Contrary to the headline of this story, the second mountain lion shot in the Treasure Valley was not shot in downtown Boise, it was shot in an area where there is significant interface with public lands and wildlife.

Mores Creek flows into Lucky Peak Reservoir outside of city limits in an area where quite a few elk and deer winter. The subdivision would better be described as a rural, mountainous area.

The father and son were out searching for their dog which turned out to have been killed by a young female lion of just 50 pounds. The lion scratched the boy and the injuries were very minor.

The lion was later seen using a spotlight and dispatched by an officer.

I think that it is unfortunate that the lion and dog were killed but I don’t think that, under the circumstances of an attack, they made the wrong decision.

The article mentions that this is only the second incident of this sort in Idaho, however there was another incident I recall in the Idaho City area where a young child was attacked by an escaped pet lion. Incidents such as this are very rare.

Another issue this raises is that of the population of lions. Steve Nedeau says that there are about 2,000 lions in Idaho, I’ve heard the IDFG say 2,000 – 3,000 in the past which is a higher population than that of wolves which number around 900 – 1,000 in Idaho. Yet the hysteria surrounding wolves is much greater.

When put into perspective, cats have a track record of being far more dangerous than wolves even though attacks are extremely rare. One of the big differences between the two is their visibility. Lions are rarely seen (I’ve only seen one), don’t leave nearly as many tracks, and cover their prey after they kill them. Wolves, on the otherhand, are much more often seen, they make their kills out in the open, travel great distances in packs leaving lots of tracks, are more selective in the classes of prey they take by generally chasing down and taking those animals that are weaker rather than ambushing prey in a more random fashion. The overall impacts to the elk and deer populations are similar in many ways with lions taking more deer than elk while wolves tend to prefer elk.

Second big cat killed in Valley this month.
The Idaho Statesman

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Buffalo Field Campaign's Executive Director, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He was formerly the Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

10 Responses to Second big cat killed in Valley this month

  1. avatar jon says:

    One commenter on the bbb blog claims there are 3500 wolves in Idaho. Toby Bridges thinks there are 4000 wolves in Montana. Some people just like making up their own numbers I guess.

  2. avatar Harley says:

    Does anyone have any kind of statistic on how much depredation there is from cougars on live stock as opposed to wolves? I’ve seen the rather long list of diseases that wolves can carry that could be transferred to humans. What about Mountain Lions? I dunno, I always thought the big cats were a tad bit more scary, particularly in wooded areas because they can drop down on you from a tree. Maybe that’s just my suburban upbringing, reading stories and seeing movies and such. I’m just curious!
    Thanks!

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      A mycologist summers each year in a leased cabin on Snowbank Lake on the very edge of Boundary Waters. He has studied the fungi that grows on “poop”. More specifically herbivore poop. Common knowledge that predator poop has bad stuff in it. This is not a recent revelation to anyone who knows anything about carnivore scat.

      I agree with you about mountain lions. Never a bad experience with wolves. Always respected, never feared. COugars on the other hand.

      I recall a long walk after midnight during an early January evening. I think we all have a bit of a vestigial fear of the dark. I thought, well bears are hibernating, wolves won’t bother me, and then bonk, reports of mountain lions in the Boundary Waters have been more frequent. Glad I have a big dog.

      • avatar Harley says:

        Big kitties in the boundary waters area? Huh. I guess I need to do some more reading up on cougars. I remember there was speculation that the one they had in Chicago a few years back was actually from northern Michigan. I’m not sure if it was specifically the UP or not. I think though they traced it genetically from the Dakotas. Either way, that kitty was a long way from home!

  3. avatar Mtn Mama says:

    Pumas frequently take pets in Colorado. I am a trail runner and it is Pumas that I am fearful of.

    This is recently out of Colorado…

    “Wildlife managers take human safety or loss of livestock into consideration when deciding whether to relocate or lethally manage a predator. However, they do not typically kill a lion that preys on an unsupervised pet.

    “It does not appear to be a threat to people right now, but we will continue to monitor the situation, and we will take action if it becomes aggressive towards humans,” said Will.

    Although mountain lions are typically reclusive and avoid humans, people occasionally encounter the big cats in areas where there is an abundance of their natural prey, such as mule deer, or other smaller species such as raccoons, skunks, porcupines and other similar wildlife.

    http://wildlife.state.co.us/NewsMedia/PressReleases/pages/pressrelease.aspx?PressId=7370

  4. avatar Mtn Mama says:

    For those interested in Pumas, I recommend the book

    “The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature” By David Baron (Study by Dr. Jim HalfPenny of Lions of the Front Range of Colorado in the 1990s)

    • That is a great book and if you read it carefully you should be able to get over your fear of lions.

    • avatar Harley says:

      Got it on hold at the library. Thanks for the tip. It’s so much a fear as it is a very healthy respect. I find Cougars to be beautiful animals. I had a poster of one in my classroom, felt like the eyes were on you no matter where you were in the room. I joked with the students that I would bring in one just like it for show and tell if they didn’t behave. They were high schoolers lol.

  5. avatar mtn mamma says:

    Linda, As a 5’3, 125lb trail runner in the Colorado Front Range, I would be a fool not to be alert to dangers such as Lions (and humans) where both exisit in high numbers.

    Harley, I hope you enjoy the book. I found it very easy to read & informative. I live just outside of Boulder so the places in the story are all familiar to me.

    • Mtn mamma there is a huge difference between being aware of a danger and being fearful. . being fearful of wild animals puts you at risk because animals read your body language. A mountain lion will access your confidence and competence and as a runner you need to be aware that you could look like prey. However, if a lion is stalking you the best way to break the stalk is to do something that shows it that you are not easy prey. The book points out that curious people have approached lions and then revealed their fear when the lion doesn’t back down. Fear is dangerous as it shows an animal you are week. Have a plan, stick to it and be fierce and you will be OK. Humans are one of the reasons I don’t run. . I ride a bike instead.
      Be well.

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