Greeting all! This weekend, our adventurous trackers took a trip out to the Pocket Creek area, and found a lot of interesting animal tracks and sign, despite difficult snow conditions.
They found quite a number of snowshoe hare tracks, and their scat. When they cut off the trail into the thicker cover that these nervous prey species and are very fond of, they found even more, including this great set featured below:
And where there are snowshoe hare, there are inevitably carnivorous animals looking to eat snowshoe hares. The team found some wandering tracks going into and out of thick cover where the snowshoe hares tracks were observed. The melted snow conditions meant that the tracks were actually higher than the snow around them, which meant there was very little detail to use for a definitive identification of these particular tracks.
What the team could tell, though, was that this animal had a diagonal gait in the acceptable range for a bobcat, and that the way the trail went in and out of thick areas also suggested it could be a bobcat. Despite the lack of detail in the tracks, the group was able to use other tracking information to come to a conclusion. Great job everyone!
The trackers found an interesting spot where a good deal of tree bark was removed on pine trees. They made sure to get a very close look, because large sections of bark removed from trees can be a sign of porcupine, one of our target species.
Careful investigation is the key to good tracking, as this team demonstrated well! They took measurements of the incisor marks from the animal that had done this, and found them to me 1/8" or less -- too small for a porcupine, but just right for a squirrel! Way to use your data and skills, team!