Wisconsin Cougar Sightings Confirmed
While Wisconsin usually has quite a few “Cougar Sightings” in local bars around college campuses, we do not usually see many of the large cat that eats animals variety. This has recently changed. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists have confirmed what anyone who has seen these trail camera photos already knew, that there were cougars in the state of Wisconsin.
Trail cameras caught images of a cougar in both Lincoln and Marinette counties this year and while the sightings were 90 miles apart, it could be the same cat.
The first photos were sent in from a landowner from Minnesota who checked his trail camera and saw the photos from July, east of Merrill. He contacted a local biologist to come view the photos and they confirmed it.
“As you can see, there really isn’t any doubt in this photo that it is in fact a cougar,” said Shelby Hiestand, DNR wildlife biologist.
Cougars in Wisconsin Confirmed
The picture was taken on July 30, and scat from the site was collected for genetic testing. Hiestand said that it would be highly unusually for the cougar to stay in that area for a long time and they expected the cat to move on.
The second photographs were from Marinette County and were caught on a trail camera on September 1 near Middle Inlet. This cougar was reported to the Wisconsin DNR on September 30.
While the cats were seen 90 miles apart, there was 33 days in between sightings and a cougar could and would easily cover this distance. It can not be confirmed that it’s the same cat though without genetic testing.
DNR Confirms Cougars in WI
Cougars are not believed to be breeding in the state and biologists believe that the cougars that do come to our state are males that are dispersing from a breeding population in the Western United States.
Cougars are also protected in Wisconsin and can’t be killed unless they are attacking a person or domestic animal. Attacks on humans are very rare and here have been no confirmed conflicts in the state.
While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see a cougar in the state, if you do, it’s probably not going to hurt you. If it does, then I’m sorry for saying that. Just throw your arms up and yell like you would to a bear.
Cougars Seen in Wisconsin
There were only eight cougar sightings deemed probably by the Wisconsin DNR in 2013 and and only three of these were verified.