On the morning of Saturday May 27, FWP Game Wardens received a report of a man receiving minor injuries from an encounter with a mountain lion near Boundary Mountain North of Libby. The encounter occurred Friday morning, May 26.
The individual told investigators he was bent over hooking up a chain to drag out a log he’d cut for firewood when he was struck from the side and knocked into a tree. He said he swung at the animal with his arm striking it, and it ran off. He got up and ran to his truck and saw a mountain lion walking back towards the vehicle. He scared the lion off with his truck.
Game Wardens and USFS law enforcement personnel met the man at the scene and verified he had superficial scratches to the side of his face and stomach. The individual did not seek medical attention for his wounds. Hounds trained to track mountain lions were brought to the scene and “hit” on a scent, but after several hours tracking up the mountain they were unable to find or tree the lion. At 11 p.m. the search was called off. The hot dry conditions and the length of time from when the incident was reported made tracking a challenge.
Wardens placed a trail camera at the encounter site and there have been no images of a lion returning to the area over the weekend. No further action is planned at this time.
While encounters with mountain lions are rare, when they do occur it is often a young lion. Male lions can have a home range of up to 150 square miles.
Outdoor recreationists should be aware that mountain lions are common across northwest Montana. Hikers should travel in groups and carry pepper spray to deter lions as well as bears. Keep children close. If a lion threatens, experts say to make your image large and fight back if attacked. FWP asks people to report any encounters with mountain lions or any unnatural behavior displayed by mountain lions as soon as possible.