Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center

Mountain Lion Prey

Mountain lions throughout their range prefer deer over any other prey species. They kill deer and return to kill sites over the course of several nights, covering the carcasses with leaves and grasses to preserve the meat.

In areas where deer and bighorn sheep overlap in range, some mountain lions will take bighorn sheep for food. This is a concern especially in areas where bighorn sheep are struggling, and critical in areas where bighorn sheep subspecies are threatened or endangered. More work is required to better understand mountain lion prey preferences.

We are currently regularly downloading data from M67’s GPS collar and investigating data clusters that may represent feeding sites. So far, we have documented numerous instances of feeding on both bighorns and deer, as well as on smaller animals. 

Photo: lion-killed deer