Mitch Nau's Comstock, Texas Mountain Lion
Introduction: Welcome to Laguna Costa Radio, featuring interviews with authentic anglers and hunters from around the globe, and brought to you by Laguna Costa Outfitters, purveyors of sweet threads for the salty soul. Check us out at lagunacosta.com.
Dink Murphey: Okay. Hey, Dink Murphey here with Laguna Costa, Laguna Costa Radio, and I've got Mitch Nau on the line with me, and we have been trying to hook up for a good while now. Mitch, you there?
Mitch Nau: Yes sir, I'm here.
Dink Murphey: Man, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us on Laguna Costa Radio.
Mitch Nau: Love [crosstalk 00:01:00]
Dink Murphey: Mitch, you're kind of famous, in social media anyway, but we're going to get to the mountain lion here in a minute, but tell us just a little bit about yourself if you don't mind.
Mitch Nau: Okay. I grew up in Spring, Texas, just out of Houston. I've been hunting out in west Texas pretty much my whole life. Grew up, went to Texas A&M, actually played baseball there for four years. Came back, worked for the family business now. Every hunting season, I head out to the canyons out west and that's where this whole thing took place.
Dink Murphey: Texas A&M, okay. I went to the other Texas university over in Austin. We better get off that subject real quick.
Hey man, tell us about the cat. Were you specifically going out to hunt the mountain lion, or was that a byproduct of another hunt? Tell us a little bit about that.
Mitch Nau: Yeah. We really weren't hunting at all. We went down there, it was late September, we went down there and we're on an MLD plan out there, so we start up October first. We went out there, just to get all our jeeps running, get everything squared away. We had some customers coming down next weekend. We were trying to get everything working and working order, and we decided we'd worked enough and we'd mix a drink and go just ride around the ranch. I just happened to, I just bought a Howa .22-250, and nobody else has a gun with them and I just threw it in there, I figured I'd go pop off a couple rounds somewhere, just to try out the new gun.
We pulled up on the ledge, it's kind of like a lookout spot, on our ranch. If you've got somebody that hadn't been out in that part of the state or anything, you always pull up there, watch the sunset, whatever. We pulled up there and the guy I was with, he had a pistol with him and he popped a couple rounds off in the bottom of the canyon. Sure enough, here came that cat out of the bottom, running straight away from us.
Dink Murphey: What part of the country was this, this was in the Comstock area, or outside of Comstock, Texas?
Mitch Nau: Yeah, it's actually ... I think we're 17 miles out of Comstock down 1024 towards Pandale.
Dink Murphey: And somebody not familiar with that area, like myself, what would be some of the closest bigger towns if you will?
Mitch Nau: Del Rio is the closest town, right by Lake Amistad, so right on the border. Then you go north northwest of Del Rio, and you end up in the wonderful metropolis of Comstock.
Dink Murphey: Comstock. Tell everybody, you mentioned MLD property for those who aren't familiar with that, what is that exactly?
Mitch Nau: It's just a managed state property. We'll file for state tags every year. The deer we shoot off of that property are not coming off of our individual license. It's more of a Texas parks and wildlife managed property. You have to meet your quota every year for that. It's just something that helps us maintain our deer herd. We got 50,000 acres out there. It'd be tough to do just on allotted tags for an individual person.
It's something that they do to help land owners out.
Dink Murphey: Back to the mountain lion. Are there a lot of mountain lions? I've hunted different parts of Texas and I've certainly heard them before, I have never seen one, but I certainly hear them fairly often. Are there a lot of them out there in that area? Have they had problems with the mountain lion in the area, were people on the ranch or in that county appreciative of your harvest? Tell us about that.
Mitch Nau: I know that they ... We border the [Neches 05:28] River, and I know they travel that river corridor and go down into Mexico and all. I know that's fairly common for the guys that have ranches on that river corridor, to see them or have problems with them and their goats. That's big goat country out there. I know I've heard of that. My father's been hunting this piece of property since '83, and neither him nor anybody that he knows has ever seen one on our property.
I would say that rare would be an understatement for us. To see one in broad daylight without using a trap or dogs or anything like that. Yeah, the ranch owner, as soon as he got word of it, he came out. Actually, it was the ranch manager, I'm sorry. Came out, and met us out there on the ranch, and was absolutely ecstatic about it. He's been ranching that country for, I don't even know how long, so I'm sure he's had his fair share of run ins with them.
Yeah, he was very appreciative. He actually loaded it up and took it back into Uvalde for me himself, to the taxidermist there in Uvalde.
Dink Murphey: What were the measurements and weight and all that stuff, do you have those numbers? Looking at the picture, it's huge. I know you played baseball, you look like a big guy, as do the other two gentlemen that were with you in the picture, but this cat is big. How big was it?
Mitch Nau: Yeah. We really didn't take a head to tail measurement of it. We put him on a scale in a little swing, and ... We recovered him the day after, so he had bled out all that night, and after he'd bled out all night, he was 160 pounds on that scale.
Dink Murphey: Wow.
Mitch Nau: I tried to get the taxidermist, because I was thinking, that's probably a state record, something like that, I've never seen a cat like that in Texas. They're usually malnourished, they're scrawny looking. I actually hit him in the head, the second shot, and that .22-250 put its skull into about, I don't know, 1000 pieces, so the taxidermist couldn't get an actual measurement, because I guess the skull is what they go off of.
Dink Murphey: .22-250 is one of my favorite calibers, certainly for varmint hunting, coyote hunting. Do some people think that was a little light to take that big of a mountain lion, or ... I guess the headshot ... What kind of feedback did you get there?
Mitch Nau: I personally think that's very light. If you would've told me I'm going out to chase that size cat, I would've grabbed something a little bit bigger than a .22-250. Yeah, I actually had to shoot him twice. He came out of that canyon straight away from us, and then he turned quartered and away from me to my right. I let the first one go, and he wasn't that full stride, but he was hooking it out of there pretty good.
First one went, hit him dead in the shoulder, and actually rolled him over from the impact of the bullet. At that point, we're all high fiving and stuff, because it was a pretty big deal out there. As we're high fiving and stuff, he gets back up and takes off again, and now he's full boar, as fast as you would think a mountain lion would be, screaming across those rocks out there. I reloaded and let another one go, and that one flipped him head over heels, come to find out it went in his right ear and came out his left cheek.
Dink Murphey: While he was in full stride?
Mitch Nau: Yes sir.
Dink Murphey: Do you have any military background, any sniper background?
Mitch Nau: I don't, I don't, but I have been hunting ... There's not one deer stand on that whole place. Everything is, usually when we're shooting deer out there, and I've been hunting out there since I was eight, usually when we're shooting deer out there, they're on the run. It's almost, I wouldn't say second nature to me.
Now, if you asked me if I was aiming at his head or not, I'm going to tell you yes, but I don't know if I could swear on the Bible on that one.
Dink Murphey: Let me ask you this, because when you gave me permission to post your photo, we put it on Instagram and I think it far, not that we have a huge following, but it far surpassed any post as far as likes and comments that we've ever had ever. I have to say, maybe half of them were not very friendly. In fact, they were so nasty, I had to delete them. Then I had to add a comment that hey, this is a hunting and fishing focused business and Instagram site, and I'm not going to, if you're going to make a comment that's just trying to make a statement ... If you have a question for us, when we conduct the interview, that's great, but ...
Anyway. What kind of feedback did you get, positive and negative, if you don't mind, on social media? I know it's pretty safe to say it went viral on Facebook.
Mitch Nau: Yeah. I experienced the same. The people that I knew well that come from our background and enjoys to do the things that I do, that was all very positive, couldn't believe it, all sorts of stuff like that. As far as the negative feedback, I feel like you're going to have that with anything you do today in the world we live in. Is it amplified on a scale where this is a large cat and people don't understand the concept of conservation and management.
That's your opinion. I have my opinion, I'm not going to go stick my nose into something that you do, but unfortunately, people always do that, and it's just ... Before I put the picture up, I knew that was going to happen. They can say what they say, and we'll move on down the road. Not a big deal.
Dink Murphey: I have to tell you, we have some pretty overwhelming positive support and comments. It's pretty incredible. As you described, the way you took him in full stride, that's very impressive. I know I couldn't do that, even if I had a tripod or something.
Mitch Nau: Yeah.
Dink Murphey: Stable blind or whatever.
Mitch Nau: Yeah.
Dink Murphey: Mitch, man, I appreciate it. Are we leaving anything out? Is there anything else cool or interesting about the mountain lion story you want to share?
Mitch Nau: I don't think so. I'm glad I didn't run into him cornered up in the bottom of the canyon or something, that's for sure. Glad he was out there a little ways.
Dink Murphey: Boy, isn't that the truth. That's a whole 'nother topic. There's not real common for people who've been killed by a mountain lion. There's been some in Texas, I think New Mexico and probably the most of them out in California. They're not real common, but it does happen. I think you could talk to some of those families that, they'd have a little different perspective. Certainly the ranchers, they've had their losses over the years due to mountain lions.
Anyway, it is a beautiful animal and quite a story. Mitch, appreciate you joining us. I'll follow up with you and we'll get you some good Laguna Costa merchandise as a small token of our appreciation. Thanks again for joining us here on Laguna Costa Radio.
Mitch Nau: Thanks Dink. I appreciate it.
Dink Murphey: Take care, Mitch.
Introduction: Today's podcast was brought to you by Laguna Costa Outfitters, purveyors of apparel for the authentic angler, hunter and outdoors enthusiast. Check us out at lagunacosta.com, or join us on Instagram and Facebook. Laguna Costa, sweet threads for the salty soul.