Lush river Inlet to Payette Lake in Idaho at sunrise.
  Photo Courtesy of:
  Charles Knowles / The Knowles Gallery
 
Photo of landsacape.
Photo of .

MOUNTAIN LIONS IN THE STATE OF IDAHO

Say no to long seasons and high quotas

Idaho is one of the few states that doesn't allocate resources to making any official estimate on the number of mountian lions residing within the state. This may be a political move, as a population estimate could raise the possibility of public scrutiny and accompanying criticism of their exceptionally high annual hunting quotas. Despite this lack of population monitoring, IDFG estimates that hunting accounts for 80% of all mountain lion mortality.

    USE THE TABS TO THE LEFT TO EXPLORE:
  • Return to the portal page for Idaho.

  • The status of puma concolor in Idaho.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Idaho.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Idaho.

  • Cougar science and research in Idaho.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

SUMMARY: Cougars in the State of Idaho

For more detail you can explore using the links below.

The status of puma concolor.

Idaho is one of the few states that doesn't allocate resources to making any official estimate on the number of mountian lions residing within the state. This may be a political move, as a population estimate could raise the possibility of public scrutiny and accompanying criticism of their exceptionally high annual hunting quotas. Despite this lack of population monitoring, IDFG estimates that hunting accounts for 80% of all mountain lion mortality.

Click here to learn more about status

Mountain lion law in Idaho.

In Idaho, mountain lions were hunted without limit from the time of European settlement until the 1970s. There was a bounty for mountian lions from 1915 until as recent as 1958, and as populations dropped, IDFG realized that they would need to intervene if they wanted to keep their population viable. In 1972, the state legislature reclassified mountain lions as a "big game species," thereby restricting mountain lion hunting to regulated seasons set by IDFG. The following year a mandatory check of sport hunted mountain lions was initiated. In 1975, a hunting tag was required for the first time on mountain lions.

Click here to learn more about law

The history of lions in the state.

In Idaho, mountain lions were hunted without limit from the time of European settlement until the 1970s. There was a bounty for mountian lions from 1915 until as recent as 1958, and as populations dropped, IDFG realized that they would need to intervene if they wanted to keep their population viable. In 1972, the state legislature reclassified mountain lions as a "big game species," thereby restricting mountain lion hunting to regulated seasons set by IDFG. The following year a mandatory check of sport hunted mountain lions was initiated. In 1975, a hunting tag was required for the first time on mountain lions.

Click here to learn more about history

Lion habitat in Idaho.

Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of Idaho, persecution at the hands of humans drove them locally extinct. If we support open space conservation and preserve corridors connecting potential habitat, we could reverse this situation and bring mountain lions back home to Idaho.

Click here to learn more about habitat

The science of lions in the state.

Most mountain lion research in the state has been conducted by Idaho Department of Fish and Game, APHIS, the University of Idaho, or universities in neighboring states. Much of the wildlife research has been focused on game species, but there have been several research projects that focused on mountain lions.

Click here to learn more about science

Take action for lions.

Idaho's mountain lion hunting season is ten months long and hunters can purchase multiple tags in a single year. In 2014 alone, 464 lions were harvested in Idaho. In some regions, electronic calls can be used to aid in the success of the hunt. Nonresidents hunting deer or elk in Idaho, can apply those tags to mountain lion takes. Additionally, Idaho's lax hound hunting regulations produce high annual mountain lion takes. There is no limit on the number of hound hunting permits residents may receive and hounds may lawfully harass, attack and even kill mountain lions during open season.

Click here to learn more about action

ABOUT OUR PEOPLE & HISTORY: