Cougar spotted in Dodge County
While its not rare to see a variety of different animals in Dodge County, one animal spotting got a lot of attention last week.
Last Tuesday, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a cougar sighting in Dodge Center in a residential area north of Highway Street near Airport Drive on the east side of town close to the McNeilus manufacturing facility.
Deputies later confirmed the sighting of the cougar according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office.
According to Dan Ruiter, a spokesperson for the MN DNR, the best thing to do if someone spots a cougar is to report as much information possible to the DNR.
Report what you saw as soon as possible to the nearest area wildlife office or conservation officer. Note the date and time of the possible sighting, the location where the animal was seen and a description of what you saw.” Ruiter stated.
“If the opportunity presents itself, take a photograph of the animal or other potential evidence such as tracks. The DNR collects reports from citizens. Any physical evidence that could indicate the presence of a cougar will be investigated and proper steps taken to ensure public safety,” he went on to state.
Sheriff Scott Rose, in a press statement said that cougar sightings are rare, but people in the community should be aware of their surroundings especially in parks.
“While cougar sightings are rare, people should remain cautious and vigilant. We recommend extra caution while using the parks and trails in that area and refrain from being alone in those areas for now,” the press statement stated.
“ Cougars are typically most active from dusk to dawn, although they sometimes travel and hunt during the day and prey on local species such as deer, rabbits, coyotes, small rodents and occasionally pets and livestock,” the statement went on to state.
Ruiter said that the public should remember that it is illegal to kill a cougar in Minnesota and that since no wild female cougars have been found in Minnesota, the indication is that they are only passing through.
“I’d like to reiterate that it’s illegal to kill a cougar in Minnesota. No wild female cougars have been found in Minnesota – only young males – which indicates that they simply are passing through and are not taking up residence in Minnesota. And because cougars are extremely shy animals, it is an extremely rare opportunity to spot one of these animals.”
In the case of the Dodge County sighting – the DNR would ask that they call the Owatonna Area DNR Wildlife Office – 507-455-5841, or the Minnesota DNR Information Center – 888-MINN-DNR.