How to ID a track

Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Messages
198
Location
Pecos, NM, USA
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who supported me both publicly and privately during my recent hiatus from the talk forum, you are the reason I'm back. I really appreciate it! To everyone here, again I am sorry and I take full responsibility for my actions. I hope you can let by gone's be by gone's. To Bcat, I hope we can get along better, let's just remember the respect aspect in our discussions. Let's get on with it!

There has been many a time that I have investigated tracks supposedly made by a lion only to find that they were actually made by a coyote or dog. There are really not many people who truly know how to identify a lion track in the wild so I thought I'd tell you how I do it. First of all, lion tracks do not show claw marks and can immediately be distinguished from a dog track just from this one characteristic. Secondly, a lion and most all cat tracks have a very distinctive shape at the rear of the pad that shows three distinct lobes while a dog usually has only one large
lobe. You can look at your house cat's paws to see this. The only way to absolutely confirm the track was made by a lion is to follow it a short distance and look at the pattern of the tracks. A lion makes a very neat track unlike the canine family. A sure sign of a lion is if the cat walks
along the top of a log when crossing water or obstructions, only cats will do this. Finally, the size of the track is a major consideration. A young lion or a female may put down a track about the size of the average sized dog. A truly big lion may put down a track that is four inches across. Many times you hear people say they can judge whether the track was made by a tom or a female. I do not agree with this, although you can usually tell the approximate size of the lion that made the track. The only way to tell if the track was made by a tom is to follow it
(sometimes a considerable distance) and find a scrape. A scrape is made by male lions as a scent marker or to mark his territory. The scrape is made by short backward strokes of the hind feet which results in a pile of debris about four to six inches high.

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Muledeer4me

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Dec 11, 2000
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Idaho
BCA, Nice picture. I never thought about a cat like that making a scrape. Now I will be looking for that type of thing when Im out hunting.Do you also run these when there is no snow on the ground? I have heard you guys saying you like the snow better ,What is the reason for that.Whould it make it easer for the dog's to track or is it easer for you guys to see that makes it better?

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Debbie
 

KW

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Jan 8, 2001
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63
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winfield ks usa
Bca, I dont have to try and decide if a track is a tom or a female around here as I have never seen one here! There hasnt been one officially taken here since 1904, to hear the stories, you would think they were thick, people see them 2 times a week, till it snows, then nothing! I sure wish I could see a track, it would save me a lot of driving. KW
 

Tobey

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Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
358
Location
Grand Lake Stream ME USA
Same up here KW
Some times I think I am the only one that hasn't seen a lion In Maine.LOL I spend all winter in the woods trapping beaver and looking at tracks and have never seen one ether.
The picture of that track looks petrified!!!
do any of you have a dog that can cold trail it?????????????

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We having fun yet//Tobey
 
B

bcat

Guest
BCA-ALthough you are right on the small tom /female assesment of a track to some degree, I must explain a little more! The big toms are a definate. Even the small toms and female tracks are different. Females have a more slender toe print than the males. I have seen females that had a four inch track but were just big old females. We have treed them thinking we had a tom and found out different. After examining the tracks better it was evident where the mistake was made. Toms have a more rounded toe than females. Still pointed on the top but more rounded thru the middle. Males do the scrape thing for sure, and that is a dead giveaway! The size of the track does not always mean the same as the size of the lion! We have killed toms that had HUGE tracks that weighed in at 130 pounds~! And huge cats that barely had a 31/2 inch track, so that theory is incorrect and I am sure any other lion hunters out there will say the same thing. It works sometimes but not ALWAYS! It wont be an easy road BCA but it can be overcame! Everybody is here to learn, including me and I would like to keep on an even keel with ya. Your apology is accepted, but you are on probation with me! The website accusation was almost more than I could take! Keep it real and we'll have no problems! BCA you are gonna have to earn my respect here, not the other way around. After I reread your post, I still dont see the whole apology with out the sarcasm of RESPECT!!!! Dont push it BCA!!! Youre back and on Probation as far as I see it!!! Sorry but wounds take time to heal, it dont happen overnight.bcat

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If you aint the lead dog the scenery never changes
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[This message has been edited by bcat (edited 01-19-2001).]

[This message has been edited by bcat (edited 01-20-2001).]
 
S

Shadowrider

Guest
BCA,
Thanks for sharing that info. It was really interesting to learn some of the little tell tale signs that identify cats and the signs that can differentiate a male from a female. The first thing I did was go grab kitty and flop him over and check his paws. He weren't too happy about it either.
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SR

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..."The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been"...
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Messages
198
Location
Pecos, NM, USA
Muledeer4me,
Most houndsmen prefer snow for both of the reasons you described. 1, The scent stays on the ground longer on snow as opposed to dry ground. 2, It is much easier for a houndsman to see and identify the track in snow. You can run lion on dry ground and many houndsmen in the arid southwest have to because they rarely get snow. My dogs for example can run a lion on dry ground, but it needs to be pretty fresh.

KW,
Thanks for the post, I hope you can get out here and hunt with me again before the end of our season. You have some great dogs! As I'v said before, any dog that can run and tree or bay a bobcat is a special dog! Hope Rocks works well for you. Hey, keep posting those pictures, they are great!

Tobey,
This IS a very old track, I don't believe my dogs could move it!

Bcat,
Thanks for the support.

Shadow,
Thanks for the post! I appreciate it!



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"The worst advice you can give a person with a sour attitude is to be himself"
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B

bcat

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Dont mention it BCA!!!!bcat

"Once shame on me, Twice shame on you, wont be a third time"

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Muledeer4me

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Joined
Dec 11, 2000
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Idaho
BCA, if you like snow then, you would love it here right now. We got some.We dont get it donw in the boise area all the time but it sure is pretty.Now if folks would learn how to drive. I am going to do what shadow did and check out someones kitty.Ill have to snag a stray, I dont any of my own.LOL Steve just reminded me that we did see a cat track once while we were hunting in nov. He told me what it was but (dont tell him) but i thought ,yeah, right, what do you know about it LOL He loves it when he is right .It was different then the coyote track's.

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Debbie
 

Mountain Boomer

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Joined
Dec 10, 2000
Messages
336
Location
Arkansas
BCA, glad to see you back! I am always looking for bobcat tracks when I am out hunting. Do they have the three prints on the pad? I am going to assume they do. I have always looked for the round toes w/o claw marks. Just never looked at the pad.

MB
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Messages
198
Location
Pecos, NM, USA
Muledeer4me,
I know what you mean about the drivers, same thing happens around Albuquerque when it snows. Roads and interstates close and town just about shuts down. Keep an eye out for those lion tracks and don't get scratched when you check the kitty cat's paws. By the way, we treed a nice tom yesterday, I'm getting the pictures scanned now.

Elkhunter,
Thanks, I really appreciate it!

Boomer,
Thanks for the welcome. Bobcat tracks do have the same characteristics as a lion track only in a much smaller version. An adult bobcat track is about 1 1/2" wide, but other than that, not much different than a lion. By the way, the one time you may see claw marks on a bobcat track is when they are traveling in deep, soft snow. They will sometimes spread their toes and claws for better floatation. I'v never seen this done by lions. The one thing that may be a little different from a lion track is that the bobcat track is a little more round than a lion's.



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"The worst advice you can give a person with a sour attitude is to be himself"
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