Imagine, this weekend, you’re out taking in some wilderness that the state has to offer, only to look over and spot a wild mountain lion spotting you.

It is a scary thought, but by no means out of the question in the state of Missouri. There have been 54 sightings of mountain lions in the state since 1994, but just 10 in Kansas.

“If you look at Missouri’s number of confirmed sightings as opposed to Kansas, we tend to have a little higher number here in Missouri,” Missouri Department of Conservation Agent Adam Arnold said.

Worth mentioning, 42 of the sightings in Missouri occurred within the past four years. But why?

“A large number of our sightings started coming in when people started getting trail cams,” Mr. Arnold said. “Everybody has a trail cam now.”

Plus, every year there are more people and less habitat for mountain lions, especially for male mountain lions, which like to roam.

So now the big question, just how worried should we be? Mr. Arnold said people should be aware, but not scared. The chances of running into a mountain lion, though better than in years past, are still slim.

The animals tend to stay away from humans and don’t travel in packs. That said, Mr. Arnold said the best strategy if a person encounters a mountain lion is to never run.

“That’s animal instinct to chase something that runs,” he said.

Alex Flippin can be reached at alex.flippin@knpn.com. Follow him on Twitter: @KNPNAlexFlippin.