Updated: Cougar Spotted in Woodbury?

Resident calls Woodbury police after seeing what was thought to be a cougar near the Interstate 94 frontage road.

A cougar in Woodbury? One resident thought so. So did the officer who responded to the call.

Woodbury received an anonymous call on Jan. 11 about a cougar sighting near the Woodbury Lakes shopping area. The animal was spotted near the south side of the Interstate 94 frontage road.

Justin Gunderson, a community service officer with the Woodbury Police Department, said he got the call about a cougar sighting at about 9 p.m.

"From what I saw it actually appeared to be confirmed," he said.

Gunderson said the animal was about 65-80 yards away when he saw it.

"It moved more like a feline than a K-9," he said.

There have been several coyote sightings in Woodbury of late, Gunderson said, and he assumed that's what the caller spotted.

"I actually chuckled when I responded to the call," he said. "But I can't imagine that somebody thought an obese house cat was a cougar."

Dan Stark, a wolf specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said he hasn’t heard of any recent reports of cougars in the Twin Cities area. There were some DNR trail cameras that captured photos of cougars this fall, he said, but those were closer to Two Harbors and International Falls.

In December 2009 there were confirmed cougar sightings in Champlain, Vadnais Heights, the Stillwater area and western Wisconsin, Stark said. Scat analysis showed that it was the same animal, he said.

If people see a cougar, Stark suggested that they try to take a photo of the animal and report tracks in the snow to the DNR. There have been no incidents of cougars attacking family pets, Stark said.

“They’re extremely rare and we haven’t been able to document any kind of reproduction going on or any stable population,” he said.

Gunderson said he spoke with a DNR employee after he saw the animal, and human-cougar interaction is "very strange occurrence." The DNR official also told Gunderson that if it became a problem, police have the authority "to dispatch the animal if necessary."

Woodbury Patch asked Gunderson if it was the most exotic animal he's ever seen.

"By far," he responded. "I hunt, but I've never gone after an animal that can hunt me back."

Tom Grezek January 16, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Yes, I believe there could be a cougar in Woodbury. Why not? I've witnessed a red fox in my back yard, and on two occasions coyotes, one on the north end of Colby Lake with a goose in his jaws, the other ambling the no man's land behind my home on Hillingdon Rd.
Meghan Hatalla January 19, 2011 at 02:40 AM
"Cougar" is a bit of a subjective term now, isn't it? ;]
d paul January 22, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Meghan!!! LOL! I have seen alot of Cougars in Hudson also..... Have you ever been to Dicks Bar on a Sunday Afternoon? :p
Jesse Umbreit January 26, 2011 at 01:43 PM
My wife and I spotted a Cougar in Newport. He was standing on the shoulder of the exit ramp from 494 west to 61 south at 8:30 on January 24th. I called law enforcement and they didn't seem to care so I called channel 5 news.
Tim Conrad January 26, 2011 at 01:59 PM
This past summer I let my dog out about 7:00 am and there was a cougar walking between my house and my neighbors on top of the ridge, on the east side of Hwy 61 above the St. Paul Park exit. It made 2 passes by me. I contacted both the DNR and the local police. It was listed in the Bulletin. When I talked to the neighbor about it, he and others had also been hearing about it. His black lab was bitten on the shoulder by 1 of 2 Grey Wolves tht were denning under his enclosed trailer after the 20" snowfall we had in the beginning of the winter. He had witnessed them run out from under the trailer and then turn on his dog when he ran after them. I also saw him catch a 4' long rattle snake with a snare. We also have regular visits from a Red Fox on our deck and in our garden and yard. There is also about 20-30 wild turkeys that make regular visits to the base of my bird feeders.
David January 07, 2013 at 07:54 PM
The article says Jan 11, so this happens on Friday? Typo
Kris Janisch January 07, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Jan. 11, 2011.
Kris Janisch January 07, 2013 at 08:38 PM
It's an older story David, but the latest sighting reminded me of it so I linked to it.


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