Of all the wild cats that roam the United States, the mountain lion is one that needs to be talked about more. Also known as pumas or panthers, these cats were once the feline overlords of the United States. Now, they are solitary animals that prefer to stay as far away from humans as possible. They are apex predators who love deer, and they use stealth and ambush tactics to hunt.
Are There Mountain Lions In New Jersey?
New Jersey is a highly urban state in the United States. It’s in the northeastern part of the country, bordered by New York. Apart from its abundance of suburbs, New Jersey also has plenty of lakes, rivers, forests, and other natural elements.
Once upon a time, mountain lions roamed the whole of the United States, including New Jersey. Today, that is not the case. There are no more mountain lions that live in New Jersey. In fact, there has never been a confirmed sighting of the animal within New Jersey, despite many people claiming otherwise.
Mountain lion sightings in New Jersey
Mountain lions were once native to New Jersey. Today, whether people want to believe it or not, it is impossible to spot one in the state. Year after year, New Jersey residents claim that they’ve seen mountain lions.
People from all across the state, including Atlantic, Camden, and Sussex counties have tried to report sightings to the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Department. However, officials keep declaring that mountain lions do not live anywhere in New Jersey.
Sometimes, when New Jersians think they’ve seen a mountain lion, what they’ve really seen is a bobcat. Bobcats are often mistaken for mountain lions because, to the untrained eye, they both look quite similar.
What kind of big cats are in New Jersey?
Bobcats are the only wild cats that are native to New Jersey. Also known as the red lynx, this large cat is found not only in New Jersey but all throughout North America.
Bobcats are smaller and more compact than mountain lions. They usually grow to about two feet tall, which is only slightly bigger than regular house cats. But, don’t let their small size fool you- these cats are fierce hunters. Like mountain lions, they also prey on white-tailed deer (which can be nearly twice their size!), and also smaller animals like goats or poultry.
Most bobcats live in the Northern parts of New Jersey, like Sussex, Passaic, Warren, and Morris counties. Bobcat sightings in central and southern New Jersey don’t happen that often.
Also, Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions In the U.S.
What State has the most Mountain Lions?
According to recent estimates, Colorado is the state with the most mountain lions. Anywhere between 3,000 to 7,000 mountain lions live in that state alone. Colorado has both dense forests and isolated mountain ranges, which are the perfect terrains for mountain lions. It also has an abundant elk population- enough to keep their bellies full and happy.
There are other Western states that also have a good number of mountain lions. For instance, California also has around 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions living in its undeveloped, rocky habitats. Oregon is another state that has around 6,000 mountain lions. Texas has a significant number of mountain lions as well, but the exact number is unknown because most of them are difficult to track.
Can You Hunt Mountain Lions In New Jersey?
Hunting is one of the main reasons why the American mountain lion population has decreased. Before they were hunted for sport, these cats roamed freely throughout the entire country. Today, they are only found in a handful of states.
In some states like California, mountain lions are a protected species. However, in other states, they are still classified as a game species. This means they can be legally hunted. New Jersey isn’t a part of this group.
The states that allow the hunting of mountain lions are Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas.
Most of these states have a thriving population of mountain lions, unlike New Jersey. In New Jersey, spotting a mountain lion itself is nearly impossible. Hunting one is completely out of the question.
What to do if you see a Mountain Lion in New Jersey?
Mountain lions do not live in New Jersey. However, if you see a large cat that you think is a mountain lion, here’s what mountain lions look like, so you can make sure.
Mountain lions look similar to domestic cats but are bigger. They have tan skin and white or cream underbelly. Their faces are short and their ears are rounded. Their most prominent feature is their tail, which can be nearly 2/3rd the length of their entire body. On average, they are as big as fully-grown German Shepherds.
If you think you’ve seen a mountain lion in New Jersey, one thing you can do is report your sighting to the Fish and Wildlife Division of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. If your report turns out to be true, then you’ll be the first person to have a confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in New Jersey!
Also, Read About Mountain Lions in New Hampshire
And that was everything about the Mountain lion in New Jersey. I hope this article answers all your questions.