At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, Jim McKnight, 69, of 15912 West Carol Drive, Town of Hayward, just south of the city, was sitting behind his house when he looked out on his lawn and saw something he never expected to see – a young cougar about three feet in length and two feet in height.
McKnight said the animal apparently came out of the woody area to the southwest of his property and walked out on his lawn when he noticed it.
The cougar, he said, observed him sitting behind the house and then leisurely walked to the north and to the corner of his lawn and tree line and walked behind a large electrical spool back into the woods on a trail and disappeared.
McKnight said while the cougar was walking across his lawn he tried to get the attention of his wife who was inside near a window, but she was too late to observe the animal.
McKnight reported the sighting to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
DNR Wildlife Joshua Spiegel arrived on the scene but said he couldn’t make an official statement on the sighting at that time.
However, Spiegel said animal scents from nearby Wilderness Walk, a private zoo on Highway 27, will attract wild animals and could have attracted a cougar.
Spiegel said he would explore the nearby animal trail for any signs.
There were many small deer tracks on the trail and there have been reports of fawns in the area, animals a small cougar might be interested in for food.
The Sawyer County Record will update this story as more information is available.