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Author Topic: Cougar... buggers....  (Read 1011 times)

Offline lokidog

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Cougar... buggers....
« on: January 11, 2022, 10:00:16 PM »
I've not put in a serious effort until a few days ago. D'oh, blew it and didn't even think about getting out in the fresh snow. I was, however, trying to find some ducks for my doggies.

When I did get out, I actually found some tracks (1.3 miles behind a gate) that were probably 2-3 days old, two sets, same size as far as I could tell, following each other along a river bottom. I squealed like a stuck deer for a while with no luck.

Several questions:

Is it likely a pair of males or maybe just siblings?
How far do wandering cougar travel in a day?
Is it too early to try estrus squawling?
If using estrus calls, how long do you give it before moving on?

I hiked in about a mile and a half on another road to another cut 1.5 miles west of the previous spot today. I only had about a half hour to call so did some estrus calls. I'm pretty sure I found another track in the snow nearby. But, nothing came in in the rain.

TIA


Offline lokidog

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Re: Cougar... buggers....
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2022, 11:28:27 AM »
Wow, nobody knows anything about Cougars?   :dunno:

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Re: Cougar... buggers....
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2022, 11:32:05 AM »
"Just because I like granola, and I have stretched my arms around a few trees, doesn't mean I'm a tree hugger!
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Re: Cougar... buggers....
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2022, 11:34:42 AM »
Is it likely a pair of males or maybe just siblings?  How long of stride? Could be a female and yearling too?
How far do wandering cougar travel in a day? No set amount, could be 100 yards from a kill or 20 miles looking for the next kill.
Is it too early to try estrus squawling?  Females can come in heat any time of the year just like housecats.
If using estrus calls, how long do you give it before moving on?  Ask Rainshadow or bearmanric.
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Offline lokidog

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Re: Cougar... buggers....
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2022, 12:09:34 PM »
Thanks Boss and Bearpaw.

The strides were identical, almost on top of each other.

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Re: Cougar... buggers....
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2022, 04:08:58 PM »
I think Bearpaw pretty well has the theory.


Is it likely a pair of males or maybe just siblings? - It's very weird to have a pair of cats traveling together without a disparity of some kind in track size. If the track size was medium adult, it could have been a mamma with an adult cub. Litter mates will travel together for awhile, but not too long. Males, related or not, surely won't tolerate each other for very long. They're not good company for each other! Only a very specific few scenarios where they're "together." (It's possible one followed another, one doubled around and walked it's own tracks, etc. Many possibilities...)


How far do wandering cougar travel in a day? -  I followed on for 7 miles once, straight up and straight down too - no flat ground in sight, and I quit before the track quit. That was a straight line, and that was one night. Tagged cougar from the Dakotas got hit by a train in Oklahoma (see my call-in story page.) They can boogie! If they feel like it!

Is it too early to try estrus squawling? - Heat sounds are sooooooooo specific, I hate using them. They're pretty well only good for dominant males in their own territory. Otherwise, they're so aggressive and female-territorial that few other cats will readily respond to them. (Hear my tutorials... Use the whistle!)

If using estrus calls, how long do you give it before moving on? - No matter the sound, you've tried to identify yourself as a cat. 90 minutes average. I killed a cat at 2-3 minutes... and 6 hours isn't a stupid stand length, they're fickle. I've actually seen video where a lion lay down and went to sleep... SOUND asleep!... while approaching an active calling stand! Cats are so weird....
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Re: Cougar... buggers....
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2022, 06:37:56 PM »
Very good info, especially Rainshadow’s.   

I’d add one aid to identifying age/sex of the lions you followed:  Pattern. 

Did the pattern of tracks give a hint as to whether it was a male/female pair or a mother/adult cub?  I followed a similar set of three lion tracks of the same size in a couple of inches of fresh snow.  After following the clear tracks for 3-400 yards (OK, I’m a slow learner/noticer) I noticed that one of the tracks consistently traveled a pretty straight course up a low ridge.  The other two tracks wandered and braided back and forth, going off line to sniff a stump, check out a bush, etc.  Bingo.

 It was a smallish mother and two big youngsters still curious and full of energy, big teenagers checking out everything while mama was taking them somewhere by the straightest and easiest route.  There are many patterns but it usually takes a line of tracks to see pattern, much more than one or a few footprints.

The tracks of most male/female pairs are at least slightly different in size but I recall one pair that appeared to be the same size, and all the evidence from a half day of working their tracks convinced me that they were a mating pair.  On that one, a third much smaller cougar shadowed them, seldom closer than 50 yards off their tracks but following them.  I would guess the third track was a young adult  kicked out by his mother and still hoping she would let him travel with her, yet afraid of the male traveling with her. 

Sure fascinating to follow tracks in the snow. 


Offline idaho guy

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Re: Cougar... buggers....
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2022, 08:37:00 PM »
Lot of good information so far. I will just add the Only way I have reliably determined sex of the cat leaving the tracks is stride length. Over 40” inches will be and adult Tom. Less than that is typically a female or sub adult male. My son and I cut a nice Tom traveling with a female a few different times over a week last winter in Idaho. We tried to start the dogs on the Tom track but ended up treeing the female every time. :chuckle: There tracks at times were literally on top of each other.  Another time we let go on a male and female traveling together one dog treed the male and the other treed the female in a different tree a long ways off. They were both younger cats and I think just siblings traveling together. They both had shorter strides than 40”. The big Tom that we kept treeing his girlfriend was over 40”. Stride length is only way I have been able to tell short of catching the cat in a tree.

 


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