Beware! Cougars on the Loose in the Magic Valley
Cougars have been letting their presence be known and felt all over the Magic Valley in the last year and the early parts of 2023. Before you get too excited, this article is about mountain lions. There are tons of videos on the internet of them stalking people, with one last year in eastern Idaho where a man was forced to fire a couple of shots before it finally ran off. While a handful of these videos come out each year, there could potentially be more coming in the future, as previous numbers have shown that mountain lions being spotted are on the rise, and those are only the ones being reported.
How Many Mountain Lions Were Seen in the Magic Valley in 2022?
Mountain lions being spotted in the Magic Valley is nothing new, but recently Idaho Fish and Game have received more calls than normal from people spotting these big cats. This can be in neighborhoods, out hiking, or anywhere. Last year there were 50 mountain lion reports in the Magic Valley. That number may seem small to some and big to others, but what makes it the most alarming is that half of those reports occurred between November 1 and December 31. In two months, that is around 25 mountain lion reports. Continuing into 2023, there have already been 7 reports of mountain lions, and that was within the first 13 days of the year. Fish and Game haven't figured out what is causing them to come out of hiding more, but they have confirmed it is multiple lions being spotted and not a few over and over again.
What to Do if You See a Mountain Lion in Idaho
While these numbers may seem high, it is concerning that they are not even higher. These are all of the reported sightings, where it is assumed that there are many more that were not reported. If you see a mountain lion, it is important to report it to Fish and Game so they can look into it and alert the public of a dangerous animal in the area. Most of these sightings are taking place in the Wood River Valley area in Blaine County, with a few sightings near Hailey and Ketchum, and a few sporadic sightings in Kimberly and the Burley area. Fish and Game is looking into what is causing the reports to be on the rise, but as of now, there isn't an easy answer.
If you come across a mountain lion anytime soon, make sure to remember to not run, or make loud noises, and once you are safe, be sure to report it to Idaho Fish and Game. If you are planning to go hiking or be out in the wild anytime soon, make sure to stay alert and aware of your surroundings, as these animals might be big, but they are light on their feet and can sneak up on you. For more tips on what to do if you encounter a mountain lion, make sure to visit the Idaho Fish and Game website.