Ben Lilly Memorial

(nr Piños Altos NM)
The Ben Lilly Memorial plaque can be found on an impressive rock pile a few miles north of town; placed there by friends and admirers. Famous as the last mountain man, he was a prolific hunter of mountain lions, grizzly and black bears.

Ben Lilly Memorial

Ben Lilly Memorial – Rock Pile

It’s estimated he killed up to 1,000 cougars. At the time, that was considered commendable by ranchers, settlers, and forest-men. His favorite hunting weapon was a homemade Bowie knife. Yep, he would attack a lion or bear and kill it with the knife. He was pretty good at it, too.

Ben Lilly Memorial

Plaque on Formation

Ben Lilly Memorial

Another Angle of the Rocks

Ben Lilly Memorial

Nice Rock

He also used a Winchester .30-30 or .33 rifle, hunting from northern Mexico to Montana, but eventually settled in the area now called the Gila Wilderness in southwest New Mexico. Sometimes, he was a guide for wealthy hunters such as Teddy Roosevelt.

Ben Lilly Memorial

More of the Rock Pile

Ben Lilly Memorial

Looking toward the Wilderness

Ben Lilly Memorial

Another view into the Gila Wilderness

In his later years, he sent plant and wildlife specimens to the Smithsonian Institution. He considered owning property a handicap, so preferred living in the wilderness. Interesting fellow.

Camp: City of Rocks SP drycamp
Scene: Rock formation, memorial

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4 Responses to Ben Lilly Memorial

  1. Martha October 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm #

    I have really mixed emotions about hunting, especially for trophy animals that the hunter has no intention of eating. But that was then, and now is now.

    • Pleinguy October 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm #

      Actually, he did eat them; his favorite meal was either bear or lion. He didn’t hunt for trophies, but to irradicate what he considered dangerous predators or varmints.

  2. Dorothy Gardiner October 20, 2018 at 3:43 pm #

    He must have been a treasure to the cattle ranchers for ridding them of predators. The plaque proves that fact. Interesting story; thanks!

    • Pleinguy October 20, 2018 at 4:01 pm #

      Indeed! And, they paid him well.

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