Montana has some great areas for hunting big Toms and is one of few states to allow hunting mountain lion (a.k.a. cougar, puma). We utilize experienced hounds men and dogs to “tree” cats. Since these hunts begin in December, you’ll be treated to comfortable accommodations with meals provided. This is a unique experience and we have great trophy cats.

What to Expect

Hunting mountain lions is totally different than hunting for elk, deer or bear. Your day begins as early as 1:00 am, you’ll have a light breakfast and join our houndsman who will instruct you on how to “cut” a track. Tracking a mountain lion involves driving or snowmobiling through a myriad of US Forest Service and private timber company roads, using spotlights mounted to the cat truck, and trying to eyeball a track from many yards away. Once a track is found, dogs are put on it to see if it carries a scent. If so, they’re off and the race is on!

It can take several hours for the dogs to find and tree the cat. Once the cat is treed, the hunter’s work begins – they must find the dogs and the treed cat in time before it escapes. If we haven’t treed a cat by 4:00 pm, we typically quit for the day as we don’t want to hunt in the dark. At this point, hunters have the remainder of the afternoon to relax, tour around the area or rest up.

The duration of your Montana mountain lion hunt is typically 5 days. However, we can extend a hunt up to 10 days using daily rates if we haven’t got a hunter his or her cat. While there are never guarantees in hunting, the success rate for our Montana mountain lion hunts has been nearly 100% in the past. The skill of our dogs, the quality of the area we have rights to hunt in, and the quality and skill of the houndsmen we employ all play a role in our success rates at Swan Mountain Outfitters.

Since mountain lion hunts in Montana take place during the winter months, hunters have access to a variety of exciting winter activities that can be added on to the front or back end of their hunt. These activities include but are not limited to: downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and ice skating.

How to Prepare

The state of Montana has arguably some of the best regions for lion/cougar hunting. Lion Hunts are run out of US Forest Service , Montana DNRC and private timber leased land in the Swan Valley as well as west of Kalispell.

If you are an out-of-state resident the license is available over the counter. That said, if you want a guarantee to go lion hunting in any given year, the districts are still governed by a quota system and we only take a limited number of hunters each year, so book early for this one!

As with all of our hunts, mountain lion hunting in northwest Montana is characterized by difficult terrain: the forest is very thick and wild and the elements can be harsh. Though we use dogs to track and tree the cat, the hunters must be physically fit enough to get to the treed cat in a timely manner so that it doesn’t get away. It’s also important to note that the weather plays a key role in mountain lion hunting, as a lack of snow make it virtually impossible to cut tracks.

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Photos from the Field