Woman Sees Cougar In Caledonia, Reports Sighting To DNR

Tracy Curran was riding her horse just north of 5 Mile Road on Saturday when she saw a large cat-like animal that she believes was a cougar.

Out riding on Saturday morning, Tracy Curran’s horse suddenly froze.

They were just north of the 5500 block of 5 Mile Road about 10:45 a.m., when Curran said she saw “a very large cat, that wasn’t a fox or a coyote.”

The cat was about 4 feet long, and orange or tan colored, and weighed between 80 and 90 pounds, Curran said. It had a long tail and was crouched close to the ground.

“It was hunting something, and I was glad that it was hunting something else and not me,” she said.

The cat walked slowly away and for about 45 seconds had its back to Curran.

She called Eric Roberson, President of Caledonia Conservancy, and he told her to slowly back away from the animal and head back to the barn. Curran called the police, who told her to call the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. They said they wouldn’t come out to investigate unless someone or something was being attacked.

“I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Someone needs to get hurt for you to investigate?’” Curran said. “I’m not some crazy person, I’m just concerned for people’s safety.”

Curran also called Fran Martin, past president of the Caledonia Conservancy and owner of the property Curran was on at the time of the sighting. Martin said she received two phone calls from the people who saw the cat-like animal. However, Curran said the other caller admitted their sighting was a hoax, but Curran maintains hers was real.

“I believe her,” Martin said.

“It was a surprise, and not a pleasant one either,” Martin said. “I walk my dog back there and I’m now keeping my horses in the front pasture. I’m also keeping the electric going on the fence.”

Adrian Wydeven, carnivore specialist with the DNR, said while cougars have been located in Wisconsin, they have typically been found in the northern and western parts of the state. Still, cougars are known to travel from western South Dakota as far away a Connecticut. One was shot in the Chicago area in 2008. So while Wydeven didn’t  rule out the possibility of cougar being in the area, he also said it’s not highly probable that’s the animal people saw.

Cougars are very large cats. They have long rounded tails, rounded heads, rounded ears, dark patches of fur along their face and are a solid tan color.

“People often mistake a bobcat for a cougar and sometimes they mistake a wolf, coyote and fox for them, especially if they didn’t get a long look at them,” Wydeven said. “If you are seeing an animal from far off, it’s hard to judge weight and size.”

Still, if the animal was a cougar, the element of danger is very little, and they aren’t going to stay long, Wydeven said.

“They are pretty reclusive animals and they are likely just passing through because they are trying to find another patch of habitat and females,” Wydeven said. “There haven’t been any females verified in United States east of Mississippi, outside of Florida.”

If someone does see what they think is a cougar, you should stand your ground, yell at the animal but don’t take your eyes off of it and back away slowly, Wydeven said.

Once in a safe place, Wydeven said they should call the DNR at (715) 762-1363.

YAMATO November 02, 2012 at 09:17 PM
D. Drace November 02, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Last year one of our neighbors saw a cougar come out of the ravine by her house. She was just leaving her house to take her dog for a walk, saw it, and turned right back into her house. She said it was walking across the street and then it turned and looked at her. She said it was the biggest cat she'd ever seen and that it wasn't a dog or coyote either. It scared her so much she would not take her dog out.
Don B November 02, 2012 at 11:27 PM
It was probably just a bobcat. A cougar so close to such a highly populated area is very unlikely. I was born and raised in Racine, now living in Antigo, and I know they are up here. I've seen them and a friend walked out their back door one morning and one was stretched out on top of their wood pile next to their boiler. I think the DNR should do more than wait for someone to be attacked, but what can you expect when the budget is butchered...
Jennifer Linstroth November 02, 2012 at 11:43 PM
I seen it on 5 mile and short rd about 2 years ago , and another friend almost hit it with his truck also on 5 mile
Jennifer Linstroth November 02, 2012 at 11:47 PM
It obviously has been in the area quite some time. My dad mentioned seeing it in theholy cross cemetery over 10 years ago, not sure how long they live. With all the sightings in a concentrated area I would look into a certain farm on 5 mile who has been known to have animals escape
Thin Blue Line November 03, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Curran called the police, who told her to call the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. They said they wouldn’t come out to investigate unless someone or something was attacked. What do you expect, the cops to write it a ticket? You yell at them when they kill turkeys, now you want them to go on a wild "cat" chase to find something that runs away from everything.
Tim Krupp November 03, 2012 at 02:29 AM
My mom had seen a cougar about a month ago in Caledonia also by 32 & 4mile. She said it looked real hungry and was happy she was outside the house door because it looked like it wanted to attack her. Hopefully no one will get hurt and it will move on soon. It's nice to know that we still should be looking out for it I thought we did not have to worry about it anymore that it would be gone by now. We also, called the police and DNR but nothing was done I couldn't even get through to anyone and left messages and no one called us back.
Thomas Jefferson November 03, 2012 at 04:52 AM
I hope he doesn't wander down to Chicago, because we know what they did to the last one!
Thomas Jefferson November 03, 2012 at 04:54 AM
It's unusual, but it happens. The last cougar in the area was hanging around for quite some time, until he made the unfortunate decision to wander into the Chicago burbs, where the police shot him.
Mafia Mike November 03, 2012 at 07:06 AM
That's my cat Zuria. I raised him as a newborn and set him free to kill Obama supporters.
Scott November 03, 2012 at 11:14 AM
He better get busy but I think it's too late.
Ron Clone November 03, 2012 at 01:07 PM
They were here first. Cougars, not Obama supporters :-)
sherry martin November 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM
My friend saw it last fall laying in her front ditch. she lives near 6 mile. She has pictures as well.
Frances Martin November 03, 2012 at 02:51 PM
well, it's generated a lot of cougar jokes among my family and friends-the female human kind, that is-as in'was she wearing a lot of mascara?" I'm assuming it has moved on or is happily full of venison or turkey. Tracy, who saw and reported it, is a pretty cool customer--so I don't think she mistook it for some other animal-she considered chasing it .
1042SGT November 03, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Where's sasquatch
Glenn Heveran November 03, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Cougar sighted by our neighbors out walking their dogs. The DNR would not come out when they reported the sighting. West of 31 on Tabor.
manupackerfan November 03, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I'm married to a "cougar". What should I do? Should I back away slowly with eyes locked in case she pounces?
Thomas Jefferson November 04, 2012 at 12:20 AM
There are so many cougar sightings now, that I don't think they care. They have better things to do than go chasing after cougars that will most likely be gone when they get there. And who cares if cougars are around? I'd rather have a cougar in my backyard than a pack of wolves, but the DNR had no problem with letting the wolf population restore itself.
Sheri November 04, 2012 at 05:21 AM
To the guy that said it waz hiz cat.and he sent it out to get Obama Supporters,WHAT A MEAN THING TO SAY.IT MIGHT COME BACK TO BIT YOU......
Mary Jane November 06, 2012 at 03:37 AM
I like your style!
josie November 08, 2012 at 03:40 AM
The cougar shot in chicago was by belmont/western on the north side of chicago in the city..not in the "burbs" ...wish i could ship in a busload to maul the clueless ignorant bamboozled osama i mean obama voters!! We r doomed!!!
Linda Janezic Vita December 25, 2012 at 04:20 AM
I have also seen a cougar. It was walking briskly along the railroad tracks between 3 and 4 mile, on St. Rita's Rd. It was a tan colored, very large cat with a long tail. Definitely bigger than my dog (she weighs about 55 pounds), and definitely not a bobcat, coyote, or fox. I didn't report it because I didn't think I'd be taken seriously! Guess this cat makes the rounds! Wish I could've gotten a picture, but by the time I went back in for camera, I knew it would be long gone. Very cool and unexpected to see in Racine !!
Tim zold February 24, 2013 at 07:34 PM
I was driving home east bound on 6 mile road on feb 21 2013 at 200 am and saw this cat like creature fly across the road near shooters i came to telll my wife she said u saw a sqatch i said it was tan and fast freaked me out
robert martins February 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM
I was heading to work 5:30am last month when I saw the cougar cross the road in front of me coming from moose lodge heading to holy cross cemetery.Then a month later which was last monday I heard a noise outside my house which borders conservancy land off 4 1/2 mile rd I went out to investigate and I found cougar tracks next to my house no sense calling DNR they don't do anything anyways. So just be warned there is one roaming the area
Denise Lockwood February 24, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Wow... @Time and Robert, did either of you happen to get a photo of it?
Kathy Meyer June 06, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Jennifer - just because we have had the occasional goat, pony or deer escape through a broken fence and one tiny, tiny alligator climb a fence does not constitute such an accusation. In our 38 years of having cougars we have never had one or any other large dangerous animal escape or even come close to escaping. There is no danger here.


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