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Author Topic: Nature in my Neighborhood  (Read 2251 times)
Matrinka
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« Topic Start: January 21, 2010, 11:40:23 pm »



I live in the woods of Northern Missouri, and tonight I got a call from my daughter to come see a print in the snow.  I grabbed my camera and headed up.

They thought that the print was a big cat.  I knew immediately that it wasn't feline.  Claws in the prints indicated canis.  But which canid would it be?

The dog who lives at the house had left a print really close by, and I could see that they weren't the same feet making these prints.  And, way too big to be a coyote.  Now, the resident dog is territorial towards other animals.  Not one of the neighborhood dogs, and her only friend, Boots, hasn't been out and about for weeks.  He's old and considers cold weather to be an affront to his aging bones.  He would've been the only dog on the lake capable of producing these prints.

The print is 5.25" long.  Splayed as it is, I can estimate the non-splay length to be about 4.5" long, maybe a hair longer.  I looked it up.

There's one possibility.  Only one canid makes a print this size.

Canis lupis.  The local gray wolf.

The prints are fresh- they weren't there at 5:30pm today and were at 8pm, so they're not melt out dog prints.  Plus, there are half a dozen other prints, all in the same size range, and the resident dog apparently has been behaving oddly.

So, once again, we have a wolf in our neighborhood. This is not a first, but it has been a couple of years since we've had one in the area.  Pretty cool, but still, we'll make sure to protect our animals from this.

« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 12:03:32 am by Matrinka, Reason: edit to correct image, which was misbehaving, badly. » Logged

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« Reply #1: January 22, 2010, 10:12:48 pm »



I live in the woods of Northern Missouri, and tonight I got a call from my daughter to come see a print in the snow.  I grabbed my camera and headed up.

They thought that the print was a big cat.  I knew immediately that it wasn't feline.  Claws in the prints indicated canis.  But which canid would it be?

The dog who lives at the house had left a print really close by, and I could see that they weren't the same feet making these prints.  And, way too big to be a coyote.  Now, the resident dog is territorial towards other animals.  Not one of the neighborhood dogs, and her only friend, Boots, hasn't been out and about for weeks.  He's old and considers cold weather to be an affront to his aging bones.  He would've been the only dog on the lake capable of producing these prints.

The print is 5.25" long.  Splayed as it is, I can estimate the non-splay length to be about 4.5" long, maybe a hair longer.  I looked it up.

There's one possibility.  Only one canid makes a print this size.

Canis lupis.  The local gray wolf.

The prints are fresh- they weren't there at 5:30pm today and were at 8pm, so they're not melt out dog prints.  Plus, there are half a dozen other prints, all in the same size range, and the resident dog apparently has been behaving oddly.

So, once again, we have a wolf in our neighborhood. This is not a first, but it has been a couple of years since we've had one in the area.  Pretty cool, but still, we'll make sure to protect our animals from this.



That is SO cool.

Around here we have the wolf-bred coyotes; scientists have been studying the rDNA and discovered that the eastern coyotes came from the west, and many got here by migrating north of the Great Lakes. Along the way, they mated with the Canadian wolves.  So by the time they got here, central and western NYS, they were twice the size of California desert coyotes.  We have fifty pound coyotes that pack up and hunt deer. 

We have plenty of deer.

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Matrinka
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« Reply #2: January 22, 2010, 10:27:24 pm »

That is SO cool.

Around here we have the wolf-bred coyotes; scientists have been studying the rDNA and discovered that the eastern coyotes came from the west, and many got here by migrating north of the Great Lakes. Along the way, they mated with the Canadian wolves.  So by the time they got here, central and western NYS, they were twice the size of California desert coyotes.  We have fifty pound coyotes that pack up and hunt deer. 

We have plenty of deer.


We found a LOT more prints, down at my MIL's house.  Tim has a life-size left hind print tattooed on his back, and found himself comparing paws with the prints of this wolf today.  We're looking at what I'd guess to be a 75lb or better adult, plus...  pups.

There's a whole story played out on the snow down there.  The wolf chased a raccoon around the yard, then caught and fought it.  And there were pup prints near the scene, so I'm betting they're learning how to hunt right now.

They won't stick around for much longer.  As soon as the weather breaks and people return, they'll move on, back out to the wilder wilderness. 
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« Reply #3: January 23, 2010, 08:05:44 am »

So, once again, we have a wolf in our neighborhood. This is not a first, but it has been a couple of years since we've had one in the area.  Pretty cool, but still, we'll make sure to protect our animals from this.

It sure looks like you do. Those look just like the tracks of wolves we would see in when we camped at one of our Scout troop's regular camping sites (except they in in mud). We could hear them in the night too, but I don't think we ever saw them.
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Matrinka
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« Reply #4: January 23, 2010, 10:52:34 am »

It sure looks like you do. Those look just like the tracks of wolves we would see in when we camped at one of our Scout troop's regular camping sites (except they in in mud). We could hear them in the night too, but I don't think we ever saw them.

I wish I had the power cord to my camera right now, so I could set up a camera trap down there.  I'd love to get just one shot of them, even a not-great shot, to verify that my print ID is right.  I'm damned sure, but I'd like to be positively sure, you know?  It's been a few years now since learning to track animals...  a few meaning 25+ and the last time I really used this information was 20 years ago.
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« Reply #5: January 23, 2010, 02:29:46 pm »

So, once again, we have a wolf in our neighborhood.

Cool!  I want one! Cheesy

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« Reply #6: January 23, 2010, 02:30:57 pm »

Cool!  I want one! Cheesy



You are more than welcome to come collect this one up and take it with you.  Cheesy  I wouldn't mind not worrying about the local pets.
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« Reply #7: January 23, 2010, 02:45:35 pm »

You are more than welcome to come collect this one up and take it with you.  Cheesy  I wouldn't mind not worrying about the local pets.

Do you have a relocation program?  Or is it more a matter of waiting for them to relocate themselves when the weather and food supply improves?

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« Reply #8: January 23, 2010, 02:54:27 pm »


Wow! What a great find, even without an actual sighting. I envy you.
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« Reply #9: January 23, 2010, 03:26:59 pm »

Do you have a relocation program?  Or is it more a matter of waiting for them to relocate themselves when the weather and food supply improves?

Absent

Unless they're harassing humans, you just have to wait it out.  The state won't bother with them, as they're hard to catch and relocating is a challenge.  They can't just be dropped off anywhere, since there's other packs to consider.  So, we just wait them out and hope they don't bother anyone.

And, most often they don't.  Usually they prey on the raccoons and other prey animals that nobody misses, hang around for a bit until it is warmer and then they move back into the deeper woods, holing up in one of the many abandoned properties here on the lake.  Really, the biggest risk is if you have an unaltered female dog who comes into season and there's a mature male.  The males will jump a 6' fence to get to your bitch and breed her, and be gone before you know it happened, then you'll wind up with yet another wolf-hybrid litter.  Over half the dogs on our lake that aren't purebred whatevers are wolf-hybrid within three generations, including ours. 
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« Reply #10: January 23, 2010, 05:25:21 pm »

Unless they're harassing humans, you just have to wait it out.  The state won't bother with them, as they're hard to catch and relocating is a challenge.  They can't just be dropped off anywhere, since there's other packs to consider.  So, we just wait them out and hope they don't bother anyone.

And, most often they don't.  Usually they prey on the raccoons and other prey animals that nobody misses, hang around for a bit until it is warmer and then they move back into the deeper woods, holing up in one of the many abandoned properties here on the lake.  Really, the biggest risk is if you have an unaltered female dog who comes into season and there's a mature male.  The males will jump a 6' fence to get to your bitch and breed her, and be gone before you know it happened, then you'll wind up with yet another wolf-hybrid litter.  Over half the dogs on our lake that aren't purebred whatevers are wolf-hybrid within three generations, including ours. 

One of the nicer things for the Americas is American wolves have never learned to hunt himans the way european wolves did.  A too vivid memory of My Antonia has made campouts in Central Illinois no less, a bit of a trial for me, walnut state park has coyotes.
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« Reply #11: February 09, 2010, 11:49:53 pm »


I saw a few tracks like that in the mud out at Pilot Knob a couple years ago.
Didn't have a tape handy, but they were very similar in size to the horse tracks nearby
I figured it was either a wolf or the biggest dog I had ever seen
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