Most of the sightings have been in Michigan’s upper peninsula, but the first confirmed sighting in the lower peninsula was in Clinton County in 2017.That’s if you don’t count that one time my mother swore she saw one in Manistee County -- a completely unconfirmed sighting late at night but I choose to believe it happened.
Anyone with physical evidence of a cougar (scat, tracks, or carcass) should make sure not to disturb the area and keep that physical evidence in tact. You can report the sighting to the DNR and include photos.
Cougars are known to be solitary and secretive animals, rarely seen in the wild. They’re known for their strength, agility and ability to jump. Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare.
It’s believed that the cougars seen in Michigan are escaped or released pets, or transient cougars from breeding populations in North and South Dakota. It has been illegal to own a cougar or large exotic cats such as African lions, leopards, and jaguars, in Michigan since 2000.
If you encounter a cougar in the wild you should face the animal, stand tall, wave your arms and talk in a loud voice. Never run from a cougar. If children are with you, pick them up so they can’t run. If attacked you should fight back, do not play dead. Cougars who are posing an immediate threat to humans can be killed.
Want to report a cougar sighting? Here’s how
If you believe you spotted a cougar in Michigan you can use this online form to report the sighting to the DNR.
The form will ask for some of your personal information, the location you spotted the cougar, the habitat type, the day you saw the cougar, and any other details about the sighting. You are able to upload photos if you have any.
May 17, 2020: On May 17, 2020, a DNR trail camera captured a photo of a cougar in southcentral Luce County. This is about 72 miles from where the April 24 photo was captured in Delta County (photograph not available).
January 12, 2021: On January 12, 2021, a security camera captured and tracks were found from a cougar in Southwestern Schoolcraft County. This is about 120 miles from where a November 27, 2020 photo was captured in Schoolcraft County.
March 31, 2021: On March 31, 2021, a trail camera video was captured of a cougar in northeast Dickinson County. This is about 30 miles from where the January 26 photo was captured in Delta County.
July 20, 2021: On July 20, 2021, a trail camera video was captured of a cougar in southeastern Baraga County. This is about 10 miles from where a July 19 photo was captured in Marquette County.
December 22, 2021: On December 22, 2021, a security camera captured video of a cougar in southwestern Delta County. This is about 95 miles from where a November 12 photo was captured in Baraga County.
December 23, 2021: On December 23, 2021, cougar tracks were found in southwestern Delta County. This is about 3 miles from where a December 22 video was captured in Delta County.
There haven’t been any updates on 2022 sightings on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ website yet this year.
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