Rare Footage of Mountain Lion Hunt in Michigan Captured on Trail Cam

A man couldn’t believe his luck after he captured extremely rare footage of a cougar taking down a deer in Michigan.

Eli Schaefer had previously captured a photo of the elusive big cat thanks to his trail camera set up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There is no native population of cougars in the state, despite a rise in reported sightings.

Schaefer thought he had captured another photo but says his “heart started racing” when he realized it was a video.

The dramatic video shows the final moments of a chase with the mountain lion coming out on top. A small deer is subdued with a second short video showing the cat dragging the carcass deep into the Keweenaw Peninsula forest.

The video was recorded on December 30 but Schaefer didn’t get to see the footage until about a week later.

“I went back home and I’m bouncing through the pictures not really expecting nothing. It didn’t really matter to me that much. Season was over,” Schaefer tells MLive.

“You don’t really think about a big cat in the woods. And then you get home (and see) you were like, standing right where that happened. I had no idea.”

There have only been 106 confirmed sightings of mountain lions in Michigan since 2008, this video is a big deal to the state’s biologists who are planning to visit the site of the kill.

“The chances of getting that [footage], it’s just really remote,” Brian Roell, a wildlife biologist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, tells MLive.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen that actually occurring, where you actually captured a deer. I just thought it was really neat because biologically, we know they are killing deer. There’s no new insight there or anything like that.”

Scientists believe that Michigan gets its mountain lions from the Dakotas; they are thought to be all male cats who must get away from their natal territory or face being killed as they become sexually mature.

Pumas were once native to Michigan but they disappeared in the early 1900s and now have endangered species status.

Image credits: Eli Schaefer