Joined: 17 Feb 2007
|Posted: Tue May 17, 2011 7:36 am Post subject: 5/15/11 Grand Traverse County, Michigan - cougar sighting.
|Grand Traverse County, Michigan - cougar sighting.
Reported Mon, May 16, 2011 at 1:47 PM to www.savethecougar.org
Date of Observation: 5/15/11
Time: 2:30 pm
County: Grand Traverse
Location Description: Whitewater Twp Park, Grand Traverse Co.
My husband and I were hiking about 2:30 p.m. Sun May 15, 2011, in Whitewater Township Park at the south end of Elk Lake in Grand Traverse County, and encountered what I am quite certain was a cougar. We were on a foot trail walking-east on rolling terrain, and as we emerged from dense forest into a grassy area punctuated by copses of pines and sumac, I saw a stationary animal in the open to the left (north) of the trail, about 60 yards in front of me. It was facing southward, across the trail, and I do not believe it saw us. As deer are common, that was my first thought, because it was about the size of a doe and plainly larger than a dog or coyote. But it was not as tall as a deer, had small ears, and was lighter in color and with a long tail. It remained stationary for 5-10 seconds -- long enough for a good look -- then abruptly ran southward across the trail. When I saw it run, I realized it was very likely a cougar; its legs were far thick er and shorter than a deer's and it did not bound as a deer would. It loped rapidly with long, fluid strides, and disappeared behind a pine thicket about 10 yds across. I expected it to see it emerge from behind the other side, but it did not. It either entered the thicket or changed direction and disappeared into a more extensive wooded area about 50 yds farther south. My husband and I circled the copse in opposite directions several times but saw no sign of the animal again (we were not about to go into the thicket and risk startling a cougar at close range). We are very familiar with the terrain in the park, as we hike there frequently, and its trails are so lightly used, we have never seen another hiker.