A mountain lion in west Billings was killed Thursday by state wildlife officials for the safety of the people living in the area.
The lion went up a tree in the Oakridge subdivision near 48th Street West.
Game wardens and a biologist from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks responded.
The first sighting of the animal walking in a yard came in around 4 a.m.
According to neighbors, it went into at least one tree before walking through another yard to another tree.
"These are circumstances that occur when it gets hot and dry, especially bears and mountain lions," said Sgt. Matt Ladd, game warden with FWP. "They're in kind of a desperate need for food, and a lot of times they'll end up in really urban areas and in this case right in the middle of a subdivision with a lot of houses around, which posed a considerable public safety risk. So unfortunately this time we had to put the lion down."
Ladd says it's important to keep pets inside at night to keep them safe from mountain lions.
As for bears, he said to make sure to put away things with a food scent, such as barbecues and garbage cans.
The National Park Service provides the following guidelines should a person encounter a mountain lion:
- Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up if possible so that they don't panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion.
- Do not crouch down or bend over. A human standing up is just not the right shape for a lion's prey. Conversely, a person squatting or bending over resembles a four-legged prey animal. In mountain lion country, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children.
- Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Again, pick up small children. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.
- Fight back if attacked. A hiker in southern California used a rock to fend off a mountain lion that was attacking his son. Others have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal
- Bear Spray. Carry bear spray with you while hiking. Although it is called “bear” spray, the pepper powder will work on just about any wild or domestic animal that attacks.
Residents should report any possible mountain lion sightings immediately to their nearest office of Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
February 23, 2021: Jay Kinsey was driving northeast of White Sulphur Springs last week when he saw something unusual: three young mountain lions running along the road.