Hailey, ID

Idaho Department of Fish and Game Killed Young Mountain Lion From Family of Three 'Habituating' in Residential Area

Zack Love

Idaho Department of Fish and Game was receiving many calls about a mountain lion mother with two cubs. They set three live traps. They caught one of the young in a residential area in Hailey, Idaho, and euthanized it.

Mountain lion mother with cubPhoto byZ. Love

Residents of eastern Hailey, including residents from the Deerfield subdivision, called the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and reported sightings of a mountain lion mother and her two cubs seen in residential areas.

Idaho Mountain Express reported that a Hailey woman reported an incident in mid-March to the Fish and Game. She reported that the mountain lion mother "acted aggressively and did not retreat" from her.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists became concerned that the mountain lion family became "habituated in residential areas" and “residents have indicated that they are not comfortable knowing that the chance of an unexpected encounter with a mountain lion is ever-present around their homes.”

The human and mountain lion encounters continued until Fish and Game decided to take action.

“These incidents and encounters with lions are increasing,” Fish and Game stated. “It is not desirable for lions to live in and around neighborhood homes, especially when lions do not flee when encountering people.” (Source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

Idaho Department of Fish and Game Killed Young Mountain Lion

On Thursday, 16 March 2023, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game set three live traps in a residential area in Hailey, Idaho "with permission from the homeowners" close to the two houses the cat family was frequenting.

One of the young mountain lions was captured was killed on Friday, 17 March 2023. The mother and other young mountain lion were not seen on Friday.

Idaho Fish and Game Efforts are all "Unsuccessful"

Idaho Department of Fish and Game claims it attempted to "haze the mountain lion family and prompt them to move to another area—hopefully away from residences, but were unsuccessful."

Idaho Department of Fish and Game also claims it tried to find an organization (i.e. a zoo) that would take a young mountain lion, and was "unsuccessful."

Idaho Fish and Game's regional Supervisor Craig White spoke to their actions.

He said:

“As wildlife biologists, we dedicate our careers to managing healthy and robust wildlife populations, and the last thing we want to do is euthanize an animal.” -Craig White, regional supervisor (Source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

If the other young mountain lion is captured, it will likely be euthanized.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game policy is to not relocate predators.

They gave several reasons why this is their policy. Predators will often return to the area where the original problems occurred, they encounter problems with existing male mountain lions where they have been relocated, or they will starve. (Source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

It is important for Hailey residents to be safe from mountain lions.

Suggestions for Relocating Mountain Lions Far Away

Here are a few suggestions for relocating the mountain lions far away where they would no longer be able to return to Idaho.

An example could be to have a partnership in place with other states that have very few mountain lions. There are U.S. states that have dwindling populations, where wild feral pig and deer populations are growing too large.

There are animal sanctuaries like Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas or Carolina Tiger Rescue in North Carolina that specialize in taking big cats.

All big cats in the wild will eventually become a problem to humans until one day, they're completely gone.


Big Cat Rescue official website.

Carolina Tiger Rescue official website.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge official Facebook page.

Foley, Greg. "Fish and Game kills cougar in Hailey, seeks others." Idaho Mountain Express. 22 March 2023.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game official website.

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Zack covers interesting and inspiring stories that impact local communities. He has a bachelor's degree and an MBA.

Huntsville, AL

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