Mountain lion activity cause for concern

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
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Photo by Jackie Ronning
A mountain lion seen at the 500 block of South Platt, Red Lodge, at 2 p.m. May 28.

“Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is currently monitoring reports and responding to calls and concerns about mountain lion activity in Red Lodge,” said FWP Game Warden Matthew Heaton.  

“FWP can confirm the presence of at least one mountain lion and recent reports may suggest the presence of two. These lions are likely young individuals that have recently dispersed from their mother,” said Heaton.  “Young lions and bears are the most likely individuals to wander into towns and cities while searching for areas to take up permanent residence.”

The response comes after numerous sightings of a mountain lion mostly along South Platt last week. It is believed that this mountain lion attacked a pregnant deer, killing her and two unborn fawns and buried the carcasses in a residential yard. 

Since then there have been numerous sightings, one on May 31 near the Red Box Car, south of town, and plus a report of a kill along a walking path on the west bench near the old Carbon County Memorial Hospital on S. White. 

Heaton responded to the recent calls saying “Mountain lions frequent the area around Red Lodge, however, the presence of lions within more developed areas during daylight hours is concerning.”

“FWP wardens and biologists are monitoring the situation closely. While it is not uncommon for mountain lions to be in town, passing through, or occasionally hunting deer, these activities are usually at night and on the fringes of town,” said Heaton.  “The recent activities are more common in juvenile individuals recently away from their mother. It is important to discourage predators from becoming comfortable near homes by yelling or making loud noises from a safe location. If the lions continue to occupy areas with high human population density, they will need to be removed for human safety.”   

“Residents should be reminded that feeding deer and turkeys creates artificial concentrations of these animals, and also can lead to truly urban populations of animals that do not possess some of the survival instincts of other more wild populations, thus leading to them being more susceptible to predation,” said Heaton. “This may attract predators into close proximity with humans to hunt the semi-tame wildlife.  When this happens, wildlife officials often have to take management actions to remove the predators.  Our local wildlife are an asset, but semi-tame wildlife are a liability.”

“Red Lodge sits in excellent wildlife habitat, and this includes predator populations.  It is not known exactly how many lions are in the area, but with ample numbers of prey animals such as deer and turkeys in and around town, it is expected that predators will continue to move through town, occasionally making a kill,” he said.  

Heaton suggested residents should limit or remove attractants that invite deer, turkeys, bears, and other wildlife into town.  These may include unsecured trash, birdfeeders, and some fruit trees.  Intentional feeding of wildlife should not continue under any circumstances.

Please report any sightings or relay any concerns to local FWP staff:

Game Warden Matthew Heaton (406) 860-7806 Wildlife Biologist Shawn Stewart (406) 446-4150 Bear Management Technician Kylie Kemble (406) 850-1131.



The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.