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  #1  
Old 09/07/04, 10:14 AM
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Bobcat or Cougar tracks???

Hello everyone,

First, let me quickly introduce myself. I have been lurking on this forum for 6-7 months. You folks have helped answer many questions for which I am very appreciative. I live in North-Central Oklahoma (just west of Stillwater). My wife, 2 kids and I have about 10 acres that we live on and "play" with. Currently we have horses (my wife is the rider), chickens, guineas, and a few barn cats. We love being outside and are incorporating more gardening and small stock as time permits.

Now, this brings me to my question. We have been losing guineas and chickens (they all free range) over the last few months. Had a raccoon problem a month ago that I was able to catch in a live trap and "take care of". Started losing a bird every 3-4 days and suspected a fox. Then last Saturday night we had a light rain about midnight that created just enough mud to see the prints of a large cat. I have been doing some reading and think it is either a very large Bobcat or a Cougar. The prints are a little over 3 inches across. I also found some scat in the area. It looked like it contained pieces of grasshoppers, some small broken bones, and pieces of fur. There weren't any scratch marks around it so it didn’t appear to have been "covered". These tracks were right outside my barn next to the chicken/guinea coop. The horses would have been just a few feet away as they often choose to sleep in the barn. I have some pictures, but don't know how to post them yet. I will post them if I figure it out....

My question is, what is the largest Bobcat you have seen. Things I have read say Bobcat prints should be about twice the size of a house cat. These prints are much bigger than that. I would like to think it is a big Bobcat, but I don't want to rule out a Cougar. I think I am much more afraid of a Cougar where my family is concerned than Bobcat.

Your thoughts are very much appreciated....

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  #2  
Old 09/07/04, 10:34 AM
 
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"Animal Tracks and Signs of North America" states Bobcat tracks range from 1-3/4" to 3-1/2" in width and 1-3/4 to 2-1/2" inches long. Distance between bobcat tracks while walking range from 9 to 14 inches. It also states - Due to the bobcat's habit of covering its scat, this type of sign is not seen often, except in parts of the west where the ground is toohard to premit the practice. Droppings that are not covered are normally 4 to 5 inches long and be confused withthose from coyotes, although constrictions in serval places along its length are characteristic of bobcat dung. Scats may be broken into segments due to these constrictions.

"Mountain lion trakcs are 3 to 4-1/2 inches wide and as much as 4 inches long, with a stride of 12 to 22 inces."

Hope this helps,
Marlene

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  #3  
Old 09/07/04, 10:55 AM
 
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Hi StillwaterScout! Welcome to the forum! I have a place in SE OK down by Rattan, & we most definitely have cougars in our area. I don't live down there year round yet,but my neighbors tell me that the tracks of the long-tailed cats usually run in about the 3-4in range, so it is certainly possible that you could have a cougar. The depth of the tracks & the size of the scat would provide some good information to an expert. I would call the wildlife department. I'm pretty sure that they would be interested. The largest bobcat that I've ever heard of has been in about the 30-35lb range. Be careful & take pictures of the tracks with a ruler or a tape measure. I have a cousin that has horses near Conway ARK. that has had some trouble with these big cats. A foal killed & the horses very disturbed in the corrall at night. There have also been reports of cougar sign in the Cimmaron river valley. That isn't so far from you.

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Old 09/07/04, 11:21 AM
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Here are a couple of the pictures. I hope these come through....

Again, thanks for your replies....





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  #5  
Old 09/07/04, 11:39 AM
 
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StillwaterScout.... That is Not a bobcat! Call the wildlife department! Email your pics to them. I can guarantee that they will be interested. In the meantime, I would be pretty concerned about your animals & your family. Be careful!

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  #6  
Old 09/07/04, 01:11 PM
 
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http://www.cougarsanctuary.org/tracks.html

Try this page it give some pretty good details on cougar tracks.

http://www.bear-tracker.com/bobcat.html
Here is one for bobcats.

But I have to say from what I just read you do not have a bobcat! it seems to me that the size difference is to large for even a large bobcat. I would call someone to come and see. In the meantime I would be on watch for other signs and ask neighbors if one has been sighted. I would keep my kids close by for a while.


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  #7  
Old 09/07/04, 05:34 PM
 
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cougar tracks

looks like a young cougar to me.

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Old 09/07/04, 08:35 PM
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Hi~

I live over by Enid and at the last of July/first of August saw one not 400 feet from my backyard --I beleive it wasnt full grown because it looked like the size of a pitbull but ran away like a cat with a BIG tail...I heard it screaming later that evening....hunting I think

taken from http://www2.ucsc.edu/police/liondoc2.html

Lions are shy and elusive. They are most abundant where there is plenty of shelter and prey. Lion attacks are uncommon, but are devastating when they occur. Since evidence shows that lions are particularly attracted to small children, CHILDREN ARE ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE.


Tracks

The prints are quite round in appearance. Usually all four lower toes, but no claw marks will show, (since cats have retractable claws). The foreprint is 3.5 to 4 inches long; the hindprint is slightly smaller. The lobed heel pad has a single scalloped edge at the front and a double scalloped edge at the rear. The hindfoot print usually overlaps the front footprint, but seldom registers exactly within. The straddle is 8 to 10 inches and the length of stride is 12 to 28 inches.

http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/arti...cal/news09.txt

S.D. mountain lion found dead in Oklahoma

scary scary...I hope that the authorities (Dept of Wildlife) will take you seriously
I know that the local police blew me off when I said I saw one IN TOWN!!!

Rachel

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  #9  
Old 09/07/04, 09:11 PM
 
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.

DON'T even hesitate on this, my friend. You're talking VERY dangerous here. Large bobcat? Maybe, but I sure doubt it. And there's all kinds of big cats out there, and they're all dangerous if hungry!

I was yards from a cougar as it took down a doe recently, and the tracks looked just like your pictures! I'd clear any brush or hiding spots near the buildings. And they like to move in shadows, so adding more outside lights may help. Be careful, make sure you have (and know how to use) a large caliber gun, and keep the wife and kids inside or in sight until this is resolved.

Recent big cat discussions we just had:

http://minifarmhome.proboards25.com/...num=1087564922

http://minifarmhome.proboards25.com/...num=1087622848

Good luck and be careful!

Ozarkguy

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  #10  
Old 09/07/04, 09:30 PM
 
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cougar tracks

I live on Vancouver Island, off the coast of British Columbia and we have the highest density of cougars in NorthAmerica right here.We also have the highest number of cougar attacks, but the fact is, it is still rare to even see one unless you are hunting for them with dogs.I've hunted all my lifeand only seen two[ although I;ve backtracked in the snow and seen cougar prints following me- that runs the hair up on the back of your neck!]
We have them come arround here fairly regularly, there's one in the neighbourhood now, and they take the deer that have invaded our rural area.They will also take dogs and cats, but their preferred prey is deer.Generally all you find is a deer carcass covered up with brush, or see the turkey vultures circling and you know a cat has killed a deer.
Now- some common sense, tell your kids to stay away from culverts[ cats will hide out in them] and avoid going into brushy areas alone.Taking a dog is a good idea,cats hate barking dogs.And, if they do see a cat, best thing to do is walk quietly away, not run, and do not stoop down-better yet, be as tall as they can[ arms up]Young cats are potentially more dangerous as they may not have honed their hunting skills and may be hungary- and a small pet or child makes an easy meal.Also, kids should avoid going into brushy areas alone, there's safety in numbers.The occiasional full gown cat will attack an adult and I recall several cases, but it's rare.They tend to be more curious about humans than anything else., but will follow them, without attacking.This is a fairly common behaviour, but unless you backtrack in the snow, most people never know a cat was following them.I'm sure far more cats have seen me than me see them , when hunting
To put it in perspective, your child probably has a much higher chance of getting killed by a car while on their bike than being killed by a cougar- but we still keep them inside if we know a cat is arround

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Old 09/14/04, 09:50 AM
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I thought I would give everyone an update. I sent the pictures of the tracks to a few people in the State Department of Wildlife. As was suggested, they were very interested. Stillwater is home to Oklahoma State University. It turns out there is a professor there that studies Cougars in Oklahoma. He was very helpful and extremely responsive. Currently there are several live traps around my property employing various scent lures and baits. They gave everything to me so I can manage the traps without them having to come onto my property everyday. If I every catch anything, I just have to call them and they will come and get it (they will put it down), or I can "take care of it" myself.

I just wanted to say that the "officials" have been very helpful in this. It took a few phone calls to get to the right people, but it has been great since then.

Thanks for all your replies. I will post pictures of the cat if I ever catch it....

StillwaterScout

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  #12  
Old 09/14/04, 10:24 AM
 
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bocat or cougar

if there is sufficient prey around your place, I wouldn't be unduly concerned, nor would I be trying to kill the cat, we have them round here all the time but they are rarely even seen.Cougars are large efficient preditors and extremely adept at keeping out of the way.Could they kill you?Certainly- but the odds are very slim you would even see one,although they will have without a doubt seen you.I look at it this way- I have a far greater chance of being killed by an automobile, but I don't set traps for them, nor do I take potshots at them if they come on my property!!!

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  #13  
Old 09/14/04, 11:45 AM
 
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StillwaterScout... I'm glad that you got some response from the State Wildlife Dept. I was pretty sure that you would! I would be very interested in seeing this cat captured alive & kept alive for further study. It is interesting to me that it just appeared in your area.The Stillwater area is Not exactly a wilderness area. I'd like to know where it came from, & just what it has been eating. I'm also kind of surprised that this story hasen't leaked to the News yet.I would say that it is really in everybody's interest if it didn't untill it is resolved one way or another. Good luck, & keep the family & the animals safe! Bill

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  #14  
Old 09/14/04, 12:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StillwaterScout
I thought I would give everyone an update. I sent the pictures of the tracks to a few people in the State Department of Wildlife. As was suggested, they were very interested. Stillwater is home to Oklahoma State University. It turns out there is a professor there that studies Cougars in Oklahoma. He was very helpful and extremely responsive. Currently there are several live traps around my property employing various scent lures and baits. They gave everything to me so I can manage the traps without them having to come onto my property everyday. If I every catch anything, I just have to call them and they will come and get it (they will put it down), or I can "take care of it" myself.

I just wanted to say that the "officials" have been very helpful in this. It took a few phone calls to get to the right people, but it has been great since then.

Thanks for all your replies. I will post pictures of the cat if I ever catch it....

StillwaterScout
My! Well, isn't that interesting. Those animal rights activists are creating sites that state that they are 'endangered species' and it is illegal to kill them!

So, they aren't endangered? And they will put the animals down?

From what I understand they will not eat dead meat. They like their food walking or running.

I think I have seen a track out in my garden over towards the woods but I was thinking that it didn't have claws so it was probably just a dog. (from what I saw online, just the opposite was true).
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Old 09/14/04, 12:11 PM
 
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Actually, they will eat carrion if they are hungry enough, & they will bury or hide their kills for later.

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  #16  
Old 09/14/04, 01:58 PM
 
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cougar sighting

Hi - we had been losing guineas for a while, and although it is usually free running neighbor dogs, we hadn't caught any of those lately. Our neighbor called Friday night and told us they had spotted cougar tracks around their pond. The people next door do a lot of hunting and seemed to be in no doubt about the tracks and who they belong to.

We raise reindeer here in Oregon, and of course, this last weekend the older reindeer decided that it was time to shed their velvet, which equates lots of blood. We were very worried, not too much for them, because they will use their antlers for protection, but for our two little baby reindeer. Hoping the blood smell would not draw the cougar in. No sign of it, but we just feel like the eyes are watching! I have to go feed the reindeer up on the hill before dawn, and that is the most nerve-racking. I take our dog, but she is a retired Service dog, so I don't think she would be much use in a fight between a cougar and her.

Our Wildlife guy was up Thursday doing his yearly facility inspection, and we were talking cougars etc, and he said we are in an area where it is free shoot - in other words, if we see it, we can shoot it. We're not hunters, and we live in their area, so we would probably only shoot if it was attacking or preparing to attack (although from what we've heard you don't see them before, just during or after).

Good luck with the traps. Too bad they can't relocate, but that process isn't as easy as it sounds since they are very protective of their territory.

Cindy, Oregon



Quote:
Originally Posted by StillwaterScout
Hello everyone,

First, let me quickly introduce myself. I have been lurking on this forum for 6-7 months. You folks have helped answer many questions for which I am very appreciative. I live in North-Central Oklahoma (just west of Stillwater). My wife, 2 kids and I have about 10 acres that we live on and "play" with. Currently we have horses (my wife is the rider), chickens, guineas, and a few barn cats. We love being outside and are incorporating more gardening and small stock as time permits.

Now, this brings me to my question. We have been losing guineas and chickens (they all free range) over the last few months. Had a raccoon problem a month ago that I was able to catch in a live trap and "take care of". Started losing a bird every 3-4 days and suspected a fox. Then last Saturday night we had a light rain about midnight that created just enough mud to see the prints of a large cat. I have been doing some reading and think it is either a very large Bobcat or a Cougar. The prints are a little over 3 inches across. I also found some scat in the area. It looked like it contained pieces of grasshoppers, some small broken bones, and pieces of fur. There weren't any scratch marks around it so it didn’t appear to have been "covered". These tracks were right outside my barn next to the chicken/guinea coop. The horses would have been just a few feet away as they often choose to sleep in the barn. I have some pictures, but don't know how to post them yet. I will post them if I figure it out....

My question is, what is the largest Bobcat you have seen. Things I have read say Bobcat prints should be about twice the size of a house cat. These prints are much bigger than that. I would like to think it is a big Bobcat, but I don't want to rule out a Cougar. I think I am much more afraid of a Cougar where my family is concerned than Bobcat.

Your thoughts are very much appreciated....
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Old 09/14/04, 02:29 PM
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Slightly off topic; for all those who think dangerous animals should be live trapped and moved. I was talking to a friend in colorado the other day. She says the folks up in the hills (near the town where I used to live) are having bear problems. Cabins and campers have been broken into and lives endangered by bears that have been moved from more populated areas. One lady was home alone when a tagged bear broke into her home. She barely escaped with her life. Another family put out a desparate call for help and a bear was killed in their yard that had 3 ear tags! It was killed when it charged the wild life officer that responded to their call. A tag is put on the bear each time it is moved. I believe it is time for some policy changes.

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  #18  
Old 09/14/04, 06:28 PM
 
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cougar tracks

there really isn't much point in ''relocating'' nuisance animals- they come right back to a food source, so you either put up with it or shoot them.Cougars actually have a wide range and typically stay for a few days in an area, especially if they have made a kill, then move on.AsI said, I live on Vancouver Island, which has the highest density of cougars in NorthAmerica, and human encounters are rare, attacks even more so.To put it in perspective, I'm far more concerned about my kids being hit by a car, than killed by a cat.

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Old 09/14/04, 06:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgak47
StillwaterScout.... Call the wildlife department!
I can guarantee that they will be interested.
In the meantime, I would be pretty concerned about your animals & your family. Be careful!

The Wildlife dept's reply to me when my dog was nearly skinned alive by a cougar was "There are no cougars in Oklahoma" They were not in the least interested, even when my vet called them. That after a dog was disembowelled and killed not many miles from here...

My dog died, :waa: but not before there was almost $1500 in vet bills...
Mary
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  #20  
Old 09/14/04, 06:43 PM
 
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cyngbaeld, you are right, we are having problems with bears coming into town looking for food. Recent snowfall had them thinking it is time to get fat for hibernation. Had one bear up in a tree in someone's back yard less then a mile from me. They had to eventually tranquilize it after several days. Another town just 35 minutes away, a guy came home and found a bear inside his home, tearing up the kitchen. It charged him but he managed to escape with just his foot being bitten. They set a trap for that bear and caught him and it was destroyed. It is my understanding that if they are caught after the 2nd tag, then they are destoyed. Hadn't heard about the one having 3 tags!

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