Cougar seen at Hidden Springs Dec. 15 hasn’t made a reappearance

For cougars, the Foothills and Boise River are places they come to find prey, such as deer.
For cougars, the Foothills and Boise River are places they come to find prey, such as deer. Provided by Idaho Fish and Game

A cougar spotted near Dry Creek Mercantile in Hidden Springs on Dec. 15 has not made a return appearance, Ada County Sheriff’s Office reports.

An adult on a school bus taking kids on a field trip reported seeing the mountain lion late in the morning in the northwest Ada County suburban development.

Deputies immediately responded and discovered tracks, but no cougar. A motion-detecting camera was set up, but it has not captured a photo of the animal. Sheriff’s deputies have had no other reports of cougar sightings in the area.

Idaho Fish and Game said it receives about a dozen cougar sighting reports a year in the greater Boise area.

Land around Hidden Springs is prime cougar country, said Mike Keckler, Idaho Fish and Game spokesman. The cats often are trailing prey such as mule deer that are dropping to lower elevations for winter. Cougars are usually just passing through, and not stopping or taking up residence near urban development.

Problems can arise if the animals become habituated to populated area and find easy food, such as eating out of garbage cans. “If they are hanging around, it is going to mean trouble,” Keckler said. Pets could get eaten, he said, but attacks on people are extremely rare.

If you spot a cougar, here are some tips from Idaho Fish and Game:

▪  If you are with children, pick them up without bending over.

▪  Face the cougar as you back away

▪  Try to appear as large as possible. Stand on a rock or stump, hold up your arms, stand next to others.

▪  Never approach a mountain lion, or offer it food.