Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 33° Partly Cloudy

Outdoors blog

Elk hunter bags trophy of his dreams

Todd Klement of Spokane shot a cougar that stalked him while he was muzzleloader hunting for elk. (Courtesy)
Todd Klement of Spokane shot a cougar that stalked him while he was muzzleloader hunting for elk. (Courtesy)

HUNTING -- He didn't fill his elk tag this season, but muzzleloader-hunter Todd Klement says he bagged the trophy of a lifetime, and in a sense, the trophy of his dreams.

"This female about 80-pounds stalked me not because I was human but because I was on my cow call,' he said describing the photo above.

"I shot her at 34 yards through the front of the chest with her ears back. Biologist thinks she is a three year old.

"I was hyperventilating as the two of us had a five minute standoff. I was sitting on the ground at her level. Shot her at dark and we couldn't find her. No blood. No fur. I dreamed that night after going to bed doubting my shot. I dreamed I saw a tail on the forest floor.

"The next morning I told my hunting buddies I was going back for one last look. I was just about ready to give up and go elk hunting when something stopped me and I looked to my left 50 yards away and saw a tail coming out from beneath a tree. Unbelievable: I found her.

"She'd gone about 100 yards into some thick stuff with a round through her shoulder and chest before collapsing. Talk about emotional.

"A cougar crapped 6 feet from our motor home door two days later. It crapped right where I had salted up my cougar hide in the grass.

He said the hunt was full of irony.

"I had a cow permit and had a mature cow broadside at 50 yards second day of the hunt, but couldn't shoot her because the cow permit didn't open till the next day. Only elk I saw the whole week.

"Amazing week in the mountains. Just ignore the beer bottle in the back of the truck in the second picture. It was all celebratory."

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

Follow Rich online:

Go to the full Outdoors page