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Cougar sightings in Utah on the rise

LOGAN — The number of cougar sightings is up this year and wildlife experts want you and your family to stay safe.

Utah State University Wildlife Specialist Terry Messmer says the cats can be found in the high Uinta Mountains to dry southern deserts.

Cougars live all across the state and mainly go after deer when looking for a meal. So, that means they could be anywhere deer tend to go.

“They mostly hang around places deer can be found, so it’s possible a cougar is near when deer drop into urban areas,” Messmer said. “Keep campsites clean, don’t hike alone, and immediately leave the area if you come across a dead animal, especially a deer.”

Messmer recommends being on high alert while out at dusk or dawn, install motion-sensitive lights around your home, and bring pets and livestock in at night.

In fact, the Salem police department says people in that area have reported spotting mountain lions on their home surveillance cameras at night, possibly pushed into urban areas by wildland fires.

If you do come across one, say while hiking, don’t approach it, keep eye contact, stand up tall, and talk loudly at the beast.

If you encounter one of the large cats, the Division of Wildlife Resources asks that you give them a call.