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Photo of landsacape.

MOUNTAIN LION HABITAT IN NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota still allows trapping on much of its public lands.

Historically, mountain lions inhabited most of North Dakota, though they were only abundant in the Little Missouri Badlands region.

Keep in mind that although lions are physically capable of living in certain places (based on geographical, vegetative and prey species characteristics), it does not mean they necessarily do. Fragmentation, sport hunting practices, and intolerant communities can wipe out lions from any area. For more data on habitat-usage, check out our Science tab.

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  • Return to the portal page for North Dakota.

  • The status of puma concolor in North Dakota.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in North Dakota.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in North Dakota.

  • Cougar science and research in North Dakota.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

North Dakota Lion Habitat and Population

Wildlife managers recognize that there is a relatively small population of mountain lions residing in the Badlands, Missouri River Breaks, and Kildeer Mountain regions.

North Dakota COUGAR HABITAT
map of cougar habitat in north dakota.

Click on map to enlarge.

Occasionally, there are individual mountain lions documented in other parts of the state as well. NDGFD models of habitat suitability highlight the Badlands, Missouri River Breaks, and Killdeer Mountains regions, an area comprising 6% of the total state, which is about 10,267 square kilometers, as providing suitable habitat for mountain lions. The largest number of sightings have occurred in McKenzie and Dunn counties, which have the highest proportion of suitable habitat for mountain lions.


Establishing mountain lion-friendly legislation and management practices will likely need to play a role in allowing this top carnivore to return to the great state of North Dakota. Check out our Action Tab to see what you can do to help!

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Commonly abbreviated as: NDGFD

Kim Kary, Division Chief

Main Office:
100 N. Bismarck Expressway
Bismarck, ND 58501-50951
(701) 328-6300
ndgf@nd.gov


Game Management Section
Leader and Furbearer Biologist

Stephanie Tucker
100 N. Bismarck Expressway
Bismarck, ND 58501-50951
satucker@nd.gov
(701) 220-1871

Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in North Dakota.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.
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