It has been a very long time since a lynx has been documented in Idaho but this year there have been two of them. Recently there was one captured in a leg hold trap near Salmon, Idaho. The most recent sighting was in northern Idaho. This despite the USFWS saying that there aren’t any here. It is time that they re-evaluate that position and extend some measures to protect them.

Lynx shows up at wolverine bait station – Outdoors blog – – March 26, 2012.

About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

26 Responses to A second Lynx documented in Idaho this winter.

  1. cirque guy says:

    In every cause there is a leader. Here we have governmental agencies (IFG, USFWS) receiving public funds to be the leader in wildlife protection. If these agencies won’t lead then who will? Personnel need to stand up and embrace the principles they embraced when they received their various higher education degrees. Both agencies require degrees in wildlife management or closely related fields. Idaho personnel need to speak out against the “put and take” mentality of those that drive agency policies that are nothing more than wildlife and fisheries farms. The agencies call it wildlife management but trained and educated biologists know it’s nothing but public funded elk, trout and anadromous fish farming. Protection of all native wildlife in a native environment should be their objective. These well educated and devoted biologists know what’s right. A good first step is to eliminate indiscriminant leg hold traps that threaten endangered species such as lynx. Lynx are the canary in the mine as it relates to pristine and native habitats. The great cause here is enhancement of a native environment before it’s all gone. IFG and USFWS need to be the great leaders for this great cause.

  2. Daniel Berg says:

    Didn’t realize the USFWS claimed there were no lynx in Idaho…..

    I was lucky enough to tag along and check lynx traplines that are part of a research study on the animal in the Methow (North-Central WA State) last weekend. I wasn’t fortunate enough to see one after 40+ traps and 65 miles on a snowmobile, but their tracks were everywhere in the snow. It was especially neat to see lynx and snowshoe hare tracks crossing over each other. It sounds like they have captured at least two females and a handful of males this winter.

    There is a male that they have captured 15 times recently. I stated that I thought lynx were smarter than that and was surprised it had not learned to avoid the traps. One of the biologists then told me that he in fact was smart, and had just learned that he could get a free chunk of beaver and he would be released out of his kitty condo in a few hours none the worse for wear.

    • WM says:


      ++ free chunk of beaver and he would be released out of his kitty condo++

      Very smart. So, would that be adaptation or habituation? LOL

      My wife and I were backpacking last summer in the Cascades, and met a young, male UW (I think) grad student who represented himself as a researcher on this Methow lynx study. I forget which academic department he was in, maybe Zoology. He had one of those new shorty Mossberg 12 ga self defense shotguns lashed to his pack, and not very well by the looks of how it hung. Thinking this was a bit odd, especially in summer and where we were, I inquired about the need for it. He said he was in physical training and wanted to get used to carrying it along with all his other gear. He was nice enough, but kind of a strange chap, blonde hair, wirey build, early 20’s. Anybody you met last weekend meet that description? I’m curious if he is still packing that thing, and whether he somehow justified it to others.

      • WM says:

        Ooops, …or food conditioned?

      • Daniel Berg says:

        Ha…..Yes, he rode along with us the whole trip. I just looked at a picture we all took together trying to get Silver Star and Mt Gardner in the background and he definitely fits that description. He is working on the project along with a young gal about the same age through the forest service. He left the shorty at home that day, but I would have been curious enough to inquire about it as well, had he brought it! I got the impression that he and his co-worker were trying to put their best foot forward for the district biologist I was tagging along with.

        They are about done with the traplines for the year and the chap you mentioned was preparing to head down to Utah for work with either prairie dogs or raptors. I could be mixing up two seperate projects he said he was a part of. The young gal had just been passed over for work on the Elwha dam removal project. I get the impression that they are in very competitive line of work.

        Those two definitely work hard. 65+ miles every day on sleds checking all those traps alternating between two teams of two individuals. They made all those traps by hand and hauled them in via sled as well.

  3. Dan says:

    Once again we have a taiga/boreal specie who has flirted into the lower forty-eight on the Rocky Mtn arm and we are sounding the alarm. These species – wolverine, Canada lynx and arguably the Canadian wolf and grizzly are not well adapted for the temperate/deciduous biome. They stray out of their well-adapted taiga/boreal biome and we are way over-reacting to their presence. Take it for what it is…a specie poking at successional forces, left-over microcosms of a past glacial age. It is essentially a fluke they rarely appear on the scene in this biome.

    Specifically the Canadian lynx, it is my understanding they peak in population about every 10 years. They have huge population swings. Are we in a peak cycle and population dynamic forces have pushed a few into marginal habitats to which they will soon disappear because they are not well-adapted?

    • Mike says:

      Dan –

      Your post is nonsense.

    • cirque guy says:

      The only cycle we’re in is the absurd denial that $$ drives the scope of man made ecosystems and results in a train wreck of this planet. I wish I could see this cycle as a 10 year phenomenon, unfortunately there is no end in sight.

    • Immer Treue says:


      I believe if you go back into the Hudson Bay Trading Company records for Lynx and Snowshoe hare pelts, on e finds an inverse cycle for the two of them, ie when one is up, the other is down with alternate periods of sinking and climbing passing one another on the way. This is in proportion to any of their given populations. I don’t know if it was ten years or a bit shorter.

    • JB says:


      Your argument holds for the lynx, but wolves and grizzly were once distributed across much of the lower 48. They are both generalist species that do well across a variety of habitat types. They stand in stark contrast to the lynx, a specialist.

      – – –
      Canadian wolf? Good grief.

  4. Jeff says:

    Dan your point is well taken, however the wolf and grizzly had healthy numbers all the way to central Mexico and the southern plains.

    • Daniel Berg says:

      In Washington State, the lynx population is estimated at ~200. The biologist I talked with, however, felt that number may be a little high.

  5. Jerry Black says:

    ( Very interesting and it explains what I’ve been witnessing in areas frequented by both hares and lynx. I’ve got some trail cams set up in the Blackfoot Valley in lynx habitat. I’ll be retrieving them Sunday and will post any lynx picture here.)

    • Daniel Berg says:

      I know that one concern regarding lynx and snowshoe hares is that the extensive road systems at higher elevations give other predators like coyotes or cougars the ability to access higher elevations and compete for hares.

      • Jerry Black says:

        Cougars will also kill lynx and bobcats.
        I’m hesitant to mention this but when you remove wolves, lion populations increase so you end up with more lion predation on endangered lynx…….course this topic is always “off the record” when one queries the researchers.

  6. Mike says:

    The lynx is native to the lower 48. Just a friendly reminder.

  7. Mike says:

    It’s a common tactic by anti-wildlife people (usually hunters and resource extraction apologists such as ranchers) to try and marginalize species by saying “they’re mostly in Canada”. It’s easy to spot this idiotic talking point from a mile away.

  8. John Glowa says:

    The “lynx aren’t here so there’s no need to do anything to protect them” strategy is the same one employed by the State of Maine for years. MDIFW argued at a public hearing when the listing of lynx was being considered that there was no evidence of a breeding population in Maine and for that reason they did not warrant federal protection. An individual from New Brunswick spoke at that same hearing that lynx were common just across the border from Maine. Strangely enough, when folks started looking for lynx in Maine, they began to find them and evidence that they were reproducing here. Lynx in Maine may number in the hundreds. They have also recently been documented in Vermont. Lynx do not need wilderness or old growth forest. Maine’s north woods is largely a 15+ million acre commercial tree farm, laced with thousands of miles of logging roads and practically devoid of large trees. Here at least, the aggressive forest practices seem to have helped lynx as the millions of acres of cut forest have much new growth that benefits the snowshoe hares. Perhaps the most significant man-made problem for lynx in Maine is trapping. The State of Maine is presently seeking an incidental take permit from the USFWS to allow the incidental killing of lynx by trappers seeking other species.

    • cirque guy says:

      And therein lies an important issue to their survival. There should not be an incidental take permit issued for trapping. Trapping is not a 2012 commercially important activity that should require an incidental take permit at the expense of viable populations of lynx. The incidental take would lead the way for an open commerce in lynx pelts from Maine and in its own way drive the expanse of lynx commerce. Lynx being a high value pelt would be an incentive for trappers to actually target lynx and then claim incidental. Quite the contrary, trapping should be discontinued in lynx populated areas. Incidental take is disruptive to the normal patterns and natural population structures of any species group and more so to animals worthy to be listed under provisions of the ESA.


March 2012


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey