 10:51 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: trapper2]
getemclose Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 959
Loc: USA
I think mods took it out.

#1474606 - 01/06/10 10:51 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: getemclose]
getemclose Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 959
Loc: USA
Sorry for your loss I feel your pain. I lost a hunting dog 3 years ago. It sucked to say the least.. frown

#1474628 - 01/06/10 11:03 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: getemclose]
gonzaga Offline
Die Hard Member with a vengeance

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 4365
Loc: Raton, NM U.S.A.
Sorry for your party's loss. Good hunting indeed for those departed. We need to get some kind of handle on the wolf problem. It is an increasing problem.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

Tighten up your helmet and grab your crayons Turbo.....this could get bumpy....

#1474645 - 01/06/10 11:13 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: getemclose]
rockinmyshoe Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 12/29/09
Posts: 158
Loc: Texas GIG-EM country
Sorry about your hounds,tell your biologist it might not have happened if they would disclose the den, but God forbid we would.

Amendment #2 is Freedom #1
Politicions made the debt our soldiers paid the bill
My worst day huntin beats my best day workin..

#1474653 - 01/06/10 11:18 PM Re: RIP Brody and Top [Re: gonzaga]
mtbadger Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 509
Loc: Montana
That was a tough read HCS thanks for sharing with us. I know it won't help now but I will be out hunting the wolves next fall when season opens....
Ordinary men can do Extrodinary things...

Always looking for Bridger traps...

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