Mountain Lions in Michigan


(Addendum:  Please read all the comments to this post, these are NOT photos taken in Michigan!  While I do believe cougars inhabit the UP, the question of whether they are in the lower peninsula is still open. )

Original  post: 

oh yes……

This gives new meaning to the phrase: “Honey, would you warm up the truck for me?”  These were taken on 2/13/2010 outside of Gladwin, Michigan, on Renas Rd.


These photos are courtesy of a customer at the store.   Cheri, thank you for forwarding them to me and allowing me to post them.  These photos were sent by a relative who was quite taken aback by these three lovely cats hanging out near their truck, right outside their home.  


I have personal knowledge of another sighting:   my son  saw a mountain lion (cougar) while driving on US 2, in the UP, late in the night.  This was a few years ago.  And now these photos, from last month…… 


 But it seems that the DNR has repeatedly denied that there is a breeding population in Michigan.  They maintain that the sightings are of released pets, or cats that have travelled hundreds of miles from the west. 

Supposedly, these cats became extinct in Michigan about 100 years ago. 


Are these transient cougars??????  I would keep a close eye on your puppy, just in case.

28 responses »

  1. I live here in Michigan and have seen them in my back yard. so I made some phone calls and they sent someone with live traps they got one then set it again and got one more last summer. But just seen one again last night! They tend to stay in pairs so I hear. They are really pretty but scary I have three small kids that love to play out side. Hopefully they just stay in the woods.

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  3. I have lived in Northern Michigan for about 25 years and have spotted two Mountain Lions in two separate counties. The first one I saw while on a walk as a kid with my Grandma and everyone thought we were nuts, but the second one I spotted about 4 years ago and was able to get a picture. DNR confirmed it was definitely a mountain lion.

  4. Saw a cougar on June 3rd, 2012 in Howell, Michigan on Fisher Road and Marr Road in Livingston County. There is an abandoned garbage dump there and My huband, my father and I all saw this beautiful cat start to cross the road and then stood in road for 20 seconds or so until it turned back around and returned in the direction it came from. We are all 100% sure of what we saw in daylight on a sunny afternoon. Was it a female with others behind her and that is why she did not cross the road? We dont know, however, I am concerned about the fact that this cat, the height of our rottweiler, but longer in length with a tail as long as the cat with a black tip on the tail, could take down an adult. It is best to let the public know that they are in the area and that you cannot shoot one or bother them in any way. They are protected. A lady at TSC said her sister found a dead pig of hers in a tree in Midland…. Guess they are all around. One in Jackson area that was a pet, declawed and running loose in Waterloo area. People want to know these potentially dangerous cats are in the area.

  5. I was on vacation 2 summers ago in the UP on Little Platte lake, close to Sleeping Bear Dunes. We go there every year. We were in our car on a road that runs through a heavily wooded area. A cougar crossed in front of our car and we stopped. He looked right at us for a second and then continued to run across the road into the woods. He stopped though, maybe 10 yards into the woods and sat and looked back at us. I got out of the car and went to the edge of the road/woods and stared at it for maybe a minute. Then he turned and darted away. He appeared younger because he was definitely not as large as an adult cougar – had a long somewhat bushy tale that went all the way to the ground and slightly curled up with black on the end. His face looked just like a cougar face, no extra fuzzy fur like a bobcat. He (or she) was beautiful and I am positive it was a cougar.

  6. Cougar evidence…. We live in a cottage situated on a heavily wooded ridge near the Rogue River. On Feb 27th 2012; My wife and grandaughter saw large tracks in the snow south of Rockford Michigan. They were leading our Black Lab and heading upstream along the Rogue River near Blythfield Country Club. After returning home she told my sons and they both went out and traced her walking route. They soon found and followed the tracks. Mike, the youngest, took pictures of the very clear tracks next of his size 12 shoes. The tracks were approximately the same width and 1/2 the length of his foot. He then took the pictures back home and pulled up a web site for a comparison of exactly just what they were. We identified them clearly as being tracks of a Mountain Lion.
    While we were identifing the tracks my oldest son Andy continued to follow the animals trail. He said it had circled around, crossed west on a walking bridge spanning about 120 feet of the river, then headed south toward West River Drive. It crossed the four lane highway and made it’s way toward a camp ground at the junction where the Rogue runs into the Grand River.
    About a month prior to seeomg the tracks Andy, an avid fisherman, had spotted a dead deer in the Rogue River.. He called the DNR and they sent an officer out to investigate. They both put on chest waders and drug the carcus across the river to an island. It had been shot by an arrow and apparently died as it tried to cross the river a few days before Andy found it.
    Its my feeling that the Cougar must have been feeding on that deer because from our side of the river (west of the island) and below the ridge its only about a twenty foot jump. There are also log jams on the west side where an animal could easly cross at night. I have heard that Cougars don’t like to swim if they can avoid it.
    The big cats are known to be more active at dawn or dusk when they hunt. we feel the animal must have left the island during the night of Feb 26th because there were no recent tracks onto the golf course prior to that day. I often (usually once during the day and once in the evening) walk to the ridge with our dog. I always keep her on a leash so she doesn’t chase deer or other animals. From the top of the ridge, with the leaves down and snow on the ground, I can see much of the six or seven acre island and often we sit there as the sun goes down or in the moon light. From now on I will be aware that we share our land with the big cats. It’s exciting to know they are somewhere out there and possibly they may not be too far away.
    Richard Bagge

  7. How wonderful that the cats are back in Michigan. They are showing up in many places now.

    I live in Kentucky but at the moment I’m visiting my daughter in Grand Rapids. Last year my two grown sons came back from a walk with our giant black lab. They told me of seeing cat tracks larger than the lab’s. Since we’ve always had cats, my boys know the difference in dog and cat prints. Bobcat’s feet are not that big. We have bears and hopefully the wolves will return.
    Scarry? A little. Exciting? Greatly.

    Many more people are in car accidents than are attacked by wild predators. More humans are attacked by other humans than by all wild predators combined. Be cautious whereever you go. For a healthy ecology we need those carnivors as well as the deer etc…

  8. We have just witnessed the sighting of a mountain lion in our barn and then walking along side of the ditch row on the other side of the field. My husband said he saw a mountain lion and I told him I did not believe him until about 5 minutes later we saw it, we being me and our 14 year old son. We live in Saginaw County and my husband told me he saw it a few days ago in the barn so it is hanging around. How can the DNR deny them being here? That is scary.

  9. Thank you for your account. We are getting quite a collection of sightings in the lower peninsula. I would have had the same reaction!

  10. I believe there are cougars in Michigan whether the dnr wants to admit it or not. I had an experience January 19th,2011 at the Genysis Hospital walking trail in Grand Blanc,Michigan. I have been walking there for many years and have seen much wildlife there. The day was sunny and clear and the ground was snow covered. At first I started hearing birdlike noises coming from the woods, almost like chirping. Then as I was looking down at the ground started noticing unusual prints in the snow that where different from the prints I always see there as people walk dogs on this trail. As I went around a corner and proceeded to head on a straight away I began to scan my surroundings. Just then about a football fields distance away from me I saw a large darker greyish animal about the size of a lab. I knew instantly this was not a dog or a deer because of it’s catlike features and stride. What immediatly gave it away was it’s long,thick tail that went down to the ground. I am almost 100% what I saw was a cougar. I had my cell phone with me and if I wouldn’t have been by myself I would have tried to get a picture of it. Instead I called my daughter who thought I was crazy and went to the nearest road and got out of there! I wish I would have been more brave but I’m not stupid either,but what a beautiful sight to see,a true blessing!!

  11. Thank you for your info, and I gladly add it to the accounts of sightings in the lower peninsula. Even though the first photos were hoaxes, seems many have seen them. If you ever get lucky enough to get photos, please do share them with us!

  12. Me, my family and neighbors have been encountering weird noises at night that are unfamiliar to us. They sound terrible like something is being killed and there is a lot of growling. Also my neighbor says that she too has heard strange noises and even saw it. She said it was a lot bigger then a cat, but it was not a dog or a deer. Some others down the road found a print of a cat (way too big for a house cat) in the snow. I think they are here in west olive, keep an eye on your animals, as my cat disappeared. I wish i could get a picture so people will believe me!

  13. I spotted a cougar about 20 yards away from my backyard fence in the M-6 / Byron Center area 2 winters ago. He was crouched over, drinking from a pool of melted snow. Size of a large dog with a long, thick, rope-like tail with black at the end of tip. Of course by the time I went to get my camera and returned, he was gone…Everyone laughs, but I know what I saw…And, I definitely know that was neither a dog nor a housecat

  14. My daughter is sure she has seen one of these cougars on two different occasions between Grand Haven and West Olive.

  15. Found this site…..

    I have seen large Cat Prints off old trail in Island Lake State Park in 1990/91 ( late April / May ) and near the fresh tracks were also Great Horned Owl Feathers and Red Tail Hawk Feathers… Ummmm Large cat that sits up 30 to 40 ft in tree, and Lg Owl in Tree then owl and hawk feathers… May of 2010 found 2 good size cat prints on different trail about 1000 yards away from the prints from 1990/91 finally got a chance to take pic’s and give to DNR in the park… Maybe a migration pattern ?

  16. these may not be real, but i personally seen two mountain lions in huron county last year, assuming a male and female, we also have pictures of them, but i dont have a computer at house to post them with. we also have seen their tracks in the winter. there definitely here.

  17. Photos #2 and #4 were taken from the following website (#4 is a blow up of #2). They were taken in Colorado last winter according to the website – Pictures Outdoor Odyssey. Here is the link: It would be cool if they were in the lower peninsula, but so far know one can prove it. Since my son heard about the mountain lions, he was afraid to play in the woods behind our house. So, I decided to do an internet search for images for mountain lions, assuming this was yet another hoax. Needless to say, I found at least one of the images were not taken in Michigan. Likely, none of them were…..

  18. You are right about Michigan not requiring front licence plates. After a little research, that plate in view appears to be a Colorado plate. I hope we can get a little more info. Thank you for your insight.

  19. I really want this to be true, but if you look at the pick-up truck it has a plate on the front of it. We are not required to have them nor would someone put one on the front of their truck in Michigan. This leads me to believe these pictures were taken in a different state.

  20. They don’t look nasty……sort of regal and keep out of my way!! Funny how there never is a problem until someone gets hurt!! Gail

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