Cougar killer cited for shooting protected animal

Published 5:45 pm Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Jackson County man who shot and killed a cougar on Nov. 27, 2011, was issued a citation on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Daniel Hamman, 26, was charged by citation with shooting a protected animal.

Hamman allegedly shot the cougar after being contacted by a neighbor, who saw the cat run from a rural grove of trees into a culvert. The cougar was shot as it flushed from the culvert.

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Maximum penalties Hamman could face include a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

The DNR has filed an affidavit of restitution requesting the court to order Hamman to pay $1,000 to the state for the cougar.

The cougar shot in Jackson County was a 125-pound male, estimated to be one to three years old. The DNR conducted a necropsy of the cougar to assess the condition of the animal, look for signs of captivity and collect additional samples to help determine the origin of the animal. No obvious signs of captivity were present such as being declawed, exhibiting excessive pad wear, or having tattoos or microchips. Samples have been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Forensics Lab in Missoula, Mont., to do a DNA analysis; results are pending. The DNR plans to have the cougar mounted and used for educational purposes.

Since 2007, the DNR has confirmed 14 cougar sightings across the state. Eleven have been from trail cameras or video. One was road killed, one was found dead and one was shot. Dozens of other, unconfirmed sightings have also been reported, including two west of Austin in summer 2011. The DNR suspects both cases were dogs.

Why might cougars show up in Minnesota? Cougars are solitary, roaming animals. As young males reach maturity, they begin to look for new territory and will travel considerable distances.