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Game wardens kill mountain lion in Lockwood due to public safety concerns

mountain lion.jpg
Posted at 2:58 PM, Aug 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-08 17:43:17-04

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, game wardens killed a mountain lion in Lockwood on Saturday, Aug. 5, due to public safety concerns. The agency said the adult male mountain lion was in poor physical condition and expressing abnormal and potentially dangerous behaviors.

Dale Hogenson lives on Rolling Meadow Drive, where the mountain lion was eventually killed. Hogenson wasn't home on Saturday, but he told MTN News on Monday that his neighbors told him the mountain lion was shot in a tree close by their neighborhood. Hogenson said the mountain lion didn't die right away and ran to their street.

Hogenson lives right across the street from the home where the mountain lion was eventually shot and killed. He said the owner of the home was unaware of what was happening right on his front steps.

Montana FWP backs up Hogenson's story in a news release Monday afternoon:

"Area residents had reported sightings of a mountain lion wandering a populated neighborhood in the middle of the day over the past week. On Saturday, a homeowner reported to FWP their dogs had treed a mountain lion on their property, likely while the mountain lion was attempting to kill the homeowner’s chickens. Mountain lions are solitary, elusive animals that are typically most active at dawn and dusk. The bold behavior displayed by this mountain lion is abnormal.

"There are mountain lions near Billings and surrounding communities, but they typically avoid heavily populated areas. The mountain lion euthanized in Lockwood was very skinny and was likely in the neighborhood looking for easily accessible food sources, such as chickens. Many wildlife struggle to find food during the hot, dry conditions of late summer. Mountain lions can be found across most of Montana and eat primarily deer and elk.

"State policy prohibits the relocation and/or rehabilitation of mountain lions due to their territorial behavior. Historically, relocation efforts for mountain lions have failed. The removal of this mountain lion was the only option to protect the safety of area residents.

"If you encounter a mountain lion, do not approach it, and do not run away, which could trigger a predatory response. Instead, make noise and try to appear larger with your arms or clothing. If you encounter a lion within city limits or near a residence, contact FWP or local law enforcement.

"For more information on mountain lion management, visit: fwp.mt.gov/conservation/wildlife-management/mountain-lion [lnks.gd]"

Nearly 40 miles away, an Edgar resident is also claiming to be struggling with a mountain lion on his property. Nev Harding said he had seen a mountain lion near his home multiple times for the past three weeks.

He said he is grateful that his 12-year-old Great Dane has scared it off, especially when he said the mountain lion was about 20 yards away. He said something has killed three of his roosters and 13 of his chickens, and he points a finger at the mountain lion.

"The problem that we are seeing is these cats are getting so used to humanity," Harding said. “If you relocated them, they come back.”

Harding said he attempted to reach out to the FWP office in Billings but was told to contact the agency's Helena branch to report the animal. FWP in Billings said the agency has not received a report about a mountain lion in Edgar.

"I am concerned. I’m afraid for the dog. (The mountain lion) was not afraid of me at all," he said.