This week’s Wildlife Wednesday video comes to us from Eli Schaefer of Houghton. Eli captured astonishing trail camera footage of a cougar taking down a deer on public land near Toivola. 

The Dec. 30 footage is remarkable because cougar sightings are rare in Michigan. 

Eli is a Michigan Tech University student studying geospatial engineering, but in his free time enjoys hunting deer, bear, and partridge as well as fishing. 

When he viewed the footage, Eli said he at first felt surprised, followed by an unsettling realization. 

“The first thought that came to mind is how easily it could have been me standing there,” he said.

Eli said that when cougars attack, they kill their prey quickly before dragging the animal away from the scene and burying leftover meat in the dirt to mask the scent in order to keep it hidden from other predators. 

In 2021, Eli said he came across buried deer meat not too far from where the trail cam is mounted. 

A Lanse native, Eli said he loves spending time in the extraordinary Upper Peninsula outdoors.

“Just being out on an adventure, no matter where you walk you never see the same thing twice. It’s just the quietness of it,” he said.