Idaho Fish and Game forces mountain lion to leave Ketchum backyard

Posted at 4:44 AM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 07:47:40-05

KETCHUM, Idaho — Idaho Fish and Game used non-lethal methods to remove a mountain lion that frequented a Ketchum backyard. Fish and Game officers were notified on Friday, January 10, that the mountain lion which had been hazed the day before had returned.

The large male lion was bedded in the same location as found on January 9. After assessing the situation, officers fired several shotgun rounds, using rubber slugs and buckshot, to force the lion to leave the backyard. After the hazing, the lion ran from the area.

Once the area was clear, officers inspected the day bed and found a partially eaten elk calf, which the lion had been feeding on over the last few days. The elk was removed, reducing the chances of the lion returning.

According to Senior Conservation Officer Clark Shackelford, "using non-lethal means, such as we've done over the last two days using shotguns with rubber slugs and buckshot can sometimes be a very effective deterrent to making wildlife leave an area. Our goal is to discourage wildlife, in this case, a mountain lion, from remaining in a neighborhood that puts it in close proximity to both people and pets."

The situation will be monitored closely over the next few days. If the lion continues to come near homes, Fish and Game will consider more aggressive methods to reduce the risk to public safety in Ketchum and the Wood River Valley.

Residents are reminded to be aware of their surroundings as over 50 reports of mountain lion sightings have come into the Magic Valley Regional Office over the last few months. If you encounter a mountain lion, never run and remain calm, don't turn your back and make yourself look as large as possible. Yell at the lion to make sure it knows you are not prey and throw things at it if possible. Slowly back away without taking your eyes off the lion.

Idaho Fish and Game recommends residents to carry bear spray when recreating as a potentially useful safety item.

If you have pets, keep them on a leash when out walking and use a bright flashlight if walking after dark. Before letting your pet outside, turn on your porch lights or go outside before them. Do not feed your pets outside or leave their dishes outside. A mountain lion usually won't eat pet food, but they might pursue any other pet or wildlife attracted to the food dishes.

Residents are encouraged to report any sightings of mountain lions to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359, during regular business hours of Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Any incidents where a person must take action to cause the lion to flee or back down or any attacks by mountain lions on pets or people should be reported immediately to the Magic Valley Regional Office or the Blaine County Sheriff by calling 911 or their non-emergency phone line at (208) 788-5555.