EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it has confirmed a cougar sighting near Hayward.
The cougar was found Saturday near the Chippewa Flowage in Sawyer County. It's the first sighting of 2013, and witnesses estimate the animal weighed about 145 pounds.
Last year, there were nine confirmed cougar sightings, with the majority in Southwestern Wisconsin.
From Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website:
Biologist tracks cougar in Sawyer County
After hearing of a cougar possibly treed off County Highway B in Sawyer County, DNR biologist Adrian Wydeven confirmed the presence of a cougar near the Chippewa Flowage. On January 19, a local hunter, along with other houndsmen, had treed the cat in some large, dead white pines where it sat about 15-20 feet up the trees. They were able to confirm the cougar was male. Then, on January 22, the hunter followed the cougar tracks all the way to Big Timber Island on the Chippewa Flowage, about 2 miles to the west. On January 23 and with the hunter's assistance, Wydeven tracked the cat as it bounded, then walked through an area of large white pine, mature aspen and hardwoods interspersed with wetlands, sedge meadow and conifer bog. Wydeven tracked the cat for nearly a mile until the tracks disappeared in an area of dense windthrows and much deer activity. The cougar did not appear to try to leave the area, and meandered about as if it was again hunting shortly after leaving the tree.