Much of Idaho is suitable habitat for cougars, and as such, they seem to be widely distributed across the landscape. That being said, Idaho Department of Fish & Game does not have a population estimate for the state.
Idaho Fish & Game believes that the hound hunting of cougars still accounts for 80% of all cougar mortality, despite the fact that the state is unable to accurately estimate population numbers.
Recently the state made it mandatory for hunters to submit a tooth from all harvested animals to document age. Cougar populations appear to be more closely tied to elk and deer populations than originally thought; as elk populations in North Central Idaho have declined, so to has the harvest of lions.
There has been more interest and concern regarding the orphaning of kittens in the state, as well as sightings of cougars in urban settings.
The open season for most hunt units is August 30 – March 31, while some units are open until April 30 or June 30. Hounds may be used in all hunt units, although there are times during the season when they are prohibited (typically during the fall).
Unlike other states, Idaho manages mountain lion harvest by setting female quotas – a maximum limit of females that can be taken in a hunt unit. There is no limit on the number of males that can be taken. Additionally, there are nearly as many hunt units without any quota as there are with female quotas, a management system that results in very high harvest.
In 2012 (the most recent year that Idaho Fish and Game provides data for), a total of 522 lions were killed by hunters, 245 of which were females.
For the 2014 season, the total statewide female quota (for those units possessing quotas) is 126.