River Bend in Montana
Photo of lion track in snow.


Encourage Montana FWP to reduce hunting quotas until they have better mountain lion population estimates.

With Glacier, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and plenty of mountain lion habitat within easy reach, there are plenty of opportunities for mountain lion research in the state of Montana. Cougar research is usually conducted by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the National Park System, Montana State University in Bozeman, University of Montana in Missoula, Chippewa Cree Tribal Wildlife Program, the Hornocker Wildlife Institute, Wildlife Conservation Society, Panthera, or researchers outside the state.

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  • The status of Puma concolor in Montana.

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  • How you can take action to help!

Lion Science and Research

Recent work by Jesse R. Newby, L. Scott Mills, Toni K. Ruth, Daniel H. Pletscher, Howard B. Quigley, Michael S. Mitchell, Kerry M. Murphy, and Rich DeSimone looked at how human-derived mortality influences spatial patterns in cougar population dynamics. They studied these dynamics using long-term data from the Garnet Mountains of western Montana. This area has a heavy hunting pressure, creating a sink with a declining population until hunting was partially restricted. At this point it became a source for dispersing individuals.

Research conducted by Cody Welch, Kyran Kunkel, Tim Vosburgh, and Sarah Olimb, addressed spatial population dynamics of mountain lions living in North-central Montana. They began a study in 2006 with the following objectives:

  • Creating a minimum count estimate of mountain lions in the Missouri River Breaks
  • Estimating mortality rates, density, distribution, and reproduction
  • Mapping home ranges
  • Measuring connectivity between island mountain ranges and the Missouri River Breaks
  • Documenting conflict between mountain lions and livestock
To do this, they GPS collared 14 individuals (6 females and 8 males) in the Bears Paw and Little Rocky Mountain ranges and followed their movements and fate between 2006 and 2010.

Research conducted by Hugh Robinson, David Choate, Rich DiSimone, Mark Hebblewhite, Tom Jones, Mike Mitchell, Kerry Murphy, Toni Ruth, Leland Top Sky, and Jim Williams addressed mountain lion habitat use, mortality risk, and population dynamics. The ultimate goal of the work is to assist MTFWP personnel in developing local harvest strategies and a statewide mountain lion management plan.

Research conducted by David Choate, Gary Belovsky, and Michael Wolfe addressed mountain lion dynamics in relation to their prey. They studied the natural colonization of mountain lions on the National Bison Range to test predictions from foraging theory. They looked at changes in herbivore behavior and diet before and after mountain lion recolonization. Specifically, they looked at mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk.

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Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Commonly abbreviated as: MFWP

Martha Williams, Director

Main Office:
1420 East 6th Avenue
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
(406) 444-2535

Wildlife Management Section Chief
Quentin Kujala

Main Office:
1420 East 6th Avenue
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701
(406) 444-5672

Please write to the director and express your concern for mountain lions in Montana.

Ask them to stop increasing mountain lion hunting quotas.

Thank MFWP when they take steps to protect our state's mountain lions.