BROOKFIELD -- Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Saturday, Feb. 17 confirmed a cougar sighting in Brookfield, and a homeowner shared incredible video with FOX6 News that shows a big cat standing on a porch, peering into a front window. DNR officials said the animal was likely looking for a new territory or a mate.
According to a news release from Brookfield police, shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday, they responded to a report of a cougar under a pine tree in a resident's backyard. Police said DNR agents responded and confirmed this was a cougar.
Police said the animal appeared to be very passive and may have been injured/hit by a car.
Officers weren't able to neutralize or use a dart gun on the cougar due to the proximity of homes and thick brush in the area.
It was determined the DNR would return on Sunday morning "to attempt to deal with it."
Neighbors were notified.
When DNR officials returned on Sunday the cougar was no longer under the tree. It was tracked in a southeasterly direction but the trail was lost near 135th and Hope.
The animal was estimated to be approximately 50 pounds and about a year-and-a-half.
Dan Guerndt saw tracks in his yard, so he decided to check the footage from his surveillance camera.
"I couldn't believe what I saw. A really big cat," Guerndt said. "I was hoping it didn't see my cat, break the window or something."
Since late 2017, there have been cougar sightings in Langlade County, Fond du Lac County and Washington County. DNR officials believe the big cat spotted in Brookfield is the same cougar.
"Definitely the craziest visitor we've had," Guerndt said.
"To me it just showed a certain amount of curiosity associated with the animal. It jumped up, checked out the window, and moved on right away. Probably saw its reflection I would assume. That type of behavior I wouldn't be so concerned about," Dianne Robinson with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said.
DNR officials believe the cougar may have left a pack in South Dakota in search of love, among other things.
"If it's a young dispersing male, which we think it is, it is looking for a mate. It's also looking for food and territory," Robinson said.
Robinson said the cougar will probably move on.
"Cougars are a protected species, so you can't necessarily shoot them, but if there's a potential safety hazard associated with that, then absolutely the DNR would work with local law enforcement and allow them to dispatch that animal," Robinson said.
"I just think it's awesome that I was able to capture that on camera and share it with people," Guerndt said.
DNR officials said they're working with local law enforcement to track the cougar and determine what the options are depending on where it ends up.
If you think you spotted a cougar, you're asked to please fill out the Wisconsin DNR's "Large Mammal Observation Form."