The first M77 rifles were shipped in the Summer/Fall of 1968. First calibers offered were the 22-250, 243 Win., 6mm Rem. And 308 Win.
Terry Wolosek, the M77 man, has collaborated with the Factory to have a special High Grade Commemorative M77 produced. There will only be 77 made and they will be serial numbered 7750-00001 thru 7750-00077. They are only available as a Classic Sporting Arms Exclusive. Contact Terry to reserve yours at 715-572-1030.
In field judging game, Jack O’Connor is often quoted: “The big ones always look big!” That quote is found at least in one place on page 326 in Hunting Big Game in North America. The December 1973 Petersen’s Hunting magazine contained an article titled “The Big Ones Look Big”.
I will remind myself of that many times on future hunts!
It was Friday, our last day to hunt. At 3:30 PM, I decided that the “Flaco Nueve” would be shot on sight. At 4:40, he stepped out of the brush, at about 125 yards, right where I had taken his picture some 5 hours earlier. I only put the binoculars on him long enough to ascertain that he had not broken off any points in the last 5 hours. Then I got my rifle into position with the steadiest rest I could in that old tripod.
This hunt all got started last July when I visited with Judge Joe Clayton in Tyler, Texas. I had gone to pick a supply of his new printing of the Ruger No.1 book. While admiring several of his whitetail mounts taken in South Texas and Mexico, the discussion naturally turned to deer hunting. Joe mentioned he had scheduled a Mexico hunt the first 5 days of January, 2008 and there might still be an opening.. I knew of the rains that nearly all of Texas received in the first 7 months of the year; I knew that rainfall is highly correlated to the number of B&C quality bucks taken in that year. It had to be a super year for taking big bucks in South Texas and Mexico. In anticipation, I had entered the Los Cazadores Big Buck Contest in Pearsall in December. I was returning from a trip to the Chaparral WMA. I also signed up for the Los Cuernos de Tejas Contest at Carrizo Springs.
Jack O’Connor wrote in the October, 1966 issue of Outdoor Life about the introduction and his testing of the new Ruger No.1 single shot rifle. He concluded the article with these words: “I am going to try to sneak enough dough out of the budget for a Ruger No.1. It is to be a light, handy rifle for a lazy old man to hunt sheep with. I think it will be a 7×57, a 270, or a 280 with a 4x scope and a 24 or 26-in. barrel to weigh about 8 pounds complete. I wouldn’t want anything better!”(1)
Over 10 years later, J O’C wrote in Petersen’s Hunting magazine an article titled Sheep Rifles: Fast, Flatand Accurate-With a Punch.(2) He wrote: “A rifle that I have had my eye on and would like to take on a sheep hunt is a Ruger No.1 single shot in .270, .280 or 7×57. Because it does not have the long receiver, a No.1 with a 24-inch barrel is about 4-inches shorter than a bolt-action rifle with a 22-inch barrel”
Magazine advertisements featuring the No.1 rifle were first printed in 1967. An example of the first ad is featured below.
The last sentence, “Our comprehensive brochure awaits your inquiry” has always intrigued me. What did you get as a “comprehensive brochure” if you wrote for it?? After many years of searching, I have obtained a copy of what I believe was mailed out. It was basically and order form. The copy is presented below.
From 1967 until the end of 1969, a purchaser basically “custom ordered” their Ruger No.1, by specifying caliber, barrel weight and length, forearm style and sighting equipment: ie, no sights, sights, or target scope blocks.
In early 1970, the available calibers and configurations were standardized with those we still use today; the 1A, 1S, 1B, 1V and 1H.
In the order they were presented, these rifles were called the Light Sporter, Medium Sporter, Standard Rifle, Special Varminter and Tropical Rifle. To be continued.
At the 1966 NRA Convention & Exhibits in Chicago, Illinois, a select group of Writers and Editors were invited to a private meeting for the introduction of the Ruger No.1.
Either 3 or 4 Prototype rifles were shown to the attendees. Below is a copy of the Invitation sent, courtesy of my friend Don Findley. Don is Historian for the Ruger Owners & Collectors Society, Inc.(www.rugersociety.com) and has an extensive collection of Ruger papers.
The photo below was taken at Corbin Park, also called the Blue Mountain Forest and Game Preserve and/or the Blue Mountain Forest Association. The Park is very near Newport, New Hampshire. Pictured R-L, Ed Nolan (Ruger Sales Manager), Bill Ruger, Robert E. Petersen (Petersen Publishing), Knieland Wheeler (Blue Mountain Forrest Assoc. Caretaker). Man with Ruger No.1 rifle is not identified. Photo was most likely taken Fall 1966 at Corbin Park. Thanks to Mr. Howard Avery for furnishing and the use of this photo.
I would think that everyone with a serious interest in the Ruger No.1 rifle, whether collecting, shooting or hunting, would have a copy of this book.
But, did you know there are 5 different editions?
1st Edition -Numbered-500 copies
1st Edition -Trade
1st Edition -Leather-100 copies
1st Edition -Special Leather-100 copies, but JDC believes only about 10 were made up. This Edition only has green leather (4.5″x7″) on the front with Title & Author. The binding appears to be a fine weave grey cloth
I have been told there were only 2000 copies printed in the 1st Edition.
If you have any of the first 4 Editions, consider yourself fortunate. I would also expect the Journal Supplement to be quite scarce!
Photos below are: Below-Books, Left to Right; a 1st Edition without the dust jacket,the rare green leather title edition, the leather edition, the latest softcover reprint, with the covers same as the original dust jacket. NOTE-See Books for Sale to order a 2nd Printing Softcover. The 2nd and 3rd Photos are the front and back of the 1984 RCA Journal Supplement.
An 8 page RCA 1984 Journal Supplement was also printed advertising and promoting the book. This Journal Supplement is the only place that the Cover Rifle pictured on the DJ is identified as a .222 Remington with the 200th Year Anniversary barrel marking. Also noted is that it is one of two such rifles in existence.
It was a beautiful October day in the Big Hole area of Montana. The Elk season was underway so Don Hartmann and a hunting buddy Bob Perkins decided to hunt in the area southwest of Wisdom. Don had picked a location in the Cow creek area. He was scouting along a ridge overlooking Cow creek and he spotted a Bull Elk across the draw on the next ridge. The rifle Don was using was a Ruger No 1 with a twenty-two inch barrel, Alex Henry forearm and no sights in 7mm Rem Mag. It was equipped with a quarter rib and scoped with a 2×7 Leupold. Don had the scope set on 4 power and as he sighted the Elk in the crosshair he could not quite make out the full rack because of the trees. Don estimated the range at 400 to 500 yards so he held the crosshair at the top of the Elks back. He took the shot and saw the Elk disappear in the brush. Don hiked down the ridge and across the draw and up the other side to where he thought the Elk was. As he approached the spot the Elk got up and staggered about 50 feet and collapsed. Upon examination Don saw that he had shot the Elk right through the rib cage. The bullet had passed through both sides making a clean kill. It was a huge 6 point bull and was one of the largest Elk Don had ever taken. Don was very pleased with the rifle he was using and decided he would like to purchase it or one like it.
Well, you probably think this is just another hunting article, what is the big deal? As Paul Harvey says here ís the rest of the story. During my thirty some years of collecting Ruger No1 rifles you hear all kinds of stories but very few that are verifiable, this one is.
While conversing with a friend, Kelly Lorge of Bowman ND a few months ago this story came to life. Kelly had been to a gun show in Glendive MT where he met Don and first heard the story. Kelly found out that Don also collected Ruger No.1’s and had a couple of early non-prefix rifles. Kelly gave me Don’s phone number so I could get the story first hand from him.
I called Don and he related the story to me and told me he had documentation to prove it and would send it to me. The letter arrived about a week later and was I astonished.
If you are knowledgeable about the early Ruger No.1’s we know that it was announced in late 1966 but the earliest production rifles were not shipped until April 1967.
Don’s hunt took place in October 1966, so what was he using?
Larry Koller from Monroe NY who was the Supervising Editor of Guns and Hunting magazine and a very good friend of Bill Ruger in 1966. Larry was a very popular gun writer during this period so he was loaned one of the prototype Ruger No1 rifles to test and comment upon. Larry took the rifle with him to Montana that year for range testing and hunting. Larry had to return home early for some unexpected reason and did not get to hunt with the rifle. Larry left the rifle with his good friend R.D.Shipley to use on an Elk hunt that fall. Ship, his nickname had several other rifles and decided not to use the rifle, so asked his friend Don if he would like to use it. Don was elated to try out the new rifle.
Now for Don’s proof of the story…
Letter to Mr Don Hartmann, Miles City, MT dated December 2 1966 from Larry Koller, Letterhead GUNS and HUNTING from Seven Springs Rd Monroe, New York
Just had a note from Ship telling me that you killed a good bull elk with the Ruger S.S. which is just great. Hope you got some pix for me. If so, I would appreciate your sending me the negs so we can make the right blow-ups. Ship says also that you want to buy the Ruger. I’m sorry; it just isn’t possible for that particular one. In fact, I can’t even get it myself. It’s a first pilot model with the light barrel and in 7mm Magnum so they really want it back for further test purposes. I’ll get you one just as soon as they are available if you will write me just what you want: barrel length and weight, caliber and forend style. The price will be right, don’t worry. I will appreciate it if you will ship the Ruger back directly to: Ed Nolan, Sturm-Ruger, Inc., Southport, Conn. And ship it express collect, insured for $2000. Nolan originally asked me to have you insure it for one grand but I just now talked to him on the phone and he said to make it two. I do want to thank you once again for your kindness in giving us the hunting courtesy on your ranch and, most of all the pleasure and fun of your company.
Don shipped the rifle back to Sturm Ruger as instructed in Larry Kollers’ letter and received the following document as his receipt.
Invoice for Ruger No. 1, Prototype X-1
Original Invoice from STURM, RUGER & CO., Inc. Southport, Connecticut 06490
Sold To Don Hartmann 12/20/66 Powderville Stage Miles City, Montana 59301
Date Received: December 16,1966 Our Invoice No 28979
RUGER #1 RIFLE CAL 7 MM SERIAL NO _______ 1 ON LOAN CREDIT
(RETURNED FROM ON LOAN) ITEM COMPLETE
Now there is not always a happy ending to every story. The sad part is that Mr Larry Koller passed away unexpectedly at a young age in Aug. 1967. And to this writers knowledge did not write the article about the hunt.
What is the distinction about the Ruger No.1 rifle that Don Hartmann hunted with? It was PROTOTYPE RIFLE NO. X-1, the first Tool Room model.
This should not be confused with the production SN 1 which is a 30-06 caliber, 22 inch barrel Alex Henry forearm and factory sight’s or currently as model 1A. Don later purchased a 4 digit Ruger No.1 in 7mm Mag, 22 inch barrel, Alex Henry forearm, quarter rib rings just like the Prototype he used in 1966 and still hunts with it.
The configuration of the Prototype No X1 was made only in the non-prefix rifles and was not standardized. There are currently 23 rifles known in this configuration starting at SN 70 to SN 5529. The projected total made for this model is 107 of a total production of approximately 8000 non-prefix rifles. If any reader can furnish any further information about Ruger No 1’s please contact this writer or Classic Sporting Arms.
When I originally wrote this article I did not know that there was more information for the story. When I conversed with Don Hartmann during the months that followed he told me he had photographs of the Ruger No.1 X1 Prototype rifle and the October 1966 hunt.
I inquired if he could send me some duplicate photographs that I could use for a revised article in the future. Don said he didn’t have access to any photographic facilities at the time but said he would be glad to send me his original album of black and white photographs so I could get the duplicates made.
I was able to get two complete sets of duplicate photos made from his originals and had some of them colorized to bring them up to date.
I sent Don a complete set of new photographs along with his original photos and he was very appreciative for them and the color photos.
When I received the photographs I was surprised to actually see the very first Prototype Ruger No.1 rifle. The original Ruger X-1 prototype rifle had a 22 inch light barrel with no Quarter Rib. The Scope was mounted in a set of Rings unlike any I had Ever seen. There were two separate scope blocks on the barrel.
The barrel band was also a lot wider than the standard barrel band on the Production rifles. The Checkering pattern on the buttstock was also different from the first Production models. The Checkering pattern on the X-1 prototype had a two pointed pattern on the pistol grip. A similar pattern like this was used on the Ruger No.1 model celebrating one hundred years of the 30-06 cartridge.
The forearm checkering looked very similar to the first production models. During the years after I found the information on this rifle I have inquired Several times to the factory records and other sources to determine the whereabouts of the rifle but to no avail.
Don later acquired a new production Ruger No.1 SN 4192 of his own. The Rifle was an AH configuration in 7 Mag with 22 inch barrel and Quarter Rib with Horizontal Rings. Don hunted with his rifle many years then sold it to a friend who is a Ruger No.1 collector.
Final Chapter of this Story:
Carl Ross has informed me that Don Hartmann passed away on October 18, 2009, at the age of 79.Don Hartmann was a collector of Ruger No.1 rifles. He is the only person known to have hunted with X-1 Prototype No.1 rifle.
At the 2009 NRA Convention in Phoenix, my cousin(Dr. Bob Collard) and I visited with Kelly Glenn-Kimbro at the Ruger exhibit. Kelly’s father, Warner, was also at Phoenix and I met him. Bob is from Silver City, NM and had hunted lion with Warner and Kelly several years previous.
I have said several times that I could spend the rest of my hunting time on whitetails and be perfectly satisfied. However when pushed about some other hunt, a good lion is first on my list. Also, I just happen to have the perfect place for one in my library!
At Phoenix, Bob and I decided to ask Kelly if we could get on her cancellation list. A year and a half goes by and no chances. In November of last year, I began to think that maybe we should just book a hunt. The first week of December, we hosted Mike Fifer, President and CEO of Ruger, for a whitetail hunt. I mentioned the cancellation list and said after a year and a half, I thought I might just as well and go ahead and book the hunt with Kelly and Warner. Mike let me know that they were booked 5 years out! Well, 5 years from now, I think I might just be too old to set a mule.
What a surprise when Kelly called just after Christmas; we were on for a hunt.
So, how do I get in some kind of shape for this effort in 6 weeks? February 6, 2011 is the start date of the hunt.
In Jack O’Connor’s TheBig Game Animals of North America, the Chapter onThe Mountain Lion contains several quotable sentences: “Even in country where the mountain lion is common, it is very rare that one is seen unless it’s put up a tree or otherwise bayed by dogs.”
“Of all the large American mammals, the mountain lion is the shyest, most furtive, and most difficult to encounter.”
“Catching a glimpse of him is made all the more difficult because he is almost entirely nocturnal. Generally, he does not begin to hunt until dusk, and shortly after dawn he lies up in some secluded spot.”
“Few types of hunting excel lion hunting in anticipation. The hunter who knows his dogs can, by their actions, tell pretty well how old the scent is and what the lion was doing, and he’ll have a pretty fair notion about where the lion is heading. From the distant sounds he can tell when it is treed, if it makes a stand against a cliff and is fighting the dogs off. He can tell the voice of one dog from another, and he has fairly accurate ideas about the noses and intelligence of his various dogs.”
“And lion hunting is by no means easy. In the rugged mountains of the Southwest, even the dude hunter who is paying for the show usually has to do some desperate horseback riding over country so rough it is incredible.” “When the Lee brothers took paying guests out lion hunting, one of the older Lee’s used to stay with the dude and try to keep him within sound of the pack, but the youngest Lee, Dale, stayed right with the dogs, running up hill and down, through some of the roughest country on the continent.”
“The great sport of lion hunting is following the wonderful dogs through wild and beautiful country. The actual shooting is generally very easy.”
“I have done in only one lion with my own fair hands, and that was in the early twenties.” O’Connor used a ’92 Winchester carbine in .25/20; the location is not specifically noted, but surely was in southern Arizona.
Craig Boddington’s book Campfires and Game Trails has a chapter on The Great Cats. Craig hunted with Marvin(Kelly’s Grandfather) and Warner Glenn prior to the books publication in 1985, There are 4 photos in the chapter of this hunt; Craig with his lion, the cat loaded on the mule, Craig with the dogs, and a tom lion scratch. Craig caught his lion in the Chiricahuas north of Douglas, Arizona.
“It’s tough hunting and the Glenn’s make no guarantee. It’s also extremely rewarding hunting, and those Arizona mountains are my favorite hunting country. My Arizona cougar came surprisingly easy; some trappers gave us a tip about a javelina freshly killed by a cougar. We trailered the mules as far as we could, rode in to the designated place and Jaws, their big black-and-tan strike dog, found the scent. The lion was laid up nearby. The pack jumped him, and after a couple of miles of pell-mell chase, he treed in a big pine.”
Both O’Connor and Boddington make the points that lions are generally shot at close range, are not hard to kill and that cartridges like the .22 Magnum, .22 Hornet, .25/20, etc have killed many a lion. Boddington notes that “It is important to place the shot carefully. A wounded cougar isn’t to be taken lightly even if he poses no great threat to you–and that isn’t a certainty. He can do a lot of damage to a prized pack of hounds, and do it very quickly.”
I have selected a Ruger No.1A in .357 Magnum and a Blackhawk .357 to take on this hunt. (Click on any of the photos and they will enlarge!)
The No.1 is one of the unmarked over runs from the California Highway Patrol edition of 1982. Generally it is thought by Collectors that less than 200 were made. The .357 Flattop is a 4XXX range 1st variation. It has some very old and thick after market stags fitted. Both were sighted with the Hornady 125 grain XTP. The No.1 will shoot one hole groups at 25 yards. I figured I was good with the Flattop to about 7-8 yards.
Bob and I were to be at the Glenn’s Malpai Ranch by 5:00PM on Saturday, the 5th of February. I left home at 1:30AM that morning. Met Cousin Collard at Lordsburg, NM about 1:00PM and we had lunch. Turned off I10 at Road Forks, NM and took US 80 all the way to Douglas. We stopped to look at a marker along the way noting Geronimo’s surrender at Skeleton Canyon in September, 1886. We would see Skeleton Canyon again on the 4th day of hunting, having come in the long and rough way!
Made it to Douglas and then out Geronimo Trail to Warner and Wendy Glenn’s Malpai Ranch. Here is the sign at the turn off!
Bob and I met Warner and Scotty at the stables, met Wendy(Mrs. Glenn) at the house; we unloaded our gear, had dinner and turned in early. We were to get up at 4:00AM the next morning, with breakfast at 4:30. Kelly had an obligation in town and did not arrive at the Ranch until after we had turned in.
The morning routine after breakfast was to get the mules saddled and loaded, let the dogs out and have their run(to “empty out” as Warner said), load the dogs and our gear and we were off. It was an hour to an hour and a half to the east on Geronimo Trail to the Peloncillos. It would usually be light enough to see, but well before sunrise. The 1st day we turned up Estes Canyon. The hunting party was Warner and Kelly, my cousin(Dr. F. R. Collard) from Silver City, New Mexico, and Scotty Dieringer of Safford, Arizona. Scotty is a 17 year old cowboy and experienced lion hunter. He had brought his two dogs, Berdie and Spook. And then, as O’Connor notes, the “dude”; me!
Scotty loading the Pack Mule
This was at a windmill and stock tank. We had just unloaded and Scotty was loading the pack mule. Mostly water for the dogs was in the packsaddles. We would water the dogs about 3-4 times a day on those trips were we found no surface water.
Kelly Tying My Rifle on Mariah
Long Way Across the Canyon
Warner and Scotty Listening For Dogs
Kelly On The Trail
The “Dude” and Mariah;1st Get Off Rest Stop
View From the Back of a Mule
More Really Rugged Mountains
A Long Way Down and Over There
On the way up Estes Canyon, early in the hunt, the dogs got on a scent and took off to the left side of the Canyon. We all pulled out to keep up, but the track played out pretty quick, Was exciting for a few moments though. We rode all the way up Estes and topped out; then down into a very grassy basin. The dogs picked up another track here but it was too old to do anything with. We started to make a big circle to head back out and jumped a good Coues buck. This was the only day we actually stopped to eat our lunches. Guess Bob and I needed the “Rest Stop”! On the way out, we ran in to several mama cows with new calves; like 3 or 4 days old. One seemed to be missing it’s baby, so your 1st thought is that a cat caught it. Warner, Kelly and Scotty spent several minutes looking for it; Bob and I rested. Time to head back and we went into some really rough and rocky country. I had to get off and lead Mariah for several hundred yards; just about wore me out. There was just one big descent left to get back to the trucks and trailers. Kelly said it was really rough and steep; we would have to lead our mount for a ways. Kelly and Scotty went off; Warner led Bob and I a longer, slightly easier way around. We were back at the Ranch after dark.
Bob has been nursing a hip problem and he opted out on the 2nd day. We went back to Estes Canyon and rode straight up to where we had turned around the 1st day. We then made a big circle back to our left. Was a much easier ride this day, but the dogs hit no lion scent, Just a short time fooling with what Warner thought to be a bobcat. This was the longest day in the saddle; we must have ridden over 15 miles!
Scenery from 2nd Day; Impressive Rock
Scotty and Warner Looking off into a Really Deep Canyon
The “Dude” on Blanca; a Good Mule!
Down a Rough, Steep Trail
The Trail Boss and the “Dude” at a Rest Stop
Bob was back in the saddle with us on the 3rd day. We were going up Hog Canyon.
Coronado National Forest Trail Sign
The wind was really blowing hard today when we got out of the lower canyon. When we were heading into the wind, the mules could barely make any forward progress! Hog Canyon was where Warner and Kelly found the jaguar in 1996. Also, note this is the hard way to Skeleton Canyon. This brings up visions of Geronimo and Cochise! Kelly and Scotty split off to the right with 2 dogs and Warner, Bob and I went up the Canyon Trail. Wasn’t long until Kelly radioed that the dogs were on a track. We pulled off the trail and went to them. After we got on the top, the dogs really lit up and headed off into a deep hole. Scotty took of his jacket, chaps and spurs and bailed off the mountain after them. I am thinking-now how am I going to get down there if I need to?? To make a shorter story out of a long day, we didn’t catch the cat; couple of dogs got lost and Warner and Scotty spent a couple of hours gathering up the dogs. We went back out down Hog Canyon; wind still blowing hard!
The Dogs Checked Out Every Rock!
Bob and I; the Wind Blew Really Hard All Day.
This was the only day of the hunt that we had this kind of wind.
The 4th day, we rode the trail all the way up Hog Canyon and topped out. We were on top of the Peloncillos and could see a very long way; all the way to the mouth of Skeleton Canyon. To return, it was a long ride circling back to our left on the western rim of the Peloncillos.
Heading In; Riding Began to Get Better On the 4th Day
We could see the Chiricahuas and the Basin where the Malpai Ranch was . We went by Chester Wells and Chester Bluffs, which would be a big part of the 9th day hunt. A very recognizable landmark from this high is College Peak; formerly known as Nellie’s Nipple. Easy to see why!
College Peak; Formerly Known as Nellie’s Nipple
After 4 days in the Peloncillos, we were going to head west and go north on the 5th day to the Pedregosa Range. This meant we would be getting up at 3:00AM and trailering the mules for over 2 hours. Bob stayed at the Ranch today, as he would also on the 7th and 9th day. Scotty’s horse bumped a back leg loading in the trailer this morning and he ended up riding the pack mule this day. We were in cattle country and water tanks were available for the dogs. A beautiful and interesting ride this day. By about 10:00 we were on a track. I will mention here that anytime the dogs hit a scent, Warner and Kelly are both off their mules looking for a track to get an indication of what the dogs have scented, whether it is a bobcat, coati mundi, a female lion or tom, and which way it is going! The dogs take off again today; Kelly could never find a track, so we were just not totally sure what it was. There was one heck of a chase going on. Warner and Scotty stayed with the dogs; Kelly was in radio contact. We were in Pryon Canyon and the dogs were hot on something. Warner radioed that all were headed back our way. Kelly told me to get my rifle out and take a shot when it came by. We never saw anything and Warner sheepishly decided the dogs were on a coyote!
The 6th day we were up at 3:00AM again and headed to the Chiricahuas and Rucker Canyon. This was a long day. Kelly had told me in our 1st e-mail that I would be sore from the riding and after the 3rd day it would began to get better. Well, it does! I could barely tell it was better on the 4th day, but by the 5th and 6th days, I was doing pretty good. My knees would get numb and sore after 3-4 hours in the saddle and it would take a few steps after dismounting the mule to get my legs limbered up.
Bob and His Good Mule Redkit
Water Time for the Dogs!
Bob Found a Good Place to Rest His Hip
Most of the Time, It Was Not This Flat!
It got Rougher and Steeper Coming In
We circled up Devil’s Canyon, down Kid Canyon and then down Bruno. At the day’s end, we found a big tom track in Rucker Canyon. The dogs could not do much with it, but we would be back here at daylight the next morning. Kid Canyon was apparently so named because the Apache Kid hid out here. Search and you will find an interesting Apache-Arizona history story from the 1880′s.
The 7th day we were back in Rucker Canyon, trying to guess where this tom lion had gone last night. The dogs got on a trail early; Warner and Scotty jumped the lion off this bluff.
The Lion Came off This; Warner and Scotty Came Down On the Left
An interesting bit of Arizona-Apache history is here as Camp Rucker was active camp in the 1879-1880 Apache Campaigns. Lt Anthony Rucker was Commander of C Company of the Apache Scouts. He drowned in 1879 in this flooded creek trying to save his friend and fellow Apache Scout Commander, Lt. Henley. Both drowned. Do an Internet search and you will find the whole story. Will also note that Kelly’s 2011 Poster(from SHOT) was taken at the Camp Rucker ruins.
Down in the Creek, Kelly decided the cat was a small female; we lost it. There were big trees all along the creek, so we all rode through looking up, just to be sure the lion was not high up in a tree. Kelly looked everywhere for tracks.
Just Where Did This Lion Go??
There’s the Smile; We Quit the Track!
The 8th Day, we were back in the Chiiricahuas; another 3:00AM wake-up call. This was a pretty easy day. We made a ride up the Turtle Mountain Trail and down the John Long Canyon. Dogs made a couple of short runs, but we couldn’t get on a track to do any good. This was a most scenic ride down John Long. Here was the biggest Ponderosa pines that I saw on the trip.
The Dogs Really Enjoyed the Water When We Found It
This is the “Dude” on Minnie, Another Good Mule
The Mules Liked the Water Too, When We Found It
It Was Not Flat and Smooth All Day
The 9th Day; Valentines Day! We went back to the Peloncillos, so there was an extra hour of sleep. Warner and Scotty got out and took 6 dogs and went up Wood Canyon, where Warner, Bob and I had come out the 1st afternoon. Kelly and I went on a couple of miles more on Geronimo Trail, parked the truck and trailer and went up Estes Canyon. We had 2 dogs, Raisin and Gringo. It was just about sunrise. Pretty soon up the trail, Kelly noted a tom lion scratch, actually two, one going up and one coming down. They had been made since we were here on the 1st and 2nd days of the hunt. After going up the trail a little farther, we pulled out on the left and started cutting the smaller canyons. Raisin and Gringo got on a track, but it was so rocky that Kelly was not sure what we had or if we were backtrailing. After 10-15 minutes of following the dogs, the dogs were back at Geronimo Trail. They bailed off a bluff that we could not ride the mules off of. We hurriedly took a shortcut back to the Road and found Raisin; we could not find Gringo, nor could we hear him. In the soft dirt of the Road, Kelly found a good tom lion track; it was made last night and we were going in the right direction.
Where the Lion Came Off the Bluff to the Road
Kelly radioed Warner; he and Scotty had not hit anything, so they came as fast as they could with their 6 dogs. Still no Gringo! The tom crossed the Road and looked to be headed up Hog Canyon. Warner and Scotty took the 7 dogs and tried to find the trail. The lion came off the Bluff just to the right of the big rock. The track( a perfect one; I could even see it!) was in the Road at the big rock. The dogs took off up and out of the left side(West) of the Canyon.
Coming Out of Hog Canyon on the Track
More Hog Canyon!
More Hog Canyon!
We all followed, out over the top and down into another deep and steep canyon. We could see the Chester Bluffs.
This is What the Dogs Came Down
Looking Near Straight Down From Chester Bluffs
This was off to our right when we lost Raisin and Berdie.
Raisin and Berdie Went Out Over This
We are all riding along trying to figure out where to go next; we realize Raisin and Berdie are not with us. They both just disappeared without a sound. Now we have lost 3 dogs, as we haven’t come up on Gringo yet. We all head off up this “little” hill and top out, looking and listening for Raisin and Berdie. I don’t even know which way Warner went, but Scotty went left and Kelly and I went right when we topped out. We ride a long way and are getting back to Hog Canyon.
I Think This Is the Top of the Rock From Where We First Saw the Lion
Kelly walks out to the rim to listen; I am with our 2 mules and the pack mule. I hear Kelly say over her radio “Ihear the dogs bayed.” It was Raisin and Berdie. I gather all 3 mules and start leading them to her, as I figure we are in for more riding. About the time I get to Kelly, we hear Warner on the radio “I see the lion.” He tells us where the lion is; I get my rifle and we head to the edge of this bluff. Kelly looks over and snaps these 2 photos:
The Lion is on the Left; One Dog Upper right
Kelly Took This Photo, But This Lion Was Looking Up Just Like This When I Got To the Edge of the Bluff
Kelly told me to step right up to the edge of the bluff and I could see the tom; she said Warner was off to the right of the dogs down on their level. I slipped up to the edge; “Kelly, I don’t see the lion.” She said “Go closer to the edge!” I moved another step closer and there he was, just as you see in the above photo. He was on a rock about 25-30 yards below us; the dogs and Warner were another 20 yards below the lion. Looking near straight down, the photos offer no depth perception. I could see Warner on his mule far enough off to the right that I could shoot at the lion without any danger to him. Another problem! The sun was directly above, reflecting in my ocular lens; I could see nothing through the Leupold 2×7, set on 4X. I told Kelly to lay her hat along side my head and scope to shade the lens. I have no recollection whether I had a rest of any kind or how close I was to the edge! When I shot, the lion flopped off the rock to the left and fell another 20 yards to where the dogs and Warner was. He was DRT. I looked at my watch; it was 2:40 PM. We had been on his trail over 7 hours! It took us 40 minutes to get off the top of the bluff and down to the level where Warner, the dogs and the lion were. Then, as we just started down the steep slope, we look back and there is Scotty’s horse, dragging his reins, and his dog Spook, coming down the trail behind us. That was a bit scary, until Warner told us that Scotty was with him. Scotty could hear the radio traffic, but was not at the scene when the shot came. Hearing the shot, he dropped his spurs and chaps and bailed off the mountain to get to the lion and the dogs. His horse and other dog decided to follow Kelly and I. We could not lead Troubador down, so Kelly tied his reins up, put him in front of me and I drove him off the mountain to where the lion was.
Troubador Coming Off the Mountain
The Lion is Caught and Raisin is Resting!
I Shot From On Top of the Rock Behind Us
I shot from the large “V” on the left; the lion was down on the lower ledge, and he ended up down at this level. It was not flat up on top of that rock!
Look At the Size of That Tom’s Foot!
We Had to Get Warner In A Picture
Warner, Kelly & Scotty with Raisin & Berdie-the 2 Lost Dogs That Bayed the Lion!
Scotty and Berdie;Young Cowboy, Good Dog
Kelly, Warner and I all used our cameras to take the photos; we took a lot! Right in the middle of my camera being used, I was introduced to a new aspect of technology- my card was full! After picture taking, Warner gutted the lion; we were interested to know what his last kill was. It was a javelina. Now was time to load this tom on the pack mule and head out down Hog Canyon. Kelly covered up the mules eyes with her hat and the rest of us loaded him in the pack saddle and tied him in good!
Lion Loaded and Headed Out
Heading Down Hog Canyon
It took a couple of hours to get back to the Road and the sun was going down.
Moon Over What Could be Outlaw Peak?
Rough Rocks on East Side of Hog Canyon
We did find Gringo, right where we had last seen him 10 hours earlier.
This was absolutely the hardest, most exciting , and adventurous hunt I ever expect to have in my lifetime!
Douglas, Arizona Vicinity Map
Hog Canyon is the orange mark, just above Estes Canyon, on the lower right of the map.
One night as we finished dinner, Warner remarked that he had been asked how many more years that he would be hunting lions in these mountains? He replied:“I guess until Kelly gets too old to go hunting with me anymore”.
A last photo that you may have seen on TV.
Sign at Entrance to Coronado National Forest
We saw no Smugglers or Illegals in 9 days in the mountains. We did see some trash and debris left on the trails. What we did see was a tremendous presence by our Border Patrol. Know that these men and women are working hard for you. Gabrielle Giffords gets great credit making this increased Border Patrol activity happen. Please pray for her continued recovery and rehabilitation.
I would suppose that anyone visiting this Website with any interest in Rugers would know that Kelly has been representing Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. with advertisements and at Trade Shows since at least 1988. The advertisement with the Mini-30 in 1988 is the first I am aware off. That was the poster given out at the 1988 NRA Convention in Orlando, Florida. I was there and got an autographed one!!
The most recent poster, from the 2011 SHOT Show. Kelly is holding the new LC9 and the Gunsite Scout model in .308.
Kelly Glenn-Kimbro 2011 SHOT Poster
For all of you men(and women) and boys and girls who have only met Kelly at SHOT or the NRA Convention, where this always smiling, gracious lady listens to all your Ruger stories, answers all your questions, signs your posters(usually several, for all your friends back home), let me tell you, Kelly Glenn-Kimbro is the “Real Deal”!! She rides a mule and hunts mountain lion in really, really rough country right up there with her father, Warner. And, Warner Glenn is a legend! For those of you who have not seen this, you cannot imagine it; for those who have been there, you know what I mean.
Kelly’s 2011 NRA Postyer
Kelly’s 2011 NRA Poster, Back Side
Couple of years ago, Kelly put together a book.
The Front Cover of Kelly’s Book
Kelly caught(and shot) this lion on the cover!
Some may recall Warner Glenn’s book, EYES of FIRE, Encounter with a Borderlands Jaguar, from 1996. This is a fascinating read!
EYES of FIRE, Cover
The best part of the story is on page 8 when Warner realizes that the dogs are not on the trail of a big tom lion, but a jaguar! Page 9; “Jaguars are notorious for killing dogs”, and Warner’s great efforts to get the dogs off and away from the jaguar!