Cougar Sighting in NW Wisconsin

Saint Paul, MN

#1616 Feb 16, 2009

Link above solves 1 "black cougar" mystery.

Saint Paul, MN

#1617 Feb 17, 2009
Another good bit of cougar information on a link in the above story.
This site also has other links.

Saint Paul, MN

#1618 Feb 17, 2009

Sullivan, WI

#1619 Feb 17, 2009
I'm surprised that this article was not posted. To read the entire story go to
"Federal officials have been investigating the death of a young horse on a farm outside of Watertown this week. The horse is thought to have been killed by either a cougar or wolf."

“It was awful. It was a gruesome sight,” Amanda said of her yearling Quarter horse named Ginger.“We've been told they are deliberating between a cougar and a wolf, but we've also been told all the characteristics are of a cougar.”

Sullivan, WI

#1620 Feb 17, 2009
Upon further digging, I found this:

"WATERTOWN - A review of the death of a horse at a farm west of Watertown last week has ruled out the involvement of a possible cougar, wildlife officials confirmed.

Specialists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) headed the investigation last week at the farm along County Highway T after owners Jim and Amanda Saxby notified authorities of the horse's death on Jan. 26.

According to Chip Lovell, district supervisor for APHIS, investigators determined a canine was present where the horse's body was found, but the cause of death remains unknown.

"We went to investigate the cause of death of the horse and, unfortunately, the owners had already buried the carcass," Lovell said. "When we do an investigation, the carcass is the key piece of evidence. It kept us from making a determination of what might have caused the death, if it was natural causes, self-inflicted injuries or from a predator of some type."

The APHIS investigation revealed a canine of some kind was present, although it is not known specifically what kind it was after detailed track impressions were disturbed and covered by fresh snow.

"When we went on the site, in addition to the carcass not being there, somebody had walked all over the site with snowshoes covering up most of the signs and tracks," Lovell said. "It had snowed a couple days before and when we got out there, the tracks were slightly covered with snow, so it was difficult to make out any imprints that were made.

"We could see the indentations of where the animal had walked," he added. "Based on that indentation, it was canine-like. What we mean by that is canines make up an oval, whereas a cat makes more of a rounded shape (of pawprint). Unfortunately, we just couldn't determine what it could have been, whether it was a coyote, a dog or potentially a wolf."

United States

#1621 Feb 20, 2009
So? It could have been a wolf, a coyote, or a DOG, but nothing about a cougar.

Wausau, WI

#1622 Feb 22, 2009
Sounds that way to me too. dash
frank wrote:
So? It could have been a wolf, a coyote, or a DOG, but nothing about a cougar.

Sullivan, WI

#1623 Mar 4, 2009
Originally, it was thought cougar because of the wounds to the horses neck. Guess it turned out inconclusive, without an animal to inspect.

Minneapolis, MN

#1624 Mar 5, 2009
YES! YES! YES! YES! I'm not crazy!

Wausau, WI

#1625 Mar 5, 2009
cougar was treed in Spooner Wisconsin

We do have cougars.... we knew it... dash

Wausau, WI

#1626 Mar 5, 2009

Click to enlarge
The second cougar ever spotted in Wisconsin since the early 1900s was observed west of Spooner on Wednesday.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Related LinksRead The Latest Animal News
Read The Latest Wisconsin News
Wisconsin wildlife officials say a mountain lion is roaming near Spooner, and they haven't been able to catch the animal to fit it with a radio collar.

It's only the second documented mountain lion in the state since the early 1900s. One was spotted last January near Milton and later killed in a Chicago suburb.

DNR wildlife biologist Ken Jonas said Thursday this mountain lion was first spotted by a group of hunters with hounds on Tuesday.

DNR officials attempted to tranquilize the mountain lion the next day while it was in a tree, but the animal became spooked and ran off before becoming sufficiently groggy.

The mountain lion is a protected species, and the DNR is warning residents not to attempt to capture or kill it.

Wausau, WI

#1627 Mar 5, 2009
jrhotwhlz wrote:
YES! YES! YES! YES! I'm not crazy!

Barron, WI

#1628 Mar 5, 2009
I just got the word about this cougar. GREAT! SUPER! WONDERFUL! There wasn't a doubt in my mind there were cougars in Burnett County after seeing three of them up there myself. I knew it would be just a matter of time before other people started seeing them. At least now there won't be quite as many people thinking I was stretching the truth. That makes me feel better.
It is a very special day. I just got another very reliable sighting reported to me earlier today between Drummond and Grand Marias.(Sp?)Scary as it may sound, it was another sighting of a black, cougar-sized cat but I don't doubt the guy one bit after seeing two pure black, cougar-sized cats in broad daylight myself. Eventually we'll find out what they are also. KEEP A CAMERA HANDY!!!(Notice how well I avoid calling them black cougars)

Wausau, WI

#1629 Mar 9, 2009
• Cat tales growing more believable
• The Plank Road Panther

If the mysterious beast is black, it most likely is not a cougar. According to a Wikipedia article, "There are no authenticated cases of truly melanistic (black) cougars. None have ever been photographed or shot in the wild and none have been bred. There is wide consensus among breeders and biologists that the animal does not exist."

However, biologist Ray Eisbrenner of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources notes that the Plato mystery animal could be an exotic (likely illegal) pet that escaped or was discarded by a homeowner. For example, it could be a black leopard from Asia or a black jaguar from South America. Also, fur collected at the Plank Road panther's apparent former bedding site by Charles MacArthur and Shane Lyon is mostly dark gray. Perhaps a gray cougar could be mistaken for black from a distance, in low light.

To make the nomenclature even more confusing, black leopards and black jaguars often are informally called "black panthers" by the public.

There also have been many reports in various places in the United States of a mysterious large black cat of some species that the zoological community does not recognize even exists. A recent episode of the cable TV series "Monster Quest" featured people who claimed to have seen such "alien black cats" in Texas and Kentucky

United States

#1630 Mar 13, 2009
There are almost as many big black cat sightings as there are cougar sightings. This does not help the legitimate cougar sightings.

Barron, WI

#1631 Mar 14, 2009
For whatever it's worth, I'm not contributing to this forum in an effort to start a cat-slinging contest with anyone. I'm here to share information with others who share a common interest in Wisconsin's large cats.
I fully understand where the opposition to any form of black-cat sighting is coming from. I, myself, would find it extremely difficult, if not completely impossible, to support the idea such creatures exist when all current scientific information informs us it's virtually impossible for such animals to exist.
I also understand why reports of cougar-sized black cats may not appear legitimate unless, or until, a person has seen such an animal for themselves. Then, and only then, will their thinking change.
Once a person has seen one of these black, cougar-sized cats for themselves, first-hand and close-up, sightings of black-cats become just as legitimate and reliable as any other large cat sighting, and justifiably so.

Saint Paul, MN

#1632 Mar 16, 2009
Mert wrote:

Once a person has seen one of these black, cougar-sized cats for themselves, first-hand and close-up, sightings of black-cats become just as legitimate and reliable as any other large cat sighting, and justifiably so.
AMEN!!! I and two friends are believers because we saw a cougar sized black cat close up first hand in broad daylight in NW Wisconsin.

Wausau, WI

#1633 Mar 17, 2009
I have a relative and a friend that saw them. My daughter saw it twice. The friend saw hers twice as well. Different areas in Wisconsin and different time frames.

Who knows? But people are seeing something and I know both these people and I trust them.

So on it goes the speculation. Perhaps if we wait long enough both the mysteries will be solved. dash

Wausau, WI

#1634 Mar 28, 2009
Caledonia woman reports cougar sighting
By Paul Sloth
Journal Times
Friday, March 27, 2009 7:22 PM CDT
CALEDONIA — The animal lurking out behind Anna Lashley’s Caledonia home was large enough and so startled her the first time she saw it that she called the Caledonia Police Department and told them it was a lion.

She thought it might have escaped from the zoo. That was three years ago.

She now knows it wasn’t a lion. She’s certain it is a cougar that she has seen stalking the edge of a wooded area on her property in the 4200 block of N. Green Bay Road, north of Armstrong Park. Lashley has seen the animal periodically during the past three years. She thinks people are convinced she’s just seeing things.

At first, she was the only one who’d seen it. Lashley, 74, said she’s seen the animal six times. The first year she saw it twice, the next year, about the same. She’s already seen it twice this spring.

“Sunday morning (March 22) it was standing there looking at me as I stood looking out the kitchen window,” said Lashley, who ran out to tell her son, who was leaving for work. He came inside and saw the animal, too.

Through the years she has reported what she saw to the Department of Natural Resources.

Marty Johnson, who works out of the DNR’s Sturtevant office, said he periodically gets calls about cougar sightings. He has spoken with Lashley and at least one of her neighbors about Lashley’s sighting.

Johnson, a wildlife biologist for Racine and Kenosha counties, said he is looking for evidence, like an animal track or a photo.

“It’s an effort to search for the animal. We’re not doubting what people saw but it’s easier to have some evidence to work from,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he doesn’t think there should be any widespread panic. To date, in the state of Wisconsin, there has been only one confirmed cougar sighting in the last 50 years. A cougar was spotted in both Rock and Walworth counties last year, Johnson said, as it traveled from South Dakota to Chicago where it was eventually shot and killed.

Wildlife experts use the terms cougar, mountain lion and puma interchangeably, Johnson said. There is a very healthy population of mountain lions in the western United States. At one time cougars roamed the state of Wisconsin. The last documented wild cats in Wisconsin disappeared during the early part of the 20th century, according to Johnson.

There is certainly no reason to discount the possibility that there might be a cougar somewhere in Caledonia, said Jay Christie, president and CEO of the Racine Zoo.

“It’s not inconceivable that if there were a cougar it may be one that doesn’t trace its recent ancestry to the central United States,” Christie said.“They’re very adaptable. Next to the leopard, cougars have the largest distribution of any mammal on earth.”

As for Anna Lashley’s cougar, Johnson, who spoke with Lashley earlier this week, has asked her to try to get a photo and said he’ll continue to work with her on the situation.

Lashley will hopefully do a better job when it comes time to getting that picture.

“One time I was trying to get one and I was so scared and excited that I had the camera turned around so that I took a picture of my own face,” Lashley said.

United States

#1635 Mar 29, 2009
There has always been a small resident population of cougars northeast of Spooner in the watershed of the Upper Totogatic River. This is well known to locals who have kept quiet about it because they knew that DNR would ridicule them and call them crazy. These cougars are quite large and have been known to take down a 200lb buck with ease. They've been seen in both brown and melanistic colar phases. No doubt this recent sighting came from the Totogatic River area that remains in primeval wilderness condition with roaring waterfalls, 200 foot high cliffs, and confusing sawtooth shaped valleys where it is easy to become disoriented and lost. Compasses have been known to spin in circles up in there. Hunters rarely venture into that remote area. No doubt that is why the cougars have been able to survive for so long. The Upper Totogatic is also known for UFO and Bigfoot sightings, weird lights, and uncanny sounds like thunder or explosions with no apparant cause. Indian legends abound about this area and Wisconsin writer August Derleth set one of his horror stories "The Dweller in Darkness" (written in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft) in this area. Don't even think about going there!

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