There are seventeen U.S. States that are home to mountain lions. In some, the population is in the hundreds, but there are a few states with much higher populations. Although their population has been reduced because of being killed off or having habitats destroyed in certain areas, there is evidence that their population is growing and they may be inhabiting states that they have been driven out of for centuries.
Texas holds the most diverse population of mountain lions and is also the most plentiful. It is difficult to estimate just how many mountain lions reside in this state, as large packs are difficult to find. However, it is estimated that there are about 5,600. Animals are unlike humans and do not live in large clusters, preferring instead to form groups and packs based on family and their immediate surroundings, while also looking for a habitat.
Mountain Lions are most abundant in the Trans-Pecos region of the state, where there are about 50,000-80,000 acres of suitable land for the mountain lions to call home. While there isn't any official population number, it is estimated that several thousand mountain lions inhabit the state.
Montana is another star with vast amounts of land that are suitable for mountain lion populations to thrive. There are about 5,300 mountain lions in the state.
California and most of the west coast region make the perfect place for mountain lions. In fact, the Canadian province of British Columbia holds the most mountain lions among our northern neighbors, whose climate and landscape are much the same as California. Large pockets of undeveloped interior terrain within the state allow mountain lions to live, breed, and hunt. Furthermore, mountain lions have been banned from legal hunting seasons since 1972, which has positively affected the population increase.
Colorado is well-known for its mountains, where, unsurprisingly, mountain lions make their home. It is also the state with the highest known population of mountain lions, with about seven thousand mountain lions scattered across this state, mostly in areas with rocky and mountainous habitats. Mountain lions love to hunt and hide in dense forests, and the trees in Colorado are home to some of the densest populations of elk.
Oregon also has some of the largest populations of mountain lions. Isolated forests and mountains are plentiful within the state, making it a prime habitat for migration and breeding. Most of Oregon's population tends to stick closer to its cities, towns, and metropolitan areas, so mountain lions are often left to their own devices and enjoy a human-free environment. Between 2,500 and 6,000 mountain lions are estimated to be in this state and there are controlled hunting laws available during appropriate seasons.
The southwest contains some of the best climates to hold mountain lions, as it most resembles what they need in a habitat. New Mexico and Arizona are largely similar in formation, and also in mountain lion size. The population of mountain lions is estimated to be around 3500 while it is about 1,300-2,700 in Arizona. These states are home to many tracts of untouched rocky landscape, where bighorn sheep reside in large populations. Bighorn sheep, while iconic, are one of the best prey for mountain lions, as they are used to traversing lumpy and mountainous terrain.
Utah is surprisingly chockfull of mountain lions. They are, however, largely unseen by humans because they are secretive and keep to themselves. When mountain lions even pick up the smell of encroaching humans, they tend to hide or run away. Furthermore, they love to live in desolate areas, away from prying human eyes. It is estimated that there are 1,600-2,700 mountain lions, largely in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.