1. Learn as much as you can about lion habits and habitat. Some game-management agencies publish lion studies full of local information. Check the Internet for info and sources. Read relevant articles within Predator Xtreme.
2. Lion are flesh and blood creatures . . . not ghosts. As such, they leave signs that document their travel. Look for tracks in snow, mud, sand washes or game trails and dirt roads. Look for a roundish track showing no claw marks, four toes and a distinctive heel pad that is bi-lobed at the front and tri-lobed at the rear. Tracks left by adult lion will range from 3 to 4 inches.
3. Savvy lion hunters know their scat. Lion offal, unlike bobcat scat, is not segmented. Such most often shows deer hair, but may contain hair from elk, antelope, javelina, big horn sheep and other ungulates. Lion will also eat domestic animals, rabbits, hares, beaver and even porcupines. Big lion will sometimes kill and consume smaller or weaker lion. Bobcat can be a tasty treat.
4. Lion frequently scrape grass and ground debris (limbs, twigs and weeds) into mounds and urinate on such to mark a territory. Trespassing lion will be killed and eaten – or vice versa.
5. Lion will likewise scrape ground debris over a major kill and flavor such with urine. Lion will lay up somewhat close and return to feed on the kill until it is consumed or until the meat spoils. Finding a covered kill usually indicates a lion presence close by and increases the chance of success.
6. Lion articulate growls, snarls, whistles, purrs and moany groans. The latter can be most useful to the hunter. Groans are most often used during the week or so when a female lion enters estrous. Both male and female lion use the groan as a locater device. Some researchers are convinced female lion enter estrous most often during the spring with the one to six cubs being born during the summer. Female lion that escape impregnation will enter estrous about every two months year round. Using the moany-mating grown mixed with distress calls can encourage success.
7. Cold calling to lion is difficult, but not impossible. Look for concentrations of mule deer and whitetail. Within the Southwest, javelina is a favored prey. Brushy canyon country can be dandy. The Kitsmiller lion was killed within transition woodlands (pinion & juniper), a favored wintering area for mule deer and elk.
8. I have called lion using mouth calls (both metal reed and plastic reed) but prefer the plastic as a cold weather call because it resists freezing. Plastic-reed calls, in my opinion, offer more versatility.
9. I have called lion using a battery-powered player of my own design or using e-calls. Many digital game call manufacturers offer a generous selection of distress sounds and lion-articulation sounds.
10. With the proper hit any of the centerfires will get the job done. Jerry Kitsmiller shot his lion with a .243 using an 80-grain softpoint bullet. My favored gun for lion calling is a .25-06 shooting 120-grain soft points. I prefer stouter calibers because the country I hunt also contains bear. I would rather go against a bear with a .25-06 than with a .17, even though I know the .25-06 is marginally adequate for a thick skinned blackie.