Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Idaho hunters shoot pair of cougars; possible violation in one shooting

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hunters shoot pair of cougars

Mountain lions are active throughout Wood River corridor this winter

Express Staff Writer

A two-year old male cougar was photographed in the Little Wood River drainage north of Carey last winter. Photo courtesy Idaho Department of Fish and Game Photo by Courtesy photo

For such an elusive animal, mountain lions have recently been making their presence felt in the Wood River Valley.

A week after a mountain lion was blamed for injuring dogs in Bellevue, two of the predators were reported shot by hunters Thursday and Saturday in mid valley.

Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer Lee Garwood said two cougars were killed by hunters near the Starweather subdivision between Ketchum and Hailey.

Garwood said the cougars, one adult male and one adult female, were shot on Thursday, Feb. 4, and Saturday, Feb. 6, by hunters with appropriate tags for mountain lion season. The season ends March 30.

However, Garwood said Fish and Game is investigating whether the hunter who shot the mountain lion Thursday broke a county ordinance by shooting it within 150 yards of a residence.

Garwood declined to name the hunters who killed the cougars.

"That aspect is still under investigation," Garwood said. "We're still following up to see if this went against county ordinance."

Steve Carlson, who lives near the Starweather subdivision, on the west side of state Highway 75 just south of Greenhorn Gulch Road, said he saw large cat tracks in the snow around his house Wednesday night.

"My dog got spooked and came in the bedroom whimpering, so I knew something was out there," Carlson said.

Garwood said Fish and Game did not know if either of the cats killed were responsible for pet attacks in Bellevue, where three dogs were injured during the last week of January,

"It would just be speculation at this point," Garwood said. "It's in the realm of possibility that one of them circulated that far south, but there's no way to really know."

Garwood said no other mountain lion attacks have been reported in the valley since the ones that took place in Bellevue.

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