'This cougar was treed by dogs near Spooner Wisconsin, in March 2009.' Image credit:excerpted from Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published-pictured by Wisconsin DNR.
In Wisconsin this past weekend a cougar attacked a 1-year-old heifer. The attack was reported as the "first occurrence of a cougar taking down a domestic animal in more than 100 years, experts said Tuesday." The mauled heifer had to be from a beef cattle enterprise. Juneau County Wisconsin where the attack took place is situated in the "driftless" part of the State. It's hilly there; which means land is less unsuitable for cash cropping or dairy.
Law of unintended tree hugger consequences applies to fans of free-range meat: The more grass-fed livestock are put out, the greater the chance that big cats and wolves will intersect with them. Circumstances of the cougar attack are described below.
...tracks and physical evidence confirmed that a cougar attacked the farm animal as it grazed near a stream in the Town of Wonewoc.The LaCrosse Tribune reported that the deer kill was down substantially last year in this same area. With less tasty deer for cougar and wolves, free-grazing heifers are the logical alternative food source.
According to the DNR, a turkey hunter heard the sounds of the attack on Saturday and scared off the cat by firing shots in the air. The heifer, which weighed about 400 pounds, survived but was put down because of its severe injuries.
Random related thought: Lions compete with wolves for the same prey: deer and rabbit and such. Fears about Wisconsin's restored wolf population driving down the deer numbers or threatening people might be allayed by the presence of lion, not amplified.
A risk to people?
Way more people get injured or killed in hunting accidents every year than ever could result from a restored, breeding cougar population in Wisconsin (which does not exist and is not being promoted by anyone).
Bike trails are big in the part of Wisconsin where the attack occurred. Should a cougar begin to stalk you while on one of those trails - assuming you are not licensed for open carry or don't want the added weight - banging pots and pans will do no good. Cougars are smarter than bears and know that pots and pans mean well fed people. If you see a lion out on the trail, it will be best to break into a chorus of 'In heaven they have no beer...so that's why we drink it here.' That'll scare the be-jaezus out of any cougar foolish enough to sneak across Minnesota from the Black Hills and cross the Mississmiller River.
You saw the part about a turkey hunter driving the cat off. If the cougars were to become numerous and persons were harmed or even stalked, I have a hunch some local talent would offer to help authorities take care of the problem.