Arlin Olson A friend and I booked an “extreme” Cougar/Wolf hunt with Buck and Joni Dewey at Mackay Bar Ranch for the Spring (March) of 2015. This was not done lightly as I had “interviewed” the Dewey’s and Mackay Bar with two shorter visits prior to the Cougar/Wolf hunt.

My friend and I have been hunting and fishing together in Idaho and in the Salmon River country since we were children. I would say that we aren’t inexperienced. However, at 64 years of age, we were looking for what the Dewey’s have to offer. No one of our age should be looking at this sort of adventure without some very good conditioning, I guarantee it from experience.

I now need to say that we were not successful in filling either lion or wolf tags. HOWEVER, I attribute this to Mother Nature. Extremely warm weather this spring depleted the snow pack, which is essential for this sort of hunt. What I can also say is that Buck and his crew (including his hounds) WORKED THEIR TAILS OFF for us. We covered a bunch of wilderness (jet boat, walking, 4-wheelers, snowmobiles, and stock was available) and it just didn’t happen, you can’t control the weather.

If you think someone else in the Salmon River Corridor/Frank Church Wilderness could have done better, then you likely are misinformed.

NOW, what about Mackay Bar? Absolutely the best spot on the Salmon River, I know this because I have been on it from Stanley, ID to its mouth on the Snake River.

Accommodations are certainly better any other Outfitter, and I’ve been by all of them on my own private float trips.


You may walk ten miles in a day, but you may gain a few pounds. You have salmon, steak, pork loin, homemade bread, deserts to die for….. or, how about some jam stuffed French toast to go with your bacon or sausage and eggs for breakfast? A warming fire in the lodge at all times…and if you are lucky, Buck’s Dad (Dave) would be there to entertain you!

So……not really one of those things you are expecting on our trip…but we caught a ton of 30 to 36 inch steelhead trout while checking for predator signs to chase them. These fish are tough and fight hard. Buck has a commanding knowledge of all aspects of hunting and fishing in the Frank Church, and I believe personally COMMITTED to making it happen for you, no matter the objective.

In conclusion, I have to say that if you’re looking for a spectacular experience in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness, check in with Buck and Joni Dewey. You WON’T be disappointed!!

They will do everything humanly possible to make your experience one of the most memorable of your life!!!

I had one, and I was born and raised in Idaho.

Arlin Olson

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