Cougar caught on trail cam in Buffalo County

(WEAU) - A trail camera caught a rare sight in Buffalo County.

This cougar was caught on camera sometime after dark on Saturday between Gilmanton and Mondovi. The DNR says a new landowner found the image on his trail camera and the DNR confirmed it was there.

They say the cougars can go long distances without being detected. The DNR thinks they may be coming from the Black Hills in South Dakota.

Six other cougars have been confirmed in Wisconsin since 2008.

Animal experts and local hunters are looking for answers after the cougar was spotted.

Mike Osmond said he set up the motion detecting camera just to see what would come by.

"The camera was down (on a tree), he came down the edge of the bean field, and I caught him 15-20 feet from the camera," Osmond said.

Osmond reported the picture to DNR biologists who came to verify it.

"Anyone who might see anything, we've really asked them to come forth with that information and let us know so we can try and track this animal's movements through public reports," DNR wildlife biologist Jess Carstens said.

He said unverified cougar calls come in about once a week.

"The ones that we've had in the past...Have all traced back to the Black Hills of South Dakota. That's the closest known breeding population."

Carstens is on the state cougar committee and said the animal is likely a young male looking for a mate, and some have been spotted as far away as Connecticut.

"This animal could be 50 or 100 miles away by now. It may still be relatively close to where this sighting happened," he said.

He said attacks on humans are rare, but not impossible.

"With wild animals comes unpredictability. You need to use common sense and keep your own safety in mind."

"Everybody's got their opinion on it if it's good or bad. But i think it's nice to have a variety and something cool to see," Osmond said.

The DNR has set up a website to report cougar sightings, and if you see one, experts say not to run, but to make yourself look big and make noises to intimidate the animals.

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