Biologists with the University of Montana and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are starting a one-year study on mountain lions living in the east and west fork drainages of the Bitterroot River where a three-year elk study is also being conducted.
Biologists plan to use hollow biopsy darts to collect DNA samples from cougars treed by dogs.
Biologists will also use DNA information collected from scat as well as DNA from mountain lions killed by hunters.
Biologists say they hope to get a better understanding of how many mountain lions are in the region.
State officials approved the mountain lion study after the elk study discovered mountain lions to be the chief predator of elk calves in the area.