Was There A Cougar Spotted Recently In Dodge Center?
Yesterday the Dodge County Sheriff's Office posted about a possible cougar sighting near Dodge Center, while the sighting and report were hours apart, Sheriff Rose talked with the DNR about the possibility of there being a big cat in the area.
Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose posted to the Sheriff Offices social media page last night that "The Dodge County Sheriff's Office took a report from a citizen in Dodge Center who believes they observed a cougar at approximately 530am between the American Legion and Hot Wok on Monday morning. Our deputies checked that area for tracks as the call came in well after the cat was observed. Deputies were not able to find tracks due to the frozen ground."
Sheriff Rose added that after the report he reached out to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and "talked to [an] area wildlife manager late this afternoon about this sighting. She explained that these cats can have a 1,000 square mile area they often call home - so it could be just passing thru (she cited cats they've tracked halfway across the country), or there is the possibility that it's the same one that was seen a few months ago."
According to the Minnesota DNR website: "Human encounters with cougars are extremely rare. Most cougars will avoid confrontation."
If you happen to come across a cougar, they are most active from dusk until dawn, the DNR website states you should
- Face the cougar directly, raise your arms to make yourself appear larger and speak loudly and firmly. This behavior is in direct conflict with a cougar's tendency to hunt by stalking and attacking from ambush. Do not run, crouch or lay on the ground.
- Do not shoot the animal, even if livestock or pets are threatened. Cougars are a protected species and may only be killed by a licensed peace officer or authorized permit holder.
- Report the encounter or sighting to a conservation officer or local law enforcement authorities as soon as possible so evidence such as photographs, tracks, hair, and scat can be located, identified, confirmed and documented.