Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is working on a plan to to manage mountain lions across the state, and they have advice on what people can do to reduce the chance of a mountain lion encounter.
The proposed plan will give FWP the ability to track approximately how many mountain lions are in the state and how those lions might respond to management strategies. FWP Region 2 regional manager Mike Thompson says he hopes the plan will improve FWP’s ability to balance the needs of local wildlife and area residents.
“It gives us more freedom to deal with individual situations, and feel confident that we’re okay with mountain lion conservation, and we’re okay with taking care of people,” Thompson said.
Mountain lions startled parents earlier this week when they showed up near a school bus stop in Florence. Thompson said the lions were probably just passing through, but FWP will respond if it looks like they’re settling down in the neighborhood. Thompson advises parents who see a mountain lion to stay calm, move away from the lion and keep kids and pets as quiet as possible.
“What they react to, speaking of lions, is a lot of jerky motions, like prey,” Thompson said. “Squealing, like prey. That would make them hang around.”
Thompson says not to run during a mountain lion encounter. He also advises trying to appear larger and more intimidating to discourage lions from getting closer. He says FWP’s proposed plan addresses what people can do to reduce mountain lion interactions, such as not feeding deer and turkeys on personal property.
FWP has extended the public comment deadline on its mountain lion management plan to Tuesday, January 15. More information about the plan is available here.