Deer hunters group wants to catch cougars on trail camerasby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is asking people with trail cameras to leave them up this winter so that they might catch a picture of a predator -- especially a cougar.
Sightings of cougars, or mountain lions, are up in Minnesota. The DNR gets about 50 reports a year, but said most turn out to be house cats or yellow labs. The remaining handful, said the DNR, either escaped from captivity or are lone males wandering from the Black Hills in search of new territory.
Kimberly Hanson from the Deer Hunters Association said all the talk about cougars has hunters paying attention.
"It's interesting to deer hunters; it is a little unsettling for some because it's such a rare predator, and they have a tendency to stalk," Hanson said.
Starting Jan. 3, Hanson will have two maps on the association's web site: one for cougar sightings -- both confirmed and unconfirmed -- and one for other predators.
"We want to get these photos available and have a go-to place where you can see potential locations that any sort of predator animals that have been sighted throughout Minnesota," she said.
Cougars are protected animals; only DNR or peace officers are allowed to shoot them.