Over the past several weeks Fish and Game has continued to receive reports about mountain lions frequenting populated neighborhoods throughout the Wood River Valley. Many of the reports are in areas of dense residential development, some within city limits.
Non-fatal mountain lion attacks on dogs have occurred in East Fork with fatal attacks on domestic livestock and a pet cat in Hailey.
East Fork incident
On Thursday, January 18, 2024, a mountain lion attacked two dogs within a short period of time at a residence in East Fork. Both dogs survived the attacks. The homeowner was able to come to the aid of both dogs which stopped the attacks by the mountain lion.
Once reported, Fish and Game biologists responded to the area and were unable to locate the lion. Area residents were made aware of the incidents by Fish and Game and through a homeowner’s association email.
On Sunday, January 14, 2024, an adult female mountain lion was trapped and euthanized in Hailey after it got into an animal enclosure in a residential area in north Hailey. The attacks on the animals occurred during the early morning hours of January 12.
Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers were made aware of the incident on the morning of January 12. Once on scene, the officers confirmed that a lion had gained access into an enclosure and was responsible for killing the animals. The officers attempted to locate the lion by tracking in the snow but found the lion had entered a residential area and lost its tracks.
The livestock owners reported the enclosure was secured the evening of January 11 but the high winds that swept through the Wood River Valley that night blew open a window that allowed the lion to enter the enclosure.
The owner of the livestock reported that the mountain lion killed 11 chickens, 2 geese, 6 ducks and one house cat.
Since the lion attacked and killed domestic livestock in an enclosure the decision was made to deploy a trap and remove the lion. A large trap was deployed on January 12 and the lion was caught on January 14.
Residents are reminded to securely close all doors to barns, backyard sheds and structures like chicken coops so that mountain lions cannot gain access to these spaces.
Personal and pet safety around mountain lions
Wildlife managers agree that if a person is near a lion, meaning they see it, they should:
- NEVER run away from a mountain lion. The lion’s instinct is to chase and ultimately catch what they perceive as potential prey.
- NEVER turn your back on a lion. Always face them while making yourself look as large as you can. Yell loudly, but don’t scream. A high-pitched scream may mimic the sound of a wounded animal.
- SLOWLY back away while maintaining eye contact with the lion.
- When walking or hiking, safety equipment to carry could include a cannister of bear spray, a noise device like an air-horn, and if you walk in the dark, a very bright flashlight.
- If you are attacked, fight back!
Residents should check around their homes or apartments for areas where a lion could find a place to hide or daybed. Areas under decks should be blocked so that lions cannot access the space during daylight hours.
The Wood River Valley Wildlife Smart Communities coalition has developed a website that residents can use to learn more about how to safely live in proximity to wildlife www.wrvwildlifesmart.org.
Residents should immediately report any wildlife incident or attack to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359 during business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday, or to your local law enforcement agency. Mountain lion sightings and encounters should be reported to Fish and Game during regular business hours by calling the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.