Must we shoot big cats in “cougar country”?
What a difference a few years make. Several years ago, before a wild cougar was positively identified through a trace of blood as having been in Milton and possibly Janesville, Clinton and Elkhorn before making its way into Illinois, Wisconsin DNR officials seemingly were in denial that these big cats roamed Wisconsin. Wildlife officials weren’t convinced despite repeated reports from state residents who spotted what they believed were cougars through the years.
Now, a DNR proposal to let landowners shoot cougars that are attacking domestic animals is on the agenda for the annual spring conservation hearings. Those hearings will occur in every county April 11.
Currently, cougars are protected in Wisconsin. No one can shoot or trap one without permission from the state.
The DNR now says the closest known cougar population is in South Dakota, but four cougars have been confirmed in our state in recent memory.
The one that was roaming around Milton and other nearby communities in January 2008 met its unfortunate demise in northern Illinois. Police on Chicago’s north side shot and killed it after it got too close to a school.
Last summer, the Gazette received unconfirmed reports from residents who believe at least one cougar was again cruising the tangled hills, swamps and fields near Edgerton.
So what do you think of the DNR’s proposal to let landowners shoot a cougar attacking a pet or some other domestic animal?
Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or email@example.com. Or follow him on Twitter