Cougar Tracks At Devil’s Lake?

Cougar Tracks At Devil’s Lake?

One local resident came across some interesting tracks while hiking the Ice Age Trail on the South-East corner of Devil’s Lake State Park. Are these cougar tracks?

Adult cougar tracks average 3 1/2″ tall by 4″ wide. They are usually distinguishable from coyote and most other dog tracks because they are wider than they are long (Unlike canids). You normally won’t see the claw or toenail prints in a cougar track either. Bobcat tracks are much smaller than cougar tracks, usually only around 1 1/2″ long by 1 3/8″ wide.

Cougar Track Chart

Cougar comparison chart from

For what it’s worth I’ve talked to folks who should know what they are talking about and most say that cougars are in the Baraboo Hills. One person told me that he even feels there is a small resident population. Who knows?

So what do you think?  Is there a cougar roaming around Devil’s Lake State Park?

Thanks to Andrea Cunnington for allowing us to share her pics!

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  1. Joe salemi

    It is interesting to see how cougars are more widespread than wolves. I would have expected the return of wolves before cougars.

    1. Author

      Well, a pretty good report of 2 wolves was reported about 2 weeks ago to the park nature center. The individual knows the area wildlife quite well and saw them from fairly close range. Good wolf reports come in fairly regularly in the Baraboo hills as well. I think most “experts” believe wolves & cougars at the very least move through this time of year even if there isn’t a local population.

      1. Joe salemi

        Thank you Derrick, that is really great news.
        The return of so many species is a real testament to the efforts of many governmental agencies including the EPA keeping air and water clean and state agencies like the WDNR.
        With the proliferation of deer populations over the last decades, it only makes sense that predators like wolves, coyotes and mountain lions would return. When wolves did not return on their own, it made perfect sense to reintroduce the species.
        But it may be that wisdom has changed and that the numbers of predators may not be allowed to grow to appropriate symbiotic numbers sufficient enough to control the supposed over population of deer.
        Wouldn’t it be great to allow the ecosystem to adjust itself in ways more natural to the millennia without so much dependency on culling 150k deer in wisconsin per year.
        How many eagles, osprey and sturgeon would we have then? I wonder how bear populations would change.
        I wonder if elected officials would ever brave the economic challenges it would take……

  2. Becky

    We live between Devil’s Lake & Devils Head on top of the bluff. We haven’t decided if it was a lynx or a bobcat trying to get in my patio door. Maybe it was a cougar

  3. Jo Marie Maederer

    I have a picture of a cougar in the woods on the side of and back of our home in Baraboo which is very close to the Devil’s Lake Park. Took a picture of a new island my husband had designed in our front yard on May 22 and off on the left hand side of the picture is the back of the head of the cougar trying to climb into a tree. This would coincide with the siting of cougar tracks on May 12th in the Devils Lake area. Came face to face with one while watering our new prairue plantings two weeks ago. Same side woods area. Hit it with the hose and got a ferocious snarl looked up into its face. Almost had a heart attackbut made it int the house without any issues. Called the police and they came out to search but only found a scrape mark on the branch where it pushed off from after I startled it with the cold hose. it was not tobe found. hope it doesn’t plan on sticking around but more new homes are gon up so we are chasing out of their natural invironment.

    1. Joseph salemi

      Sure, it makes sense that cougars would be around now. With deer populations as large as they have been along with a greater variety of other animals, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that cougars had returned for some time.
      I am no expert, but the ecological balance seems better now with more eagles, coyotes, wolves, fox, other predatory birds and even fish populations. Perhaps it’s “time” for Cougars to appear. Perhaps it’s time for bears to repopulate more southern areas.
      How great for Wisconsin.
      Maybe now we need to take a new look at what the correct deer harvest should be.

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