Cougars in Colorado Neighborhoods

We live in a world with wild animals and mountain lions are just some of them. The concern I have is that as our numbers grow, and as mountain lion numbers grow, the wild animals are becoming habituated to human activity and losing their open spaces. We can see results of wild animals reacting to their natural instinct to hunt by the pets that are going missing in the Boulder area.

Note, this press release says to teach our youngsters what to do when they see a wild animal but doesn’t say what to do. You can follow this link to learn more:

Colorado’s current science estimates the population of mountain lions in the state to be approximately 3,800-4,400 independent lions, which excludes dependent young. They deem this to be a stable number. With a quota system, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a strict policy for the methods and the numbers that can be taken by hunters and incidental means.

Wise use of our resources is a must, and you may know that I hunt them for population management concerns but also for food. Here’s just one recipe that you may like too.

Wildlife officials relocate mountain lion out of Boulder neighborhood Sunday morning

A mountain lion was reported under this porch in Boulder on Sunday morning (photo by Jason Clay/CPW)

BOULDER, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, with a helping hand from Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks (OSMP) and Boulder Police Animal Protection Officers, removed a mountain lion that was under a porch at a residence on 23rd Street and Panorama Ave. Sunday morning.

Homeowners reported the mountain lion at 7:30 a.m. right after seeing the cat. Their dog alerted the family that something was in the backyard underneath the decking that had roughly only a foot of clearance from the ground. The homeowner went to see what it was, thinking it was possibly a raccoon that they often find in the area, but upon looking with a flashlight noticed it was a mountain lion and called authorities.

OSMP Rangers and a Boulder PD Animal Protection Officer were the first to arrive on-scene. Once CPW Wildlife Officer Tyler Asnicar arrived, he tranquilized the mountain lion and they pulled it out from under the porch just before 10 a.m.

The mountain lion was relocated and released in a remote area in southwest Larimer County by 1 p.m.

It was a sub-adult male mountain lion, in good body condition, weighing approximately 115-120 pounds.

Asnicar described the various circumstances that come into play when looking at relocating a mountain lion. Given the time of day and how this lion was in a confined space that created a safe opportunity to attempt to tranquilize it, the decision was made to move it out of the area.

“One factor we look at is location when we get cats that come into town,” Asnicar said. “This one was pretty far east in Boulder in a populated area and it is not a good situation to have a big predator like that close to so many people. It is better for the people and the cat to try to move it. Relocation was our best approach in this case.”

Mountain lion activity is not new in Boulder and is to be expected. Since Jan. 15, CPW has had 17 reports of mountain lions in the City of Boulder, not including Sunday’s call that led to this relocation.

“Leading up to this over the past couple weeks, we’ve had several pets taken in town by a sub-adult lion, probably siblings in town,” Asnicar said. “They’ve been spotted a lot in north Boulder. This may or may not have been one of those cats, but increased winter activity is fairly typical as they follow their prey base down, and particularly the mule deer that move into lower elevations this time of year. The cats concentration around the western edge of town and that leads to an increase in sightings and probably led to this cat being in town looking for something to eat.”

CPW advises residents to learn what to do should they encounter any of the various wild animals that utilize this densely populated urban area.

“Especially in Boulder, always be aware, but don’t be worried,” Asnicar said, speaking specifically about mountain lions being in Boulder. “Cats are going to come and go, it is not a new thing and it isn’t going to go away, so know that if you are out and about in town you have a chance of coming upon a mountain lion or other predators as well like bears, coyotes and foxes. So keep an eye on your pets, keep an eye on your kids and teach them what to do if they were to encounter a mountain lion or bear.”

People can learn more about mountain lions or other wildlife by visiting CPW’s Living with Wildlife section of its website. 

If residents do spot a mountain lion in town, they are asked to report it directly to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. That can be accomplished by calling CPW’s Denver office at 303-291-7227 if during business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by calling Colorado State Patrol at 303-239-4501 if outside of normal business hours. Timely reports are critical, especially when it is an active sighting of a mountain lion and not one spotted on a security or trail camera from days before.

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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast. 

Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to outdoors, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.

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