Are Idaho Mountain Lions a Danger to People?
The Treasure Valley is finally warming up and Mountain Lions are getting more and more active.
Just a couple of weeks ago mountain lions that were in a neighborhood were killed by Idaho Fish and Game. In a press release issued Mar. 21, Fish & Game reported the "two lion cubs, along with their mother, had become habituated to living near a neighborhood in Hailey. According to the Hailey homeowner who had contacted Fish & Game, the trio had "consistently" stalked her property, "moving around the home" in an increasingly aggressive manner."
Also, remember the scary video from our neighboring state? A Utah hiker came across a mama mountain lion and her cubs and the mama charged and chased him away. Warning this video contains A LOT of bleeped profanity.
According to the hiker 26 year old Kyle Burgess, he was jogging along the Utah trail when he came across a couple of cougar cubs. Probably equally as startled the mama cougar made it very, very clear that she wanted him far away from her babies. So far in fact that she 'chased him off' for a good six minutes.
Have you ever seen a Mountain Lion up close or had one even from far away charge at you? It is a scary, scary thing. My two pups and I were chased by one 10 years ago in southern Oregon. We luckily managed to make it safely back to the car, but I will never forget it and now have a very real fear of them.
While a few animal attacks have been blamed on mountain lions in Idaho over the last couple of years, human attacks are very rare. According to Idaho Fish and Game, "Attacks by mountain lions on humans are very rare; since 1990 there have been 4 recorded attacks on humans by mountain lions in Idaho, none of which were fatal."
Here are some things to keep in mind from Idaho Fish and Game if you encounter a mountain lion:
- Do not run or turn your back on it. Instead, you should try and make yourself look as large as possible (standing on a rock or holding your arms up) and slowly back away while continuing eye contact.
- Being loud is also good however stay away from screaming as it can sound like a wounded animal to them.
- Another one that is scary to think about, if attacked by a mountain lion, always fight back.
As far as hunting Idaho mountain lions, Mountain Lion Foundation says "Officials at Idaho Department of Fish and Game don’t release population estimates for the state’s mountain lions, and yet trophy hunters kill 400-600 of the cats each year in the state. The Idaho mountain lion hunting season lasts ten months of the year and allows hunters to use hounds to pursue and tree lions. Using population density analysis, we believe there may be only about 2,000 mountain lions in the state, which makes the current hunting quota unsustainable."