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Sheriff: Cougar sighted in Dodge Center

Residents had been reporting a cougar wandering around the Dodge Center area for a few days.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

DODGE CENTER, Minn. — The Dodge County Sheriff's Office has confirmed recent reports of a cougar wandering around in Dodge Center.

Sheriff Scott Rose says on Tuesday night, deputies got a report of a cougar sighting in a back yard in Dodge Center. They had heard from residents that a cougar had been spotted in that area in the past few days.

Deputies searched the area and found the cougar in a field north of North Street and Airport Drive, Rose said in a Facebook post late Tuesday night.

The deputies watched the cougar with binoculars as it retreated, Rose said, and then they notified the Minnesota DNR.

Rose said human encounters with cougars are very rare, but people should remain "cautious and vigilant."

"We recommend extra caution while using the parks and trails in that area and refrain from being alone in those areas for now," he wrote. "Cougars are typically most active from dusk to dawn, although they sometimes travel and hunt during the day and prey on local species such as deer, rabbits, coyotes, small rodents and occasionally pets and livestock."

If you encounter a cougar, the sheriff says to face the animal directly, raise your arms and speak loudly and firmly. Do not crouch or lie down. Pick up small children immediately.

Do not shoot the animal, the sheriff says. Cougars are protected and may only be killed by a licensed peace officer.

Anyone who sees a cougar is asked to call 911 immediately, and if it can be done safely from inside, take a photo so the sighting can be documented for the DNR.

The Minnesota DNR has more information about cougars here.