Salmon residents have reported multiple sightings of a mountain lion in the city to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
A single, young lion has been seen in yards and streets on the Bar Hill, according to Mike Demick with Fish and Game. Fish and Game and city officials are working to trap and remove the lion, Demick said. Multiple live traps have been set and motion cameras installed to determine where the lion visits.
The lion appears to be a small sub-adult weighing between 40 and 50 pounds. It is likely out on its own for the first time and has found a good food source with the deer and chicken flocks in town, Demick said.
“Locating and capturing a very secretive animal is very challenging, especially amongst all the houses, pets, and chicken flocks in the area,” said Dennis Newman, Fish and Game wildlife manager. “But we take these reports very seriously and we will continue to utilize every tool we have until we capture it.”
Though encounters between people and mountain lions are rare, Fish and Game offers recommendations for anyone who encounters a mountain lion.
People should never run away from a mountain lion. The lion’s instinct is to chase and ultimately catch what they perceive as a potential prey, Demick said. Don’t turn your back to a lion, don’t crouch down or try to hide. Face the lion while making yourself look as large as you can. Yell loudly, but don’t scream. Slowly back away while maintaining eye contact with the lion. Leave the animal an escape route.
Demick also reminds people that mountain lions are opportunistic predators, meaning they don’t know when their next meal will happen, and often attempt to take prey when it presents itself. To keep pets safe, owners should secure sheep, goats and poultry in secure buildings at night and keep dogs on a leash.
Don’t leave pet food outside, he said. While a mountain lion will not typically be attracted to the food, the pet food could attract other wildlife that are prey to a lion, including raccoons and skunks. Likewise, he suggests not feeding wildlife. Elk and deer are the preferred prey for mountain lions. Feeding elk and deer will bring predators to the feeding site.
People are asked to report mountain lion sightings to the Salmon Fish and Game Office at 208-756-2271 during business hours or the Lemhi County dispatch office at 208-756-4201.