Are There Mountain Lions In New Hampshire? Everything You Need To Know

Mountain Lions In New Hampshire

If you look up a list of which of the seven big cats are the most elusive, the mountain lion will probably rank just below the snow leopard. And they’re not even as rare as snow leopards, which makes that fact even more bewildering. Their spy/ninja skills are just that extraordinary. All jokes aside, you’ll have to be extremely lucky to get a glimpse of the shy cougar in its natural habitat.

Are There Mountain Lions In New Hampshire?

No, there are no native Mountain Lion species living in the state of New Hampshire. But New Hampshire’s got both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to seeing mountain lions. 

The advantage is that it’s really, really close to Quebec in Canada which has native mountain lions living there but on the other hand it’s on the East Coast of the US and the eastern mountain lion has been extinct for over a hundred years.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will say that there aren’t any mountain lions in New Hampshire. Conspiracy theorists disagree and believe that the department is hiding the existence of the wild cats from the local people. Why? We’re not really sure. 

If there aren’t any mountain lions in New Hampshire, how does that explain sightings? For that, you have to understand what ‘no mountain lions’ means. Technically, it just means there isn’t any breeding mountain lion population in the state a.k.a no babies being born in New Hampshire. It doesn’t stop a solitary mountain lion from wandering in from somewhere else and having a stroll around the state. 

After all, there have been confirmed sightings and signs of mountain lions in states like Maine, Connecticut, and New York. So mountain lions do come east even though they don’t live there. 

Believers are convinced that mountain lions do live in the eastern states. They’re just so good at hiding that nobody’s aware of it. Wildlife officials dismiss these theories. Where there’s one mountain lion, there are tracks, scat, scratch marks, and a bunch of blurry photos and video footage, etc. and none of these have been found in New Hampshire.

Mountain Lion Sightings In New Hampshire

Mountain Lions In New Hampshire

People really, really want to see mountain lions. That’s why there are usually dozens of calls in a year reporting mountain lion sightings. You might find tracks, you might see a large feline on your cameras, or you might even glimpse something out in the wild and get excited about it. None of it is credible evidence for a mountain lion. Bobcats, raccoons, coyotes, and even domestic cats get mistaken for cougars all the time.

The Fish and Game Department examines all reports but especially values physical evidence like fur samples or scat. They haven’t been able to confirm any of the hundreds of sightings over the years. It doesn’t mean that people couldn’t possibly have seen mountain lions in New Hampshire. Sometimes we see something and have no proof to back it up. It doesn’t mean the thing wasn’t there but it’s also possible that our eyes have tricked us.

How does this explain people who call the department and describe a mountain lion exactly? A mountain lion can’t cross an entire state without leaving any tracks behind, can it? Or maybe it can and ‘ghost cat’ is actually a really good nickname for the mountain lion.

When Was the Last Mountain Lion Killed In New Hampshire?

The last mountain lion in the state was killed by hunters in 1885. Since then, there haven’t been any mountain lions in New Hampshire (either alive or dead). Our ancestors were afraid of the big predators and thought they would eat all their livestock so they killed them right, left, and center. Now, we sadly live in a world where mountain lions are extinct from the eastern half of the United States.

Can You Kill a Mountain Lion In New Hampshire?

Since there’s no point in making laws about things that don’t exist, New Hampshire doesn’t have any laws about the killing of mountain lions. Unlike states like Texas, there’s no proper season for shooting lions in the state. But if there’s a mountain lion attacking you or your livestock, you are officially allowed to kill them. It should be immediately reported to Fish and Game afterward.

Also, Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions In the U.S.

What To Do If You See a Mountain Lion In New Hampshire?

Mountain Lions In New Hampshire

If you happen to see a mountain lion in New Hampshire, you should definitely make a call to the Fish and Game Department first so they can examine the evidence. Who knows, you might be the lucky one to finally call in an official sighting in New Hampshire after all these years. 

If the question is what you should do if you suddenly come face to face with a mountain lion,  you should hold eye contact, stand tall, and talk loudly and firmly so you can scare it off. 

The reclusive animal will probably slink off without a second thought. Then make the call to the Fish and Game Department, once you’re sure that you’re safe and sound.

What Kind Of Big Cats Are In New Hampshire?

We’ve all got different definitions of the big cats. Should only the Panthera genus be included or not? But the most accepted one is the big seven – tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, snow leopards, cheetahs and cougars. Only two of these, jaguars and mountain lions, even live in the Americas so the rest are obviously out of the question. Of those two, neither live on the East Coast. 

The closest thing New Hampshire has to a big cat is probably the bobcat, which is a type of lynx and lives all over the United States. It’s often mistaken for mountain lions even though it’s much smaller.

Also, Read About Mountain Lions in Nevada


And that was everything about the Mountain Lion In New Hampshire. I hope this article answers all your queries.

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