Series on Tracking and Sign…

Mountain Lion

I’ve had a love of tracking ever since being introduced to it during my years doing Search and Rescue. In those days, we were largely looking for human sign to get a sense of direction or perhaps a location to start a dog.

These days the tracks I look for are of animals, and often I’m just as excited to find an indication that an animal has passed by as I am to see the animal itself. The mountain lion above was photographed in captivity, I have yet to see one in its natural habitat. It’s one of the animals that I am content to see only the tracks of! These powerful predators are the fourth largest of the cat species and can take down moose, elk, bighorn sheep and other large prey. While in their territory you’d be well-advised to look up as they are known to ambush.

My husband and I have found fresh tracks of the mountain lion on at least two occasions and spotting them never fails to send that little shiver of excitement through me.

The cat track above was located in a creek bed alongside those of a grizzly. The area had dense brush on both sides, and we left shortly after photographing them.

Tracks are but one indication that an animal has passed by. In future posts I’ll share some other signs.

3 thoughts on “Series on Tracking and Sign…”

  1. Very interesting but scary. I believe that our pet cats should never be allowed to roam because like those big wild cats, the little ones are very efficient hunters too. Good for you for making hikers aware of what’s out roaming even in not so remote areas. I look forward to seeing more of your observations. Thank you.

  2. I have to confess here that since childhood, the mountain lion has topped my list of favourite animals, even though I am surrounded by all these fabulous African cats. And tracking is thrilling! Although I have no hope of seeing mountain lion or bear tracks near me, I spend my time trying to figure out the traces left behind by the creatures that live on the farm. Yesterday it was a porcupine (our African version) which upended all my arum lilies to eat the lower parts, and some weeks before that I believe it was a bush pig that came down from the wooded hillside to plough furrows in the grassy areas of the garden. This is debated, as others say that baboons caused the damage. I don’t think it was baboons at all … you have to look at all the signs and make educated guesses. It’s rewarding. Good luck for all your future tracking!

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