Fish and Game works to educate the public about mountain lions

If people ever see a mountain lion in their yard or a residential area, they should always call the Fish and Game office
Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 12:23 PM MST
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KETCHUM, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Mountain lions have been living in Idaho long before residents have, but recently they have been venturing into residential areas, especially in the Wood River Valley.

“Mountain lions have been here forever, for thousands of years, so it’s not new that they are here,” said Sierra Robatcek, a regional wildlife biologist with the Fish and Game Magic Valley office. “It’s new that our habitat is starting to overlap theirs.”

Fish and Game said it has received a significant number of calls from residents in the Hailey, Ketchum and Bellevue area. Residents report seeing mountain lions in subdivisions or in people’s backyards.

“We don’t want the lions in town either, and we do get more calls in the wintertime right around now, probably because the prey is down,” Robatcek said. “The elk and the deer have migrated into the Wood River Valley. It is a historical winter range for them. But now the town is there, and it offers up more conflict opportunity.”

Residents should not leave any food outside their homes, as the lions will be able to find it, Fish and Game advised.

Dogs should also be watched closely. Mountain lions and dogs are not a good match.

“We have had several incidences in the Wood River Valley of dogs getting attacked or killed by mountain lions, and a lot of times those dogs were unsupervised,” Robatcek said. “Don’t think we’ve had, maybe one incident of a dog that was on a leash getting stalked by a mountain lion, but that’s very unusual.”

Fish and Game said mountain lions should be nocturnal — only awake between dusk and dawn.

“That’s not typical, if you see a lion out walking around during the day, you should call us,” Robatcek said. “There are some steps we can take to try to discourage that lion. We do try to haze. We don’t like lethally removing lions; we only do it when we feel it is a public safety concern.”

The Hailey Public Library is holding an event on Thursday for the public to learn about mountain lions. Registration can be found at this link.

If people ever see a mountain lion in their yard or a residential area, they should always call the Magic Valley Fish and Game 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.

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