Mountain lions have become the bigfoot of the eastern half of the United States. While state game departments deny they exist, hunters across the midwest and east cost claim to see them. I set out to see if I could find any evidence of Mountain lions in the eastern half of the United States to settle the argument.
I found an article from Reuters that reported in 2010 that a Mountain lion was hit by a car in Connecticut. genetic testing confirmed that the large male lion had traveled over 1,500 miles from South Dakota before being hit in Connecticut, just 70 miles from New York City.
The 1,500-mile journey is one of the longest on record. This leads some to speculate that this lion had escaped captivity. Officials said a genetic test confirmed the 140 lb. cat was from the Black Hills region of South Dakota.
It is possible that the young male lion traveled through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan into Canada and back down into New York and skipped Ohio and Pennsylvania. Either way, this cat was in states that claim there are no mountain lions.
Young male lions disperse from where they are born to find their own territory. A growing population of Mountain lions has led to sightings in places mountain lions had not been in over 100 years. While the midwest and east coast do not have breeding populations, they can travel through.
Mountain lions can pass through every state in the contiguous United States. It is also true that it is doubtful to see one on the east coast or midwest. Your crazy hunting buddy that claims to have seen one might not be so crazy after all.