Friday, January 29, 2016

A Day Spent Tracking and Wandering

Small coyote track, my small hand for comparison.

On Wednesday I heard a lone howl of a coyote that would have sent shivers up my spine had I not been seeing this 'yote for a few months.  He/She has a trail that runs through my neighbor's cattle pasture and up into the woods.

I was hanging out laundry and caught sight of him trotting away.  I am assuming that it is a He because he is quite large and we watched him chase another coyote away just before deer hunting season.

I thought since we'd had a nice snowfall on Monday night, it would be fun to go out and see if I could track some coyotes and perhaps see what story the snow tracks would tell me.

I picked up the large coyote's tracks fairly close to our fence line and began to follow them.  Mr. Yote had a meandering track and it appeared that he was a lot more interested in rabbits than in any of my stock.

No, Morris did not go on this hike with me.  He gets pretty nervous when he smells coyote [smart dog] and he would run around and mess up the tracks I was looking at.

I followed several sets of tracks of 'yotes.  Most were smaller than this fellas tracks.

In some places the tracks were mingled with deer and rabbit tracks.  I lost the tracks in some of the heavier trafficked areas, but was able to pick them up again by carefully studying the snow.

Clever coyote walked right across this pile of downed limbs.

Interestingly enough, in some places, the tracks lead right across deer beds. I am sure they were not both there at the same time.

Nicely formed deer bed.

I didn't find any dens but I spent about two hours following tracks and I found a beautiful view of our place from the neighbor's pasture.

Our house and shed in the distance.  Coyote tracks in the middle of the photo.

I did a lot of looking and finally found The Big Boy Tracks!  He is huge, but he is not a wolf.
A wolf's tracks would be nearly as larger than my hand.

Big Boy Tracks

Wolf tracks for comparison

Later I did take Morris for his daily hike and he stuck pretty close to me in the creek bottom.
The trail we normally take was full of coyote tracks and places where the 'yotes had 'marked' their territory.

We are coming into the 'dogging' season for coyotes, so I imagine Morris will be spending less time with me in the woods and we'll do our daily walks on a leash on the gravel road.

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