Red Lodge not just for tourists: Wildlife comes to town

Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter
Thursday, June 13, 2019
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Photos by Susan Hovde
Busy Season. Both a lion and bear were taken at night on an animal cam located by White Ave. in south Red Lodge in late October. Recently, a portion of a large cat-like head just showed up in the same animal cam meaning at least the mountain lion is probably still roaming around.

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Few people will argue with you if you say that Red Lodge is a fun town to visit. Many tourists pass through to enjoy the sights, scenes and smells, but they are not the only ones. 

Recently, there have been a slew of large predator sightings in and about Red Lodge from lions to bears. These animals are to be taken seriously. They are not cute, nor do they resemble the cuddly stuffed versions. 

Susan Hovde seems to have both her share of lions and bears. 

Hovde reported on her animal cam seeing a portion of a large cat like head in the picture recently. She provided some previous animal cams from last October to let the community know what was around then-and is probably still around now. 

On May 31, around 11:30 p.m. it seems that one last reveler, perhaps left over from the previous Monday’s Memorial Day, was looking for a late night snack from the Red Box Car south of town. That was a mountain lion that showed up in the police blotter. This week a bear was in the same area.

Despite the summer holiday atmosphere, these predators are deadly serious. Last week, a sub-adult lion was killed by FWP after he strayed too close to town in Helena according to the Independent Record. He remained standing in the bushes outside the NorthWestern Energy (NWE) building while customers were inside during morning hours. A NWE employee called 911 when he noticed him on the scene. 

Lions are densely located in Montana in good or prime habitat. If they remain too long in town, they are not relocated like bears since lions’ ranges are so large that they will likely run into conflict with another lion if released in good habitat. The remaining choices are therefore, to monitor the animal and hope he moves on or dispatch him. They usually do move on since such healthy sub-adults must seek their own territory. It is a difficult time for the sub-adults as well as Red Lodge locals. According to, “There are three times during their lives when cougars are most at risk: immediately after birth, immediately after becoming independent transients, and during old age. Kittens left alone at a den or kill are vulnerable to other predators, including adult male cougars; it is unknown how many kittens survive to maturity, but experts suspect that kitten deaths could equal or exceed the number of cougars killed by sport hunting. Transient cougars spend most of their time in unfamiliar territory and have not honed their hunting skills, so do not hunt as efficiently as resident cougars.”

So be calm but be careful. Keep back doors closed and latched, don’t go out late at night without a light and bear spray and secure your cans. Small children as well as pets should be monitored at all times outdoors. 


Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, September 20, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 11:30am
    Ross Orchards, located at 111 North Street in Fromberg, is proud to announce the opening of a farm stand this Fall. The orchard will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sundays noon - 5 p.m. starting Sept. 21 and closing Oct. 13. The orchard is working in conjunction with the Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill and Red Lodge Ales to offer fun, family-friendly events.   Every weekend apples, fresh apple cider pressed with apples from the orchard, apple pastries, local honey, food, hard cider, and beer will be available.  There will also be pumpkins and a variety of local produce for sale. Additionally, each weekend will have a different event. Sept. 21 - 22 – Cider and Salutations yoga 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Sept. 28 – A farm to table dinner at 5 p.m. catered by the Last Chance Pub’s chef Kevin McNourlin. The dinner will feature local foods paired with cider. Contact to reserve seats (limit 40) Oct. 5 - 6 - Kidz Dayz. Bounce house, pumpkin carving, face painting and tractor rides through the orchard. Oct. 12- Orchard run 5k. A family-friendly run/walk through Ross Orchards. Visit to sign up. Sam Hoffmann, President of Red Lodge Ales, remarked, “it has been fun to get to know John, Laura, Hilary, and Elizabeth Ross over the last ten plus years. Together we have pruned, picked apples, and made cider on a home brew level and now commercially. We are proud to share our work with the public.” John Ross, owner of Ross Orchards, adds, “The orchard has always been a source of pride and happiness for me.  Our family has enjoyed working with Sam and Lindsey Hoffmann and their employees. We look forward to the success of Orchard days.” Contact for more info: John Ross 406-671-9614,; Sam Hoffmann 406-425-4607,; Lindsey Hoffmann 406-425-3734,  
  • Monday, September 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.

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.