Thursday, December 10, 2009
Mountain Lion in my hiking area
We followed them up the side of a hill and along a narrow trail I never knew was there. We finally had to stop following them as they once again came out of very thick scrub oak. I knew right off they were not bear tracks, I have seen enough of them to know, and they definitely were not dog tracks. They were mountain lion tracks. You can see the comparison from the picture and the prints. We were hiking between the posted hunting times at the Academy (5-7 Dec and 11-13 Dec). This is a time when they allow hunters to come in and weed out the herds. Funny thing is we usually see deer tracks, deer droppings, elk, you name it, and usually in abundance. We came across only two sets of deer tracks. It could be the cat was keeping them away, or that these "hunters" scare off the herds. This cat was probably larger than my dog Bridie based on the size of her tracks. They were one way tracks and we could not follow them into the shooting range area. In this picture below you can see where we first came across them. The cat was following the road and went off to the right into the brush. We looked for signs of snagged fur or something other than the tracks, but this cat seemed to navigate well through the brush as there were no branches broke off or twigs snapped. Unlike the bear we came across this fall where entire branches were snapped off and you could clearly see the path through the brush. Finally this is the area where the cat went. Probably plenty of rabbits or smaller game to chase. We stay out of here even though the range is miles off on the other side of a ridge, we don't want to loose our hiking privileges. That is one thing we worry about as access to the Academy is basically open; some idiot wandering off into restricted areas prompting the Academy to close off entire areas.