The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is encouraging residents to remain vigilant and close off spaces beneath their porches and decks after receiving “numerous” daily calls about mountain lion sightings in the Wood River Valley this week—particularly in Ketchum and Sun Valley.

In Warm Springs, two juvenile mountain lions were recently hazed away from a ‘day bed’ under a deck. Though local lions haven’t been “misbehaving,” per se, according to Fish and Game spokesman Terry Thompson, approaching the animals could easily turn into a conflict situation.

Particularly concerning for the department has been the footage it’s received of the big cats taking daytime strolls in Ketchum.

“That is not the secretive, nighttime lion behavior that is typically exhibited. They’ve been right out in the open in the middle of the day,” Thompson said. “Just because you’ve heard that lions are out at night, sneaking around in the bushes—well, these guys did not read that book.”

His advice: Be alert of your surroundings, remove headphones and carry bear spray when walking at night.

“We want to give Ketchum residents a definite heads up about their presence, because the lions are very, very active right now,” he said. “At the same time, we don’t want to cause alarm. We also want to be careful about not giving out ‘hot spotting’ locations that could inspire people to go search them out.”

Thompson said Fish and Game has not received any reports of injured or killed pets recently. However, dog and cat owners have the responsibility of keeping pets leashed or inside whenever possible, he said.

Bird enthusiasts should clean up birdseed scattered on the ground and bring in ground-level feeders at night to avoid attracting raccoons and skunks, two popular menu options for lions. Most importantly, homeowners should close off prime cat-napping spots beneath porches and decks.

“The key is, don’t give the animals a chance or place to shelter during the day,” Thompson said.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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