Are Cougars on the Prowl Here?

A report of a cougar sighting by a Franklin police officer is the latest such report in the area. But DNR officials believe — based on the description — that the animal was probably a bobcat.

There's been another report of a cougar sighting in southeastern Wisconsin, but state wildlife officials remain skeptical about whether the big cat is really prowling around the area.

A Franklin police officer and resident saw what they thought was a cougar near the Oak Leaf Bike Trail last week, according to a report by FranklinNOW.

However, state Department of Resources officials suspect the animal may have been a bobcat.

The officer had been talking to a resident when the two saw "a large, brown cat with a stub tail walk out from the wooded area, leap into the air over the path and walk back into the woods," according to NOW. 

However, David MacFarland, an official with the DNR, said the agency hasn't received of that cougar sighting from its online report form.

In an email, MacFarland said that based on the officer's description, the officer and resident likely saw a bobcat.

"Given how likely this is to be a bobcat, I wouldn’t expect the wildlife supervisor referenced in the story to proceed with an investigation," MacFarland said.

Earlier this month, the Caledonia Conservancy Facebook page reported that a cougar was “seen coming and going out of an abandoned barn numerous times” on a property at 6 Mile and Foley Road three times.

Cougar sightings have also been reported in Oak Creek on April 17, the DNR said.

The sighting from Oak Creek was just south of Mitchell Field, which DNR officials said was an "unlikely place for a cougar to show up." The person described a dark brown animal as being four-feet long that ran with a long stride across College Avenue. DNR officials suspect the animal was a dog.

In November, Adrian Wydeven, carnivore specialist with the DNR, said while cougars have been located in Wisconsin, they have typically been found in the northern and western parts of the state. Still, cougars are known to travel from western South Dakota as far away a Connecticut.

Cougars are very large cats. They have long rounded tails, rounded heads, rounded ears, dark patches of fur along their face and are a solid tan color.

“People often mistake a bobcat for a cougar and sometimes they mistake a wolf, coyote and fox for them, especially if they didn’t get a long look at them,” Wydeven said. “If you are seeing an animal from far off, it’s hard to judge weight and size.”

Heather in Caledonia May 23, 2013 at 02:14 PM
"However, David MacFarland, an official with the DNR, said the agency hasn't received of that cougar sighting from its online report form." Something wrong with this sentence.
Bren May 24, 2013 at 12:00 AM
An acquaintance in the Delafield area shared that there is a private wildcat refuge in their area. Every once in awhile a critter saunters off and their roaming range is wide.
1st Amendment May 24, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Cougars are always on the prowl Thursday nights at Classic Lanes.


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