You don't see them often, but reported cougar sightings in the Northland come forward every so often.  A recent sighting in Bayfield County came complete with a picture and it's authenticity has been verified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

According to news reports, the cougar made its first appearance this past summer in August. A trail cam in northeastern Bayfield County snapped a picture of the cougar complete with a dead coyote in its mouth. A similar-looking cougar was also spotted two other times during the remainder of the summer season - although the DNR can't confirm of prove that the sightings were of the same animal.

For the most part, cougars are a relatively rare occurrence in the Northland.  Experts believe that the ones that are spotted don't reside here but are simply passing through. At the same time, attacks on humans is also a rare occurrence even in areas where the population is larger than here. To combat a potential interaction, the DNR offers the following safety tips:


  • Face the cougar directly, raise your arms to make yourself appear larger and speak loudly and firmly. This behavior is in direct conflict with a cougar's tendency to hunt by stalking and attacking from ambush. Do not run, crouch or lay on the ground.
  • Do not shoot the animal. Cougars are a protected species and may only be killed by a licensed peace officer or authorized permit holder.
  • Report the encounter or sighting to a conservation officer or local law enforcement authorities as soon as possible so evidence such as photographs, tracks, hair and scat can be located, identified, confirmed and documented.
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