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Grandmother Bags South Dakota Mountain Lion

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She hadn’t been hunting in over 20 years, but that didn’t stop her from filling her tag.

At 75, Mary Collins wasn’t so sure she’d be able to take the shot. “I was kind of nervous because I thought, ‘oh sure, I’m going to miss it, but I didn’t,’” she said.

As a patriarch in a family long known for their hunting and outdoor passions, she didn’t want her anxiety to get the best of her and went ahead and applied for a tag. Collins was part of a group of six that applied for mountain lion tags, but she was the only one who got drawn. “We come from a hunting family. Everybody hunted deer and elk. (Hunting a mountain lion) was nothing I had thought about or planned on until I got the license. I thought this’ll be fun,” she said.

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Collins was joined by her son Shane Walsh, along with his Walker and Bluetick coonhounds, which treed the mountain lion after a grueling three days of tracking.

“Oh gosh, it was quite a trudge. I think we walked two and a half miles and followed while the dogs were chasing the lion,” she said to the Rapid City Journal.

“It was nasty country where we were at,” Walsh said. “It was tough walking.”

“That was the hardest part for me, yes,” Collins said. “It’d keep you in shape if you did that every day.”

53180c2b76c33.preview-620Image via: Rapid City Journal

Despite the rough terrain and winter condition, when Collins got the mountain lion in her sights from 30 yards, she was able to shoot straight enough to only take one shot with her Marlin .357 Magnum rifle.

“It’s been at least 20 years since she fired a rifle,” Walsh said. “She practiced a little before we went out.”

The mountain lion that Collins shot was six years old and thin – the game warden who came out noted that the animal’s stomach was empty, meaning she was likely on the hunt for food when her scent was caught by the hounds.

5318084940b3c.preview-620Image via: Rapid City Journal

Mountain lion was certainly not Collins first choice on her 20-year-belated hunt, but when the opportunity presented itself she couldn’t refuse.

“My granddaughter called me a mean grandma because I killed a lion,” Collins said. “There’s getting to be too many of them. They do bad things some times.”

Mountain lions near Rapid City did not used to be a problem, but in recent years many ranchers and farmers in the area have lost large amounts of livestock to their population boom.

“I can remember growing up, very occasionally we’d see a mountain lion or hear one, but you just never thought about them,” Collins said. “Now I go horseback riding a lot and I always think about seeing one out in the woods somewhere,” she said.

Whatever the case, Collins says that this will be her last lion, as she’s looking to go on a deer hunt when the season opens up again.

Have you ever bagged a mountain lion? What do you think of this hunt? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Grandmother Bags South Dakota Mountain Lion