Cougar Sighting Reported Near Chippewa Falls - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Cougar Sighting Reported Near Chippewa Falls

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Chippewa County (WQOW) - The Wisconsin DNR receives another report that someone spotted a cougar, which has the agency wondering if there are at least a few big cats roaming western Wisconsin, or if people are unsure what they're seeing is really a cougar.

Last Saturday, Charles Kemper, an avid outdoorsman and birdwatcher, was out banding birds on some property just southeast of Chippewa Falls when he came upon a strange animal.

"I noticed it was facing me head on and I was trying to judge by the size of its snout whether it was a wolf or a coyote," said Charles, decribing how he was looking through his binoculars at the animal.  "It turned sideways, and then I realized this was an unusual animal for this part of Wisconsin.  It was a long and large cat, and after it saw me, it ran into the nearby woods."

Shortly after his experience, Charles reported the sighting to a friend and the DNR.  It's not the first report from that area.

"Our little horse, we believe, was attacked by a cougar this past summer," said Sandy Kenner, who owns a farm with her husband outside of Chippewa Falls.  "He was on the other side [of the field], and when we went down to get him in the morning, he had a big gouge of flesh out of his side and claw marks all over.  I called the Wisconsin DNR, but they said there are no cougars in our state.  Our daughter then sent the pictures to her grandfather, who has worked for the DNR in Colorado for many years.  Moments after he saw the picture, he contacted her and said 'that's a cougar attack.'"

The Wisconsin DNR says it's certainly possible one or more cougars could be roaming the woods of western Wisconsin.  But, they claim the problem is for a sighting to be confirmed, there needs to be sufficient evidence.

"We need evidence like pictures and tracks to actually confirm a cougar is present," said Michele Woodford, who's a DNR wildlife biologist in Eau Claire.  " If we don't have that proof, it's difficult to confirm a cougar's existence."

Woodford says if people see an unusual animal, they need to contact the DNR immediately.  That way, professionals can get to the scene quickly, conduct a survey and confirm or deny a sighting. 

If you see an unusual animal in your area, click here and someone from the DNR will assist you as soon as possible.

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