Michigan Cougar Photo Evidence

Menominee County Cougar, June 2010, photo courtesy Michigan DNRE

The Michigan Natural Resources and Environment reports that a trail camera photo from Menominee County on May 26th is likely a cougar:

“This is the first confirmed cougar picture in Menominee County. We appreciate the cooperation of the caller who shared the photograph and contacted the DNRE,” said DNRE wildlife biologist Kristie Sitar, who is a member of the DNRE’s cougar team. “Other landowners who believe they have evidence of a cougar on their property, such as tracks or a kill site, are encouraged to contact their local DNRE field office as soon as possible, which allows staff to investigate before the evidence is compromised. Without good evidence, such as verifiable photographs or tracks, confirmation becomes increasingly difficult.”

Cougars, also known as mountain lions, originally were native to Michigan but were thought to have been extirpated around the turn of the last century. The last known wild cougar taken in Michigan was killed near Newberry in 1906. The Menominee County photograph represents the latest in a series of track and photo verifications of cougars in the Upper Peninsula. Since March 2008, five sets of tracks and two trail camera pictures have been verified in Delta, Chippewa, Marquette, Schoolcraft and now Menominee counties. The origin of the animal or animals is unknown. There have been no confirmations of breeding activity of cougars in Michigan in recent years.

If you sight a cougar or find evidence, call your local DNRE office or the 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800. Click through to the story for more, including tips on human/cougar encounters.

While the DNR is only prepared to admit cougars in the UP, SavetheCougar.org has reports from all over Michigan and there’s lots more at michigancougar.com.

45 thoughts on “Michigan Cougar Photo Evidence

  1. It hasn’t been normal but it appears that there is evidence of a cougar population.

    Getting the Department of Natural Resources to admit it has been hard, primarily because they have budget problems already and managing endangered species is expensive.


    1. Same here, NY still has not admitted it despite sightings and observation of sign by some highly qualified people. VT seems a little better, allowing that there MAY be cougars in the state.


  2. A Cougar?!?! That tail and hind legs look like a normal housecat to me…lol… (ok- a bit BIG for a housecat but….)


  3. Only the most hardcore cryptozoologist would “confirm” that as a cougar picture. Yes, it resembles a cougar, but at that resolution and with the lack of the head, it can’t be “confirmed” no matter what the sypporting evidencs. Cougars in Michigan? Possibly, but not confirmed.


  4. We have mountain lions in my state as well, it is a well known fact. They are seen regularly. But it is complicated and expensive for the government it admit they are here, so they are the animal that everyone here knows we have – yet the gov. won’t acknowledge. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is not the same case in Michigan.

    Without the head being in the shot above it’s really hard to confirm. I think the photo certainly appears as if it could be a cougar. And were I to guess, I would say it probably is. But, the photo above also looks a great deal like an adolescent English Mastiff at night. The build is nearly identical, the long tail and coloration are all possible as well. And some have tight “cat like” feet.


  5. I’ve seen a Mastiff at night and thought, indeed, that I was being approached by a large cat. Almost scared me silly.

    But cats in any human population area are a serious deal.


  6. The compounding problem of “admitting” there are cougars in Michigan is that the State will then have to enforce protection and reallocate scarce funds for their management under the Michigan Endangered Species Act. When the State is already operating in a significant deficit, something like this is seriously problematic.


    1. You won’t have that problem if carnivores are allowed to do what carnivores do. Cull populations.
      Think how much it could save the State?
      We humans need to honestly start thinking about our vast numbers. It is these vast numbers, of us, which are not part of the world problem. They are the World problem. So let’s attempt to start facing it.


  7. Regardless, that is obviously not a picture of a house cat unless that cat has eaten their very plump owners…

    Cougar pictures were taken in North-Western Indiana & also Clay City, IN if I am not mistaken. A lot of sightings in those areas too. Yes, it seems surreal that a cougar (mountain lion) could be in Michigan – but crazier stuff has happened.


  8. At a glance, I thought it’s some kind of spirit ;) So, cougar is around Michigan? Are they (or is it) on their/its natural environment? Or they went to town because no more space in their own habitat.


  9. I do wonder if people read sometimes:

    “This is the first confirmed cougar picture in Menominee County. We appreciate the cooperation of the caller who shared the photograph and contacted the DNRE,” said DNRE wildlife biologist Kristie Sitar, who is a member of the DNRE’s cougar team.

    She’s a cougar specialist.

    It’s her job to identify cougars.

    It’s also no secret among people in the field that there are cougars all across Michigan.


  10. For the first time in over 100 years Indiana had it’s first cougar sighting. I don’t think anyone really needs to ask why we’re seeing wild animals where they weren’t before. Here they intend to trap and relocate him/her to an area safer for her/him and for people.



  11. I live in west Michigan and have heard cougars at night, talked to a vet that treated a horse that was attacked by a cougar nearby and have a neighbor that saw and tracked a cougar in their backyard that was preying on deer. There are definitely cougars here and they are not just in the UP.


  12. That’s interesting, South of Rochester NY we actually have sightings of cougars and they defiantly are not supposed to be there. Another animal popping up near where I grew up are rattlesnakes. We have always had them in Letchworth State park, but they are starting to rapidly increase their numbers and start to spread. I guess we need to let the turkeys do what they did last time and keep them under control, but I’m not sure what we are going to do about the cougars coming in.


  13. That seem a real cougar there. One of my best friends is doing some wild animal research. He stay on the mountains for a month to watch the wolf’s mate activities…

    I hope some day, I also can have chance to watch wild animals more closely.


  14. articles are quite interesting to read, who would have thought such an article is worthy to be a reference to all the people, give more benefits to others to share information with us to achieve common progress.
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  15. There have been cougar sightings for years in the u.p. Back in the late 70’s one was on my father in law’s cabin roof sunning itself. We have seen tracks for years also. Now there are cougars in NW lower. They have been seen. A couple years ago there were flyers put up at Sleeping Bear Dunes to warn hikers to be on look out. It has taken the DNR long enough to acknowledge that they are here.


  16. Check out Wisconsin dnr cougar sightings.Only 1 state {out west} has put radio collars on cougars. These cats travel great distances, and could easily have been in both Wisc. & MIch. Currently, there are unconfirmed stories of a cat in Mid-MI. along the Tittabawassee River in Gladwin Co. 03/28/12


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