Rise and shout, the Cougars — real ones — are out, killing a deer in Bountiful and a bobcat in Cottonwood Heights

Three times on Saturday, cougars appeared in Wasatch foothill neighborhoods — one burying a deer at a Bountiful home and another eating a bobcat on the back porch of a Cottonwood Heights house — prompting Utah wildlife officials to warn hillside residents to keep pets and small children indoors.

During periods of heavy snow buildup, deer sometimes exit the mountains, bringing predators after them, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

“There were quite a few [sightings] last year,” spokeswoman Faith Heaton Jolley said Monday. “Whenever it gets snowy and the deer get into lower elevations, the cougars will follow.”

Cougars normally are elusive and steer clear of humans, but they have been appearing outside northern Utah homes with greater frequency in recent weeks after snow began falling.

In November, a mother lion and two cubs killed a deer behind a home in Olympus Cove. The attack was captured on the home’s surveillance camera. A doorbell camera then captured images of two cougars lurking outside the front door of a Bountiful home on Dec. 6.

Saturday’s first sighting in Bountiful occurred at 3 a.m., when two cougars appeared on 3000 South above 650 East, according to Jolley.

Then, late Saturday, a solo cougar killed a deer that was apparently injured in a collision with a vehicle. The big cat buried the carcass outside a Bountiful home on Bridlewood Drive, about a mile south of the earlier sighting. Cougars often bury their prey to cache it for a future meal.

"We are not sure if it was the same cougar," Jolley said. "We responded but have not been able to locate them."

Also Saturday, wildlife officers responded to the Cottonwood Heights home, located south of the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, after the homeowners reported a cougar on their porch. The officers found a bobcat and raccoon that had been killed by a cougar, then saw the perpetrator nearby and scared off the big cat, according to Jolley.

The homeowners had photographed the lion chewing the bobcat’s head just feet from the door and posted the image on social media, according to neighbors.

Officials removed the carcasses from all the kill sites in hopes of discouraging the lions from returning to claim them. If the lions return, officials will try to relocate them away from the city.

According to Jolley, the lion was sighted again near the Cottonwood Heights home on Sunday, but it was not apprehended.

DWR provided these tips to prevent encounters/conflicts with cougars:

  • Don’t hike or jog alone.

  • Travel in groups; keep everyone together, including children and dogs.

  • Make noise while hiking to alert cougars of your presence.

  • Leave the area if you find a dead animal, especially deer or elk. It could be a cougar kill, and the animal may return and defend its food.

  • Keep a clean camp. Store food and garbage in odor-free, locked containers or hung between two trees where cougars (and bears) cannot get it.

  • Do not leave children outside unattended, especially at dawn and dusk.

  • As a deterrent, install outside and motion sensitive lighting around your property.

  • Trim vegetation and remove woodpiles to reduce hiding places for wildlife.

  • Bring pets and livestock inside at night or secure them in a barn or a kennel with a top.

And DWR provided these tips for what to do if you encounter a cougar:

  • Stop. Never run from a cougar. Do not approach the animal.

  • Maintain eye contact.

  • Pick up children and pets or keep them close.

  • Stand up tall. Do not crouch or squat.

  • Make yourself look bigger by raising and waving your arms or jacket above your head.

  • Talk firmly in a loud voice, back away slowly and leave the area.

  • Fight back if you are attacked. Protect your head and neck. If you are aggressive enough, the cougar will probably flee.