Wednesday, September 7, 2011
As the summer of filming monsters winds to a close, Coyote Peterson and company found themselves in a slightly different environment than usual- the Sonoran Desert. A vast expanse of desert scrub land and saguaro cactus, the team headed off into, of all places...the Coyote Mountain Wilderness.
This land is about as wild west as it gets, with the threat of drug runners in every plume of dust that kicked up in the distance, and every ultra light glider that etched its way through the mountains. A mere 20 miles from the border of Mexico the team set off into the wild in search of the southwest's most dangerous predator, the Mountain Lion.
A 200 lb predator that strikes with stealthy silence, Mountain Lions are armed with retractable razor sharp claws and a mouth full of teeth that can tear flesh from the bone in seconds. Sounds like a kamakazi mission... but the team had a plan.
Using a primitive method practiced by tribes across the world to capture big cats, Coyote, Mud Man Mark Vins and Chammp Swaggerty designed, dug (by hand), and constructed a classic pit trap in an area that has been a notorious hot spot for Mountain Lion sightings.
Mountain Lions can travel for miles and miles each night so tracking this apex predator was easier said than done.
Cutting a trail across the desert would bring the team face to face with a colorful menagerie of biological landmines...and a handful, no pun, when it came to Cholla Cactus. Here are just a few of the creepy, crawly, scaly and venomous creatures the team encountered on this expedition!
The first night into the trip Coyote though it would be a brilliant idea to build a mini pit trap to see if any scorpions or tarantulas could be captured...as usual Coyote bit off quite a bit more than bargained for when morning light revealed the capture of the only venomous lizard in the US, the Gila Monster!
Truly an amazing catch and one of the rarest animals you can ever encounter in the desert. With a neurotoxic venom potent enough to kill a human, this is one bite Coyote did not want to put on his scar list.
It is said that a bite from the Gila Monster is like soaking your arm in gasoline and lighting it on fire. Not fun.
The danger didn't end at venomous lizards...near sunset on the first day the team came upon a 4 ft Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.
Responsible for more deaths in Arizona and Mexico than any other species of snake...this capture was going to be one risky endeavor.
A single bite from a snake this size can pack enough venom to kill a human in a matter of hours. As the team was several miles from any sort of transportation, and nearly 2 hours from civilization...this situation was a true do or die moment. As you can see from those fangs...not exactly a love bite.
Fear not...there were some cute critters on this expedition that included two completely safe to capture species like the Regal Horned Lizard...
...and everyone's favorite...the Desert Tortoise! Look at those pudgy little legs...like an elephant in a shell!
There were Scorpions...BIG ONES.
And Tarantulas...also BIG ONES....but still...no Mountain Lion.
The trap had been set for 3 days at this point...the night before the team was set to head back from the wilderness a large wind storm passed through. The next morning...when the trap was checked...the trap door was down. Coyote assumed it was probably the wind storm that set off the trigger mechanism in the trap, but the team decided to quietly check regardless.
It was truly a heart racing moment...as the team got closer they could see that the trap was pretty disturbed, several of the rocks holding the trapping bars in place were disturbed and the area reeked highly of cat urine. It was like something out of a movie...everyone's adrenaline was through the roof!
A moment of excited panic really began to set in as Coyote signaled for the camera crews to stay back and army crawled on his stomach up to peer inside of the trap.
And on the morning of September 4th, 2011...in the middle of the Sonoran Desert...5 feet under ground, in a pit trap, baited with a hunk of rotting cow meat, Coyote Peterson and his crew discovered that they had successfully trapped the most dangerous predator in the Southwest...the Mountain Lion!!
To get this animal out of the trap was going to be one dangerous endeavor...the biggest concern and challenge, as is often the case when filming for both Brave Wilderness and Swamp Monsters...is how exactly the animal is going to be released without it attacking Coyote or the crew! Coyote planned to have the crew tucked back behind a series of trees and spiky bushes, the trap door would be lifted from behind the pit, and hopefully the Mountain Lion would run out and off into the desert.
Wonder if it worked out...guess everyone will have to wait for the Brave Wilderness Reel to find out:)
Big thanks to everyone that made this expedition possible...from our daring investors, to our incredible sponsors, friends, family and loyal fans...we couldn't do any of it without you. This summer's filming has wrapped for Coyote and the Gang...post production will be as equally daring a challenge...but one thing is for certain- at least there won't be any mud in the editing suite!
For more pictures from the Arizona Expedition visit CP's Facebook Page!
Welcome to the most dangerous show on television...this...is Brave Wilderness!