Jacks Valley resident Laurie O’Bryne said she woke up Tuesday morning to mountain lion tracks outside her front door.
She wanted to warn others, especially hikers in northern Douglas County, that the lions were out there.
Active lions in Jacks Valley are nothing out of the ordinary, said Chris Healy, public information officer at Nevada Department of Wildlife.
He said the lions are in search of food and the mule deer herd in the area is a draw.
“In any given year from Highway 50 north to Verdi there’s probably seven to 14 mountain lions in the area,” Healy said, adding that’s a lot of country and the lions aren’t in a high density.
He said hikers should wear a bell as to not surprise the wildlife or hike with a companion.
“It is very rare to have a human encounter,” Healy said. “It is more likely that your are going to be seen versus seeing a mountain lion.”
He said when mountain lions or bears see or hear you coming, “they are going to get out of your way.”
Healy also said the bears should be waking up soon, with the chance of encounters increasing. He said the difference between bears and mountains lions is “bears have no fear.”
He said with all wildlife it’s important to “leave the animals alone” and not try to feed them or get between a mother bear and her cubs.
“Wildlife are capable of feeding themselves,” Healy said. “When you feed animals, you are creating problems you aren’t thinking of.”
He cited feeding deer: “If you feed mule deer, you are inviting mountain lions.”