Outdoors

Cougars killed 2 dogs in Idaho this month. Officials think their numbers are growing.

Fish and Game officers release a trapped mountain lion

Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers recorded a video while releasing a mountain lion from a trap in the Clearwater Region. At least two mountain lions have been released after being inadvertently trapped by licensed trappers. "Mountain lion
Up Next
Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers recorded a video while releasing a mountain lion from a trap in the Clearwater Region. At least two mountain lions have been released after being inadvertently trapped by licensed trappers. "Mountain lion

Other recent sightings

Around mid-January, Fish and Game had also received a report of a mountain lion incident in Bellevue, Idaho. A dog was attacked, and ultimately died from its injuries, but Fish and Game was unable to locate and trap the lion.

Meanwhile, the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office posted a news release warning people of the danger.

“We are receiving multiple reports of mountain lion sightings throughout the Wood River Valley, including but not limited to the following neighborhoods Gimlet, Warm Springs, north Ketchum, Elkhorn, Northstar Meadows and North Hiawatha Drive off Buttercup Rd in Hailey, Griffin Ranch, Chantrelle Subdivision and Broadford Rd. in Bellevue, Idaho,” the sheriff’s office stated.

On Jan. 17, two mountain lions were reported north of Hailey, headed south near Hiawatha Drive.

“It appears to be a mother cat and a yearling juvenile cat,” the sheriff’s office reported at the time.

And also this month, police killed a young, female mountain lion when it wandered through Lava Hot Springs and showed little fear of humans. The lion was malnourished and appeared to be blind in one eye, Fish and Game said.

Idaho Fish and Game does haven an open season for mountain lions in the Wood River Valley, but this year, the quota for female lions was met pretty early, White said. The agency is evaluating its big game seasons and quotas and may propose some changes to those involving mountain lions in the Wood River Valley.

“There is no shortage of mountain lions,” White said.

Proposed changes should be posted next week at idfg.idaho.gov.

Watch part of the process Idaho Fish and Game used to move the orphaned cougars.

What to do if you encounter a mountain lion

Idaho has never had a recorded incident of a mountain lion killing a person, the agency reported. That being said, people are asked to be on the lookout.

“We want to remind people who have wintering deer and elk nearby that there is likely going to be mountain lions nearby, too,” White said. “People also need to take precautions, be aware of their surroundings, and not leave their pets outside and unattended.”

The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office also recommends keeping small children inside when possible and not feeding pets outside.

Mountain lions are more active between dusk and dawn and have been known to take down a full-grown bull elk that’s around 800 pounds, White said.

​​Mountain lions are generally calm, quiet, and elusive. People rarely get more than a brief glimpse of a mountain lion in the wild. But just in case you do encounter a mountain lion, this video will help you be prepared.

Idaho Fish and Game has the following advice for you to consider if you ever come upon a mountain lion by mistake:

Never approach the mountain lion or offer it food.

Don’t run. Don’t turn your back on the lion. Don’t crouch down or try to hide.

If you have your children with you, pick them up without bending over. A youth less than 5-feet tall may trigger the animal’s predatory response if he or she is about the height of a deer, White said.

Slowly back away while facing the lion. Make sure you leave the animal an escape route.

Try to appear as large as possible — such as by standing on a rock or stump, holding up your arms or standing next to others.

Make loud noises. Shout, wave your arms and throw objects if the lion doesn’t leave the area.

If the mountain lion attacks, fight back. Stay on your feet and improvise weapons with sticks, rocks, a backpack or your hands. Use bear spray if you have it.

If you see a mountain lion in your yard, open a window and yell or bang pans. Most of them will leave with little encouragement, White said. If you are afraid and want to discourage them from staying, you could consider using a paintball gun or a hose attached to the faucet to scare them away. Call your local police department, sheriff’s office or Idaho Fish and Game.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

  Comments