Cougars in New Hampshire?

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Earlier this year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services declared that cougars were extinct in eastern United States. This summer there was a cougar killed in Connecticut, then with some research that cougar was traced to South Dakota. Now Bruce Bohannon, a resident of Swanzey says he encountered a cougar in Keene, New Hampshire.

This was not his first encounter either. He states that after this recent encounter he is sure that last winter he saw a cougar in Westmoreland while grooming snowmobile trails. The cougar ran down the trail. This recent sighting, he was riding his bike while crossing through a gate he saw something. It was a large cat with a long tail, he had seen bobcats before, and this was bigger, definitely not a bobcat. Large and tan in color, once the cat saw him it took off. Bohannon is confident it is a cougar, and this sighting makes him believe the winter sighting was a cougar as well.

In the area it is almost impossible to track cougars. To find a cougar in the grassy area would require about 100 people with their noses to the ground. Wildlife biologists believe most sightings are either misidentification or escaped/released pets. “I don’t have any doubt in my mind what I saw was a cougar,” Bohannon said. “Now that I’m convinced of what I’m seeing, I’m going to get out and look for tracks.” From


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Even though they did find one

Even though they did find one in Connecticut, I still don't believe there are any more than random ones in the northeast.  Now, as I stated in another mountain lion thread, I think it will only be a matter of time, but right now, there are not many up there in New hampshire, Vermont, etc.

I was having a discussion with some other northeastern hunters, and alot of us think that just because the one killed in Conn was genetically identiacal to the South Dakota ones, does not mean the animal just walked those 1500 miles.  There's a chance that poachers had snagged some kittens from a littler, and sold them on the black market to someone who eventually released it.  Sounds far fetched, but so does a lion traveling that far.  Especially when there is plenty of food, land, etc., inbetween.  No reason for the lion to go that far.

hunter25's picture

I wasn't sure what to think

I wasn't sure what to think of this move as I did in fact believe there were cougars in most eastern places from time to time. The Florida cougar to the south and then of course the many we have out west are bound to move and migrate to different areas. There have been reports of sightings inmany of these states ever since I was a kid and I don't buy into the excuse of escaped pets they like to throw around.

That said the post by hawkeye here helps make a bit more sense of what they were planning whrn this was done.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

If they are in fact there,

If they are in fact there, the state will say they aren't, just like Colorado does not have any wolves...yeah right.

hawkeye270's picture

Just to clarify, the USFWS

Just to clarify, the USFWS declared the Eastern Cougar (Puma concolor couguar), a distinct subspecies, to be extinct. This is because they know that the extant subspecies is moving that way and didn't want to have to list them once they got there. They made a great call and made it so the environmental groups couldn't push for a listing of them once they got there. If the cats out there were found to be of the subspecies couguar... they would be listed.