Pics of my Memorial Weekend, 2009 trip to Death Hollow Utah......

John Kerby

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Feb 18, 2013
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85
Went with 3 good friends. Left wichita ks about 7 pm on thursday, I drove all night until we hit Grand Junction CO, then let a friend take over. Didn't sleep AT ALL the whole time. Had a rented 4Runner that had a horrible back seat. We arrived in Escalante about 12, got the permit, had some Subway, then went to the Boulder Airsrtip trail head. Hiked until about 7pm, then stopped for dinner and decided to stay for the night. I was up from thursday morning at 6:30, and did not get to actually SLEEP until friday night about 11 pm. And, to top that off, the the tent leaked, and it rained both nights we were there....I was on the lw end, and 'slept' in about 3 inches of water. But, crazy as this is, I loved it. All of it. Had a great time with the friends, really enjoyed it. I know this is a bit unorganized, and I am sorry. I took about 200 shots, but very few survived my great computer crash a year ago. Even had some vids, but now they are gone.

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John Kerby

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Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Messages
85
So, we never finished the hike. We ended up establishing a base camp, and just exploring the sourrounding area for several days. One day, we hiked down off of our campsite, hiked through a stream with sand and grass/weeds about head high, and it started raining. We got out of the stream, and went and relaxed until it stopped raining. We had forgotten something in our camp, so we had to hike back through the same stream we had been through ony 20 minutes prior.....And found these tracks. I have always assumed they are mountain lion, as I don't know what else that big would be out there.....Tracks were all over our previous tracks, which had been partially washed out by the rain. I have a Kansas CCW, and as such was packing a handgun. I took this pic to show the size of the print. Was really an interesting experience.....Oh, and there were no fresh or new human prints with it. Just a bunch of those, all over our tracks....

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Aldaron

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Jun 16, 2012
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I have always assumed they are mountain lion, as I don't know what else that big would be out there.

I'm by no means a qualified tracker, but I would probably guess a coyote, for a couple of reasons. First, cats can retract their claws and they rarely have them out. Canines can't retract their claws, so they're always out. If a set of tracks have no claws then it's a feline; if it does have claws, it may be a cat, but it's more likely a canine.

Second, the best test for a canine vs a feline track is the X that can be drawn from the outsides of the pad to the insides of the outer toes.

See this page for information about the X and examples: http://www.bear-tracker.com/caninevsfeline.html

Looking at the tracks in your picture, the toes are not spread out like a cat's toes, and you can draw an X from the outside of the pad to the inside of the outer toes.

I've been puzzled dozens and dozens of times by big tracks out on the trail, and I always convince myself that they're cat tracks! That's why I finally decided that I was either a magnet for the most elusive predator in North America, or it was high time I try to learn how to tell the difference between canine and feline tracks!

And, to give you an idea at how bad I still am at telling them apart, look at this picture from Yellowstone just last month:

image5459.jpg


While out there, I first convinced myself it was a cat track. It was huge (bigger than my hand), most of the tracks did not have any claw prints, and I could see three back lobes in the pad. But in some tracks I could see faint claw tips, so I changed my mind and decided it was more likely a wolf track. But now that I'm looking at it again to post here, I see there's no X, which makes me think it's a cat. But looking at other pictures online of wolf tracks specifically, I still think it might be a wolf track!

Go figure! It's hard to figure this stuff out, and I wish I could get better at it.

And great pictures from your trip!
 

DAA

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Jun 14, 2012
Messages
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I'm by no means a qualified tracker, but I would probably guess a coyote...

Go figure! It's hard to figure this stuff out, and I wish I could get better at it.

And great pictures from your trip!


I'm a moderately qualified tracker - have examined and positively identified (gotten a visual on the animal making the track) hundreds of sets of predator track. Including coyote, fox, bobcat, mountain lion, bear, badger and others. I am absolutely POSITIVE that it wasn't a mountain lion. As already ventured, probably a coyote. For practical purposes in terms of personal security, not much difference between the two - neither give me any pause (and I've experienced being actually followed and stalked by a huge tom mountain lion...).

Aldaron - an extremely common cause for confusion in identifying feline vs. canine track is the placement or superimposement of the rear track on top of the front. A coyote putting it's rear track right in it's front tracks will frequently create a false tri-lobed rear, bi-lobed front pad impression. IT happens a lot. Ever notice how often a coyote track looks single file? It's because the coyote is putting it's rear feet right in it's front tracks. A lot of the time, if the track isn't really fresh, it is extremely difficult for even very experienced trackers to make a positive ID. When you know the cast of available characters in an area though, other clues like stride, size, shape etc. can fill in the blanks and give a strong indication. Individual tracks can really fool you though!

A couple pics of mountain lion tracks just for grins... (the one in the snow snuck up to within 15' directly behind my partner and we didn't know about it until walking away a few minutes later - that cat walked right up parallel to my boot tracks, sat right behind my buddy and swished his tail in the snow before turning around and walking away...):






- DAA
 

Aldaron

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Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
an extremely common cause for confusion in identifying feline vs. canine track is the placement or superimposement of the rear track on top of the front. A coyote putting it's rear track right in it's front tracks will frequently create a false tri-lobed rear, bi-lobed front pad impression. IT happens a lot. Ever notice how often a coyote track looks single file? It's because the coyote is putting it's rear feet right in it's front tracks. A lot of the time, if the track isn't really fresh, it is extremely difficult for even very experienced trackers to make a positive ID. When you know the cast of available characters in an area though, other clues like stride, size, shape etc. can fill in the blanks and give a strong indication. Individual tracks can really fool you though!

Thanks for the info!

I really try hard to figure out the differences, but individual tracks are so unique, and there are so many variables that play into identification, that I just have a hard time. I can usually id a coyote or domestic dog track, and, of course, bears, but that's about where it ends. The wolf tracks are just so much more like mountain lion tracks that they really confuse me. After posting this last night, I spent about two hours trying to figure out how the X thing worked on a wolf vs a mountain lion...and I still don't know! :)

Oh, well!

I hope we didn't hijack your thread, John Kerby!
 
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