Law Enforcement

Coppers Cap (Another) Cornered Cougar

From Idaho Fish and Game comes this report of a human-cougar-dog incident along Mores Creek south of Idaho City. Score: one dead dog and one dead cougar.

Thursday evening about 8 or 8:30 p.m. a young boy went out with his dad to look for a family pet bird dog that had been missing since the day before.
They were searching in thick sagebrush near their home in a Mores Creek subdivision when the boy heard noises in the brush. Instead of the missing dog he had hoped to find, he came face to face with a young cougar.

The boy ran, stumbled and found the cat close by. The cat took a swipe with its front paw, scratching the youth on the arm and hand. The boy yelled to his father, who fired a round from his 9 mm handgun to scare the cat away. The boy’s wounds were considered minor.

Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers, an off-duty Meridian police officer and a Boise County deputy responded to the incident. With the help of tracking dogs, the officers located the cat, guarding the pet dog it had killed. The officers killed the lion with shots from handguns and a rifle.

The female cat was estimated to be about 50 pounds and a year and a half old.

It is not unusual for young lions to get into trouble after they have left the protection their mother and are learning to survive on their own said Senior Conservation Officer Matt O’Connell.

When a lion has made physical contact with a human, especially in the circumstance of having killed a pet dog, protocol is to kill the animal, he said.

Such events are rare; this the second recorded mountain lion incident involving injury to a human in Idaho. The other involved a 12-year-old boy on the Salmon River in the early 1990s.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Just for some enlightenment of someone who never took a journalism class, this article is very similar to other stories. Did your information come from a press release or another news article?

    Editor NOTE–press release from F&G as disclosed at beginning.

  2. Houses in “Cougar Country” are always a problem. When they start moving into town it may be time to start thinning the populations.

    They are quick, silent and lethal. While attacks are rare they still give me the creeps to think about what could happen to a child or unsuspecting adult in the foothills.

  3. boisetaxpayer
    Sep 23, 2011, 8:46 pm

    I’m an outdoorsman and a hunter, not a tree hugger by any means. We can’t continue to blame Idaho’s wildlife for ill planned subdivisions or people constantly encroaching on wild habitat. The problem isn’t the wildlife, it’s people.

  4. Paul you are right…it is time to start thinning the population. Send them back to Cal where they came from.

  5. Man, just like ol’yeller. Sad tale.

  6. Wasn’t a young boy mauled by a Cougar in the Robie Creek community 10 or so years ago?

    EDITOR NOTE–You are correct, but if memory serves (sometimes it doesn’t) that cat was a captive wild critter.

  7. I’ve seen two on Grimes Creek in the past 3 weeks scavaging the trash (attractant) the campers left behind. Mmm… when the trash runs out and the hunger sets in dinner of humans and dogs are the next best thing.

  8. SueSue, They like to sneek up from behind and jump on the upper body, bite the head and neck. They hate dogs because they can’t sneek up on a nose like that. Several dogs and they’ll head up a tree.

  9. I really like cats but I like the idea of Junior becoming cat food less. Boulder had a similar problem and refused to acknowledge it until a few folk had been attacked and one killed.

  10. boisetaxpayer
    Sep 28, 2011, 8:34 am

    JIMV –
    Boulder did nothing but build out into cat territory, that was the reason. It would be prudent of government when they are planning remote subdivisions etc to analyze this risk to minimize impact to people and cats alike.

  11. boisetaxpayer
    Sep 28, 2011, 10:47 am

    an interesting statistic from the City of Boulder website regarding mountain lions:
    “There has been an average of 0.2 annual human deaths in all of North America from mountain lions between 1900 and 2007. This number is very low compared to annual deaths from black widow spiders (1.4 between 1950-1989), domestic dogs (16 between 1979-1998) and car crashes (45,000 between 1980-2005).”

    Save the lions, beware of spiders and puppies, ban all vehicles!

  12. Boisetaxpayer..I can recommend a great book on the Boulder issue, “The Beast in the Garden” by David Baron. It almost reads like a novel, goes into each sighting and attack leading to the deaths, and what was going on in the town at the time. The Denver Post wrote about it “Take Peter Benchley’s best selling ‘Jaws’, move it to the Colorado Front Range, add a group of nature loving citizens and you have ‘The Beast in the Garden’.

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