Behind the Photo
Things aren’t always the way they seem. You may be wondering how Dad managed to safely get a pack of hunting dogs and a mountain lion together just in time to snap the photo. Simple. He used a stuffed mountain lion.
Dad knew he wanted to capture a shot of this impressive cat, but he also knew it would be next to impossible to pull off the photo he had in mind with a living cat. Enter the local taxidermist.
Dad knew his taxidermist would be able to find a stuffed mountain lion for him. He’d just have to convince the fellow to let him “rent” the stuff cat.
As it turns out, the taxidermist had just been given a mountain lion. He and Dad agreed on a $500 rental fee. Dad created a giant plywood transport box and the cat was ready for the big photo adventure.
Dad knew exactly where he wanted to shoot the photo—at Vermejo Park Ranch’s Castle Rock in New Mexico. But he needed a little help finding the hunting dogs. One of his connections at the ranch knew just the fellow. He had a pack of trained big game hunting dogs.
On the day of the shoot, Dad got the mountain lion on top of the rock formation and employed a little trickery. He tied a monofilament line to the lion’s paw. Every so often Dad would have the assistant who was stationed behind the rock tug the wire to make the dogs think they’d cornered a live cat. The baying from the hounds was deafening. Dad began shooting furiously. He had about 10 minutes shooting time before it got too dark.
Upon his arrival home, Dad returned not only the mountain lion, but he also brought a picture for the taxidermist. The fellow was so impressed that Dad had such an amazing photo, he actually returned $250 of the $500 rental fee. Apparently the taxidermist didn’t believe Dad could pull off such a crazy photo idea. But he now agreed. Dad nailed it and another piece of the Old West came to life.