WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Boone and Crockett Girls Who Hunt: Jenna Smith and the ‘Christmas Cat’

On Christmas Day 2019, 12-year-old Jenna Smith got her first mountain lion during the first year she could legally hunt. She set the bar high, as it made the Boone and Crockett record books at 14-10/16 points. Jenna is from Alberton, Montana.

Why did you go mountain lion hunting?

My dad has always done it for a really long time and so we like to go together, the whole family – my mom, my younger brother and my dad.

Jenna Smith cougar in tree
Jenna Smith’s cougar and hound dog

What does a typical mountain lion hunt look like for your family?

Waking up very, very early. We drive to one of our favorite spots, and sometimes we’ll meet friends there. My dad will go on the snowmobile and look for tracks, and if he finds tracks, he’ll come back and we’ll all go out. We have English coonhounds. We have eight, but one of the them doesn’t hunt.

So this was your year?

I’ve gone out with my dad lots of times, even before I can remember. [Her mom confirms this and said that Jenna has been out with the family hunting even before she was one-year old.]

When you saw the lion, did you think, ‘That is huge!’

Yes! I was like, ‘That’s not the average size!’ It was real easy. It was one shot. I had the gun up on a tree branch, held it steady and fired one shot. I used a 6.5 Creedmoor. 

Can you tell us more about that day?

It was Christmas Day, so we got a late start. We went somewhere that we rarely go to, around Butte. We went up a road and we saw a truck had been there before us, and we kept going up the road, and the truck had pulled off to the side and they were target shooting with a new gun that they got for Christmas. We went over some cattleguards and on the other side there were some big lion tracks, that my dad saw first. We got very excited and we let the dogs out. They had a hard time at first, and then they really got it and ran it and it was a really short race. It was over in a couple of minutes. 

What a Christmas present!

Definitely! [Her mom added that her dad had taken his first mountain lion on Christmas Day in 1991, at 11-years old.]

Jenna Smith for BC Girls that Hunt
Jenna Smith and the “Christmas cat”

Where did you take it to be measured?

We have a neighbor, Justin Spring [who happens to be the director for big game records for the Boone and Crockett Club] and we took it down there to him and he measured it for us. At first, we weren’t too sure, and he said, ‘Oh, I think it’s going to make it!’

What else do you like to do?

I do lacrosse, and my brother plays hockey and I love to watch hockey. I also play basketball. My family and I go hiking and camping, and sometimes we do whitewater rafting.

Let’s talk about girls and hunting … where you live is it normal for girls to go hunting with their families? And what would you say to girls who might question why you hunt?

Yes, there are quite a few. I’d say it’s just because it’s something I’ve always done with my family and we like to do it together.   

At this point, Jenna hasn’t decided how she wants to have the lion mounted. Her mom said, “We want to make sure that whatever we do with it, that she can take it with her. We would really like to do the full-size mount, but when she has space of her own.” Her dad has his own full-size mount, but Jenna’s lion is bigger than his mount. Jenna added that she will never forget her “Christmas cat.”

Read more about the Boone and Crockett Girls Who Hunt:

Morgan Burns and her big Minnesota bear.

Ryleigh Campbell and the Kentucky monster buck.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.