Idaho Mountain Lion Hunting: Everything You Need to Know

Mountain lion hunting is an exciting adventure, and nowhere is this truer than in Idaho. There are few sights more exhilarating than coming face to face with one of these big cats in the wild.

Idaho’s mountain lion population is healthy and expanding, which means there are plenty of opportunities for hunters who want to take part in this thrilling activity.

To get the most out of your mountain lion hunting trip, it’s important to be prepared. In this guide we will cover everything you need to know about Idaho mountain lion hunting, from the regulations and seasons to the best hunting tips and gear.

We will also discuss how to locate and track mountain lions as well as provide some helpful safety tips. So grab your gear and join us on a comprehensive guide to Idaho Mountain lion Hunting!

mountain lion stalking prey

Idaho’s Mountain Lion Hunting Seasons and Regulations

Idaho’s mountain lion hunting regulations are divided by region and season, with some additional limitations in place.

Make sure to carefully research your region’s regulations before heading out for a hunt. In Idaho, mountain lion hunting is generally permitted most of the year, specifically because the dates change so often, this link will take you to the Idaho Fish & Game website where they layout each year’s dates and limits.

During this time, only one mountain lion may be taken per hunting party, and all hunting parties must have at least 4 members present. The firearms limits are also strictly regulated, with hunters only able to use centerfire rifles, muzzleloaders, and shotgun/slug combinations.

In the southern portion of the state, hunting is allowed from December 1st through April 15th, with some additional restrictions.

Top Idaho Mountain Lion Hunting Tips

If you’re heading out to Idaho to hunt mountain lions, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for the adventure ahead. Here are some of the top tips our guides suggest for a successful mountain lion hunt:

  1. Scout the area before the hunt. Spend some time scouring the area with binoculars and look for signs of mountain lion activity, like tracks, scat, and leaving trails.
  2. Use the right bait. Mountain lions are attracted to the smoky smell of burning wood, so use this to your advantage. Try lighting a small fire near where you plan to hunt and wait for the cats to appear.
  3. Keep your approach slow and steady. Mountain lions are skittish and will flee if you move too quickly or make too much noise. Take your time and move slowly.
  4. Use a decoy. A stuffed cat or dog decoy can help attract a mountain lion to your hunting spot.
  5. Know your shot angles. Mountain lions can move quickly, so make sure you practice shooting at different angles and distances.

Hunting Gear and Equipment for Idaho Mountain Lion Hunts

Before heading out on a hunt, you’ll need to make sure you have the right hunting gear and equipment. Many of the same items used for deer, elk, and other big game will be useful for hunting mountain lions. Here is a list of essential items for Idaho mountain lion hunting:

  1. Firearms. Unless you are planning on hunting with a archery or spear, you will need to choose the right firearm for your hunt. Centerfire rifles, muzzleloaders, and shotguns/slug combinations are all recommended for mountain lion hunting, so be sure to research which gun is best for your situation.
  2. Optics. Quality optics are essential for hunting mountain lions. Good binoculars and spotting scopes will help you locate cats in the distance and scout the area around your hunting spot.
  3. Ammunition. Make sure you have the right type of ammunition for your firearm, as well as some extra rounds in case of emergencies.
  4. Clothing and camouflage. Mountain lions are curious and will investigate sounds, movements, and smells. Wear clothing that can blend into the environment and always keep an eye out for any potential threats. Keep your scent in mind!
  5. Calls and decoys. Attracting mountain lions can be challenging, so using some decoys or calls may help draw them into range. Make sure to practice using them before you head out hunting.

Locating and Tracking Mountain Lions in Idaho

Once you’ve chosen the right hunting gear and equipment for your hunt, the next step is to learn how to locate and track mountain lions. In Idaho, there are several techniques you can use to locate and track mountain lions, such as the following:

1. Look for signs of activity. This includes tracks, scat, and trails. If you see any of these signs, you could have a mountain lion nearby.

2. Listen for vocalizations. Mountain lions make a distinctive sound that can be heard for miles. If you hear this sound, investigate the area to determine if a mountain lion is present.

3. Use decoys and calls. If you are struggling to find a mountain lion in the wild, you may need to try some more proactive methods of luring them in. Using decoys and calls is a great way to draw mountain lions into your hunting area.

4. Be patient. Hunting mountain lions is a waiting game. It may take some time for one to show up, so don’t give up hope!


Idaho has some of the best mountain lion hunting in the country, and with the right preparations you can have a successful and enjoyable hunt.

To get the most out of the experience make sure to do your research, choose the right gear, and hone your skills on locating and tracking mountain lions. If you follow our tips and use common sense and caution then you can have a thrilling mountain lion hunting adventure in Idaho.


Q: What firearms are allowed for mountain lion hunting in Idaho?

A: In northern Idaho, mountain lion hunters can use centerfire rifles, muzzleloaders, and shotguns/slug combinations. In the southern portion of the state, firearms restrictions are slightly different, so be sure to research the regulations carefully before your hunt.

Q: How can I attract a mountain lion?

A: Mountain lions are attracted to the smoky smell of burning wood, so try lighting a small fire near where you plan to hunt and wait for the cats to appear. You can also use decoys and calls to help lure them in.

Q: What should I wear when hunting mountain lions?

A: When hunting mountain lions, it is important to wear clothing and camouflage that can blend in to the environment to avoid spooking them. Also be sure to wear a hunting vest or jacket and plenty of durable layers to keep you warm and dry.

Q: What should I do if I encounter a mountain lion?

A: If you come across a mountain lion, it is important to maintain your composure and keep an eye on the cat at all times. Slowly back away while speaking in a calm, reassuring voice, and do not make any sudden movements.

Joe Edwards

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