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Fish and Game reminds public of safety around mountain lions

While the number of mountain lion reports in the Wood River Valley are down from the previous winter, the agency asks residents and visitors to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings
An adult male mountain lion in its day bed behind a Ketchum residence in January 2020.
An adult male mountain lion in its day bed behind a Ketchum residence in January 2020.(Idaho Department of Fish and Game)
Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 1:09 PM MST
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JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Idaho wildlife agency alerts south central Idaho residents to mountain lion activity this winter and how to stay safe.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game said while reports of mountain lions are down this winter, the large wild cats live throughout the Wood River Valley, and the agency has continued to receive reports of the animals many consisting of movement through neighborhoods or sighting in yards.

According to a Fish and Game news release, since mid-January, mountain lions have been observed in the Wood River Valley between Hailey and Bellevue, and a lion is suspected of killing a deer near homes in the Indian Creek area, north of Hailey.

https://idfg.idaho.gov/press/safety-tips-when-living-close-proximity-mountain-lions-0

Posted by Idaho Fish and Game Magic Valley on Wednesday, January 27, 2021

While the number of mountain lion reports in the Wood River Valley is down considerably from the winter of 2019-2020, Fish and Game ask residents and visitors to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings.

Elk and deer populations moving through the area in the winter attacked mountain lions who prey on the animals, the agency explained.

Idaho Fish and Game offers these personal safety suggestions:

Wildlife managers agree that if a person is in close proximity to a lion, meaning they see it, they should:

  • NEVER run away from a mountain lion. The lion’s instinct is to chase and catch what they perceive as potential prey.
  • NEVER turn your back on a lion. Always face them while making yourself look as large as you can. Yell loudly, but don’t scream. A high-pitched scream may sound like a wounded animal.
  • SLOWLY back away while maintaining eye contact with the lion.
  • The safety equipment you may choose to carry could include bear spray, a noise device, like an air-horn, and if you walk in the dark, a very bright flashlight.
  • If you are attacked, fight back!

People need all of their senses to detect if wildlife is near. Using a light to help see is very important, both in yards or as people walk in their neighborhood. If people run or bike for personal fitness, they are asked to use caution when wearing headphones or earbuds which can take away from a person’s ability to hear if a lion, or any other wildlife, is providing signals that a person is too close.

Click here to learn more about safety for pets and homeowners around mountain lions.

Reporting mountain lion sightings and encounters

Fish and Game asks residents and visitors to immediately report any encounter that results in an attack to the Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359 during business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. If after hours, local conservation officers can be reached by calling the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Sightings and observations should be reported to the Fish and Game, Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359.

Reports can also be made to local law enforcement agencies.

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