Father and son Dusan and Matus Ondreicka of Slovakia teamed up last week for a combo cat hunt. The original plan was for Dusan to come with one of his hunting buddies from back home, but when his friend got sick at the last minute, Matus was invited to join his father. Matus is finalizing his PHD in computer sciences and fortunately had enough flexibility in his schedule to make the trip with his dad on very short notice. Matus desired a bobcat on this trip and Dusan cougar and lynx if possible.
The first 3 days of the trip were spent covering a lot of territory on snowmobile and in the 4X4 looking for cougar tracks. Several female cougar tracks were located, but we didn’t cut the tracks of a large tom that we had been trying to relocate. We cut his tracks at the end of our last hunt in a remote area and were trying to find where he had moved to. We didn’t find this cat, but on day 4 guide Russ Bouveur spotted a bobcat on a logging road and got in contact with us to move to his locale to try for this cat. I brought the hunters to the last spot Russ had seen the bobcat and Russ got the hounds organized for the chase. Since Russ had seen him, the cat had done a few circles in this one area and went back up onto the logging road and cut to the uphill side. This took us and the hounds about 1 hour to straighten out what was going on, but we eventually determined where the last ‘exit’ track was, got the hounds on it and race on! The race lasted about half-hour and the hounds bayed the cat up a large Douglas-fir. I went back and got the Ondreicka’s and got Matus set up for the shot. Matus made a good shot given the difficult angle and branches covering most of the bobcat’s body, but he got it done and had his cat.
Day 5 started with fairly warm temperatures and about 2 cm. of fresh snow – perfect tracking conditions. On our way to our first area to scout, we spotted very fresh tom cougar tracks crossing the main road. I quickly phoned Russ and he made his way to us. Russ and I unloaded the snowmobiles and did a ‘box’ around the last place we saw the tom’s tracks. This ‘box’ was completed in short order, and we could tell this was going to be a quick chase for the hounds. The hounds were released on the last cougar tracks we had located and they had the cat up a tree in less than 15 minutes. Dusan, Matus and I were able to get the snowmobiles to within about 300 metres of where the dogs were treed and we did a quick hike in. We looked the cat over carefully and noted it to be a nice, young tom and Dusan indicated he wanted to take this cat back to slovakia. He made a one-shot kill and the high-fiving and back-slapping was on. Even though Dusan couldn’t speak English, he made it very clear he was a happy hunter!
We tried for the rest of the hunt to try and locate a lynx in an area where the snow might possibly be shallow enough to successfully run with the hounds, but all the tracks we located were in typical, high-elevation areas with close to 1 metre of snow. Dusan had to go home without his lynx, but has vowed to come back one day to complete the ‘cat trick.’ Dusan also invited myself to Slovakia for a hunt this fall, and I am going to take him up on the offer. I am very excited about this future adventure, with the possibility to hunt red stag, mouflon, boar, fallow deer and roe deer.