Cougars in Wisconsin – News plus Educational Program in Mauston

Although a series of incidents in Juneau County had been reported, hard evidence was lacking until now.

DNR prepares for cougars By The Associated Press
Aug. 18, 2010 6:40 a.m.
Madison – State wildlife experts are trying to get smart on cougars.

Department of Natural Resources officials say DNA tests have confirmed the presence of four cougars in Wisconsin, all males, within the last two years.

The DNR has formed a cougar working group to collect information from cougar experts and prepare procedures for responding to future cougar sightings.

DNR biologists also have traveled to South Dakota for hands-on training with cougars, participating in operations to immobilize them and fit them with radio collars.

The DNR says the animals in Wisconsin probably migrated from the Black Hills in South Dakota, but the working group won’t develop a management plan. No females have been detected in the state and there’s no sign of a breeding population.

COUGARS! Educational Presentation at Mauston Library:
On Thursday, August 19, at 3 PM, join Wisconsin DNR wildlife biologist Jon Robaidek as he presents an educational program all about cougars.

Mr. Robaidek will discuss some misconceptions about cougars and clarify some rumors surrounding these wildcats. Also on hand, Juneau County DNR warden Eric Grudzinki will answer questions from the public.

This map shows where they’re tracking the cougar “scat.” Click on the image to get a clearer picture.

UPDATE August 19th, 2010:

There were some fired up people at the Educational Program at the Mauston Library today and they were asking hard questions.   In anticipation, the library had requested armed police to be in attendance.

Madison News video of the Meeting

People in the area are concerned — they have lost animals and livestock; and yet the DNR won’t make an official statement until they have positive DNA evidence.  The people in the room were not just nut cases looking for attention.  These people claimed to have come in close contact with a cougar and had documented evidence of what happened to their horses, cattle, and sheep.

Officials are still very skeptical and don’t want to incite people to go off shooting everything in the woods.

In fact, the DNR won’t be providing any more resources to Juneau County until scientific proof (like a dead cougar) is found.

But people are being warned to be very careful, just in case.

It was suggested that if you encounter a cougar you should make a lot of noise and throw things so the cougar wants to avoid you instead of perceiving you as prey.  Your instinct to run will make the cougar’s instinct to chase kick in.  If you made a list of fast animals, a cougar would definitely be there.  A cougar can run at 35 to 45 mph, but they’re better at short distances than long ones.  Cougars are also excellent jumpers; they can jump up to 18 feet high and a distance of 30 feet. It’s not a race you would be likely to win.

The take-away…

Eric Grudzinski, one of two game wardens for Juneau County said, “I’m treating it as if we’re dealing with a cougar.” He repeatedly stressed that individuals can defend themselves without fear of prosecution, even though the cougar is a protected species in Wisconsin, which makes it illegal to trap, hunt, or kill one.

“If you feel threatened for your safety,
I want you to kill this animal.”

Then call the DNR.

That will give them the proof they need.

Sources for further information:

One response to “Cougars in Wisconsin – News plus Educational Program in Mauston

  1. Pingback: Cougars in Wisconsin – DNR Verified Trail Camera Photo | Southwest Wisconsin Community of Homeschools

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