Proof: Wisconsin Cougar Nov. 2011

Wisconsin Cougar Nov. 2011

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- A cougar ranging through west central and northern Wisconsin likely has tripped a trail camera for a third time, leading biologists to believe it is heading into the Northwoods just in time for the annual gun deer hunt.

State wildlife officials are asking hunters to report any sightings of the young, wild cougar. Based on the times and locations of the three photographs, it could be in the Flambeau State Forest or in heavily wooded Price County by now.

The state Department of Natural Resources also is reminding hunters that the cougar is a protected animal in Wisconsin. It can only be shot in self defense or to prevent harm to another human being, situations that would be considered extremely unlikely but not impossible.

The cougar, which appears to be a young male in search of territory and a mate, was photographed Nov. 8 by a trail camera located near the Rusk-Taylor county line, just east of Hawkins and south of U.S. Highway 8.

Previously, a young cougar was photographed Oct. 20 by a trail camera near the community of Pray in eastern Jackson County. Four days earlier, it was captured by a trail camera near Mauston in Juneau County. The two locations are about 42 miles apart. Cougar sightings are tracked on the DNR website.

Adrian Wydeven, DNR mammalian ecologist, said the pattern of spots and markings on the animal in the first and second photographs appears to be the same. From Pray to Hawkins, where the third photograph was taken 21 days after the second, is about 80 miles. Assuming it is the same animal – and it does have similar markings on its rear legs – it averaged about 3.8 miles a day.

To report a cougar sighting please contact the nearest DNR office or take advantage of the DNR’s rare mammal observation form located online. This page can be easily located by going to the Cougars in Wisconsin page of the DNR website (type the word “cougar” in the search box).

Also, biologists would be interested in photographs of the cougar’s tracks. Pictures of tracks should include a ruler or other measuring tool in the frame. Advice for gathering and protecting any biological samples can be found at the same location online. The DNR should be contacted before any samples are shipped.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Adrian Wydeven, DNR mammalian ecologist, 715-762-1363; Ed Culhane, DNR communications, Eau Claire, 715-781-1683

Reproduced with permission from the Department of Natural Resources

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