Door County stays wary of possible loose cougar|jon_downes||09/19/03 at 14:18:14|jon_downes|xx|0||Sep. 18, 2003

Door County stays wary of possible loose cougar

Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

STURGEON BAY — Reports of a large cat roaming the city’ north and west neighborhoods prompted local officials to call in experts and warn joggers not to run alone at night.

“We’ve gotten so many reports now that I’m confident we do have a cougar,” Police Chief Dan Trelka said Wednesday.

Police took several calls about a large cat before paying closer attention.

In the latest incident, Sept. 8, 16-year-old Nathan Tellstrom said his dog chased a large cat into a pine grove — and emerged with a bloody paw.

That prompted Trelka to alert local wardens of the state Department of Natural Resources, who called the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife specialist in the region, Brian Medke.

Medke said it’s extremely unlikely for a wild cougar to be found in Wisconsin, especially north of the waters of Sturgeon Bay and the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal because northern Door County is essentially an island.

Most of the sightings occurred near the city’s Big Hill Park. Others were reported near the Pick ’n Save grocery store and the Bayview Bridge. Medke searched the area for paw prints or droppings Monday with no success. He said the animal could be a large housecat or possibly a pet cougar that escaped.