Bear of Timberwolf?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cabin Fever, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    It snowed about 4 to 5 inches during the day yesterday while we were at work. After work, as we drove up our 500 ft. driveway, our headlights lit up a winter wonderland of fresh snow. In the fresh snow there were all kinds of tracks: deer, squirrel, rabbit, birds, etc. But then we noticed some huge tracks up near the house. Our first thought was that someone was tresspassing. On closer inspection we could tell it was an animal....large animal. Each track was about 36 to 40 inches from the next one. The tracks were the type where the hind foot would step into the track left by the front foot. Each print was about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Since the snow was coming down we could not see any definition of the prints, like claws, pads, etc.

    So what do you think it was? We did have a big black bear (~400 lbs) pay us a visit this past spring. But, there has also been sightings of timberwolves in the area for the past several years. Sure wish I could have seen it. It seemed like it was making a beeline to a new suet feeder I hung last week that had about 10 pounds of suet in it....but it turned around about 25 feet from the feeder. I wonder if we scared whatever it was when we drove up the driveway?
     
  2. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

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    My first thought was, I wonder what a bear would be doing out and about this time of year. I'm no expert (I work in fisheries, not wildlife) but I know wolves have huge paws. But then again, why would there be just one wolf? Mountain lion, maybe? Oh, that's right, my official agency line is "mountain lions do not live here. Any one seen in the wild probably escaped from a game farm". Yeah right. :rolleyes:
     

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I'm in N.W. Ontario, and black bears would most likely be in their hibernation by now. If you're further south in Minnesota, it's possible. Those are farily large tracks which you characterize. I saw gray wolf tracks (also called 'timber' wolf in these parts) this morning on the beaver pond which measured about
    6" x 3 1/2" and look like a big dog paw print. They are separated about no more than 2 ft. apart and individual without any 'drag' marks in the 2" snow cover.
    Maybe you are seeing the tracks of a cougar possibly?? Not impossible, but unlikely. If you can get a clear photo to show, that would be helpful.

    Wolf Tracks

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Here in western Wa our bears are hibernating right now. I can't imagine the bears in Minnesota are still out and about.

    A cougar track won't have the claw mark at the tip of the toe that you see in bear, coyote, or the wolf tracks Moonwolf posted. They walk with their claws retracted.
     
  5. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    If it was stepping in it's previous steps, I wouldn't think it was a bear. Wolf sounds the most likely. I would think also that if it were feline he would see the difference between that and another animal. They are usually pretty distinctive.
     
  6. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) having seen lots of k-9 tracks, cougar tracks and lots of bear tracks too, there is just no comparison! I don't think you can confuse them if the snow is fresh. That's the only time I can tell who is who..or in the mud.

    Here cougar tracks average about 4" in length and about 4 1/2 " wide. However this time of year they have their winter coats and this makes the prints look bigger than the feet really are and it "blurs" them. The tracks are also wider than they are long. And, as mentioned, no claws show. Sometimes in a good snowfall there is a dragline from the tail. Whether the hind foot double registers on the fore depends on how fast the cat is walking.

    Wolf tracks look to me like big dog tracks but then I am no expert. About 4 1/2 " long by 3 1/2" wide for adults.

    Here a good sized black bear track is 6" long(or longer) by 4 1/2 or 5" wide. They show distinct claw marks some distance(or it seems so to me)from the pad itself.

    I envy you..I don't get to see plain tracks very often, usually it's scat.... and I take lots of pictures of critter poop! LOL

    I would also add that bears are not true hibernators but actually "estivate " which means they do come out of their dens on occasion during the winter. It is usually a warming trend that will bring them out though.

    You might want to look up one of the sites on tracks and see what you think. What fun!

    LQ :p
     
  7. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    So far we've had an awfully mild winter. Yesterday was the first real snow we've had. That's why I didn't rule out bear, thinkin' that some bruins may still be out and about. Due to the snow conditions, we could not recognize any claw or pad marks. I will say this, they looked very similar to the ones Moonwolf posted of the wolf tracks going across the frozen lake....except these tracks were almost completely round in shape. I have never heard of any catamount sightings around here, so I'm ruling that feline out as a possiblity.
     
  8. Timber

    Timber Well-Known Member

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    Don't know how close are you, but are they still feeding them (bears) in Orr? Seems that there were quite a few.
    Maybe a moose.

    Timber
     
  9. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a bear! Thats how they walk,rear ft into the front ft track.Also from the size it would have to be a bear. :eek: No matter what it was, if it left a track that big i wouldn't want to run into him face to face.Coarse i dont think it would see me as a suitable food source anyway,given the smell id be putting off by then. :D
     
  10. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    If it dosen't have claw marks it could be a lynx, there are a healthy number in my area, and they have huge paw prints.
     
  11. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    That is a possibility, even though they seem to prefer being more reclusive, but aren't lynx tracks also closer togther?

    LYNX TRACKS:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    Another opinion
    (from a resident of Crow Wing County)---


    "Likely a bear.
    A fisher makes big loping strides when hopping through snow. If
    all four legs came down in the same spot it could also replicate what
    he's describing."
     
  13. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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  14. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Well i missed his other post.If the tracks where round it wasnt a bear.
    Or atleast i dont think so.There rear ft is much like ours.

    Could have been anything i guess.But now im wondering what does a moose track look like. :haha: