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Cougar Likely to be in Northwoods During Gun Season
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 11/16/2011

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 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also is reminding hunters that the cougar is a protected animal in Wisconsin, which 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 November 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 October 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.

State DNR Ecologist Adrian Wydeven 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, it averaged about 3.8 miles a day.

Meanwhile, biologists say they are interested in photographs of the cougar's tracks. Pictures of tracks should include a ruler or other measuring tool in the frame.

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