Mountain Lion In New York: Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Mountain Lion In New York
Mountain Lion In New York: Everything You Need To Know

The magnificent and breathtaking mountain lion is both feared and revered by wild enthusiasts. This wild cat has the most expansive distribution in the West. However, they declined significantly over the decades due to habitat loss and hunting.

Most states even do have a breeding population, but are there any mountain lions present in New York? 

Below In this article, I’ve explained everything you need to know about the mountain lions in New York and their historical record along with the other wild cats living in the state.

Are There Any Mountain Lions In New York?

Historically, mountain lions were present in New York State, they were very common through the 1800s in the Catskill Mountains. However, as their population grew, hunters targeted them heavily in the state and were also offered a significant bounty by the government for the exquisite cats.

By the end of the 1930s, mountain lions were officially extinct and now it sits on the extinct species list. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has also stated that there are no mountain lions living in the state. 

Though there have been claims of a few mountain lion sightings in the state the DEC has given numerous reports denying the reports and stating that there is no current native population in New York.

When Was The Last Mountain Lion Killed In New York?

In 1997, it was recorded that a mountain lion was hit by a car and killed in the middle of the road. That mountain lion was about three feet in height at shoulder level and weighed about 140 pounds. Since the 1960s a total of 180 mountain lion encounters have been recorded in New York.

How Big Are Mountain Lions In NY?

Mountain lions are one of the biggest wild cats present in North America. An adult male mountain lion can grow significantly bigger than an adult female mountain lion and averages about 140 pounds. Typically mountain lions weigh anywhere from 80 to 225 pounds and grow up to 9 feet in length including their tail.

Mountain Lion/Cougar Sightings In New York?

Mountain Lion In New York
Mountain Lion In New York: Everything You Need To Know

The most recent sighting of a mountain lion happened in 2022, as multiple residents of Western New York declared to have spotted one in New York. Trail camera footage was taken to back up the reports and was followed by an extensive investigation by the DEC. It was then determined that it was just a large cat, not a mountain lion.

In 2020, in Ulster County, a suspected image of a mountain lion was captured the agency confirmed that it was a mountain lion but it was not possible to confirm the location. 

Likewise in 2019, in Saratoga County, residents reported sightings of a mountain lion but later confirmed that it is not and they also could not get an idea of the animal species in the photo.

The Department of Environmental Conservation states that they have verified sightings of mountain lions in New York, in recent years. Still, they have mostly been involved in mountain lions that fleed from local facilities. 

Another report said on sighting is stated to have been a mountain lion that traveled across New York on its journeys. That distinct mountain lion came from South Dakota!

Also Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions IN US

Can You Shoot A Mountain Lion In NY?

It is illegal to hunt mountain lions in New York, as they are protected by state law. Also, since there is no established population currently in the state, the state government has been protecting the individual animals that have moved into the state from other regions.

Since mountain lions are not a controlled game species, there are no hunting seasons or rules specific to them, in New York. However, they can be killed when they are a threat to human life or livestock but must be immediately reported to animal control management for direction.

Does New York Have Big Cats?

The Bobcat and Canada lynx are the two wild cats that are found in New York.  Canada lynx have a thick coat that can be light brown, gray, or even charcoal spots. They have big ears with black tufts, large round feet, and a black-tipped tail. They can grow to 22 inches in height and be 30 pounds in weight.

Bobcats are also very prevalent in New York, they have pointed ears, gray fur, and short tails. They might also have spots, rosettes, and stripes on their legs and bellies. When compared to the Canadian lynxes they are slightly small. They can reach up to 20 inches in height and be 13 to 30 pounds in weight.

Also Check Our Guide On Mountain lions In New Hampshire


And that was everything you need to know about the Mountain Lion In New York. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

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