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Mt lions

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Heck, big cats were most everywhere around my home in central Illinois back when I was a kid (50+ years ago, yikes).  Lots and lots of reports in those days, most commonly of "a panther screaming like a woman" in the night.  Only a bit later in life did I start to wonder if it might not have been the other way around.

Joking aside, they are highly mobile, stealthy, fairly inconspicuous critter (though fairly commonly seem pretty calm and unconcerned, for a brief time anyway, when encountered in an unconcealed situation).  

Frankly, I would not be totally suprised if a disperser were to show up most anywhere with decent contiguous cover and food (deer).  Presence of a wandering individual and a viable breeding population is a different deal IMO.  Most if not all of the western situations where lions are showing up regularly in and around towns, etc, are immediately adjacent to areas with strong breeding populations -- places where finding a lion track on a winter day in suitable habitat is highly likely.  Basically the further one gets from a vigorous, viable breeding population, the lower the probability that a disperser will show up.  Long travels through unfamiliar terrain are fundamentally dangerous, even for an animal like a cougar.  Survive the journey, find suitable habitat/prey, and then what are the chances of finding a mate?  Just a real tough deal, not that it couldn't happen.

In terms of detection they fairly commonly get whacked by cars if they are at all common in heavily roaded area, and I would sure think that a roadkill would often lead to a verifiable report.

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I would add that dispersers--most often young males, less often females--that find a great home are still likely to keep moving if they don't find a mate.  And in doing that they run greater risk of getting hit by a car or otherwise running into trouble that kills them.   People focus on availability of prey and wild enough country for them but forget how the chances of finding a mate factor in to whether they stick around and survive.

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....are there still some fisher in the NE?  

Yes, I have been fortunate to see a few. I had one amble by me while on a mountain deer stand last season. It was a treat.

Saw a fisher this morning, while driving into a forest area to hunt - less than an hour from the city.  First I've seen - definitely not a mt lion.  It ran across the road - right in front of the car.

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YEP  we were told they didnt exist in WI for years also, until they FINNALLy confirmed a real one this year becasuse hunters treed it and called the news station BEFORE the DNR, so they coldlnt deny it. we had a deer IN A 10 FOOT TREE in crandon WI, and the dnr woudlnt come look at it when we told them what we had that was three years ago. not to mention a close friend of mine hi tone with a car two years ago, AMAZINGLY the same place as a sighting, but he was told it was a bobcat, apaprantly bobcats have three feet long tails. best part, IT HAD ON A COLLAR. i dont believe the dnr, i think they brought them in to control the deer herd in Wisconsin a decade ago


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