There have been many recent sightings of mountain lions in Missoula's five valleys and warnings that they are hunting deer in the Grant Creek area. These reports are no surprise to FWP Region 2 Land Management Specialist Jamie Jonkel.

"Whenever you get the melt, the warmer weather and the green-up, you see a big shift with the elk and deer and with that green-up shift come the lions," Jonkel said. "When we get these skiffs of snow, more people see the lion tracks down lower, in and amidst where people live and hike... it's like this every year."

Mountain Lions often go unseen, but Jonkel says the snow and close proximity are leading to lots of local reports.

"We've got lions all around Missoula," Jonkel said. "They use the river bottoms down around Orchard Homes, Kelley Island, up the Rattlesnake, Grant Creek, O'Brien Creek, Miller Creek, you know it's all lion country I probably get a call from someone who sees lion tracks, sees a lion kill, or finds a toilet site everyday."

After the lions, come the bears. Jonkel says he’s received reports of bears in the Clearwater area, and expects most to be awake by mid-April.

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