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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the finds (unfortunately no recent deer sign) on a scout into hardwood stand Friday evening has me stumped.

Been searching animal track publications for the last two days and my best guess on this is an oversized Bobcat or a small / young Canadian Lynx with only three toes.


Snow Plant Freezing Twig Slope



The snow base was about two feet, with lots of varying surface (blown drifts, stiff crust, four to six inches powder, ...) when I ran across these tracks and found a section of very clear tracks on some crusty snow. I looked long and hard, thinking some toes on furry paws just blended together making two look like one. But no, the 'middle toe' was just too distinct. Could there be vestigial dewclaws? IDK.

They measured about 2 3/8" wide, no claw marks, and appeared feline to me. Staggered sets and size made me think more toward a small Canadian Lynx. I need to get more camera traps out.

Now that I 'pulled my pants down' with a long post to show how little I know, I await someone's short simple definitive explanation (even better if from a wildlife biologist).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No idea. Are you by a nuclear powerhouse?
The thought definitely crossed my mind ('possibly a mutation, natural or disease caused').

It is often a few degrees warmer here than the surrounding area. I've tested periodically for radon gas, results were always low levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Go back and look for bigfoot tracks in the area .
Unfortunately, this time of year the biggest I see are most often coyote tracks. Less often see squatch tracks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Those are tracks leprechaun snowshoes make. Very rare. Follow the tracks and take his pot of gold before Bernie does lol.
Never saw anything around here yet resembling Lou Holtz. Vile creatures though, there should be a bounty like for coyotes to eradicate them useless bastages.

I'm really surprised now, and really expected one immediate reply with a simple explanation for my further embarrassment.

I should have known you guys would just toy with me. :(:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Big cat tracks for sure, what part of the state, if you don’t mind me asking?
Not at all. Northern Lebanon (middle-east UP). :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Did the tracks just melt a little with the sun shine? The two outer toes look round and the one in the middle looks a little triangle shaped.
That is a possibility, though I looked and looked at both the 'two' outer toes, and the 'middle' one, trying to see how four or five toes appeared like three, and just kept coming back to 'no way, that is three toes'. I also noticed the one that appeared somewhat triangular, but most others were very round and I repeatedly thought, 'maybe heavy fur'.

My best guess is they were within approximately 24-hours fresh, and conditions, including the immediate surrounding, had no sign of melt. In fact, I'd estimate some sublimation rather than melt, but very little, if any, of that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I hadn't seen that particular website, but it also describes "front and hind track shows four toes" just like all other references*. Of course Cougar are also much larger than the subject.*

That pic looks like the shot angle may have missed the fourth toe (on the left, obscured by the snow?), or maybe it lost a toe.

*edits
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Until I learn better, am going with, "teenage mutant ninja lynx".
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hard to tell, but is it possible that the cat's (whichever it is) just has ice or snow packed toes and were pushed-up out of normal shape!?!
IDK, but sort of doubt it as it was fairly dry and well enough below freezing that urged me to go out in the first place. I really enjoyed the trek as most steps only sunk in about three or four inches, free of wet / sticky snow, and it was almost as easy as walking without snowshoes.
 
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
The pad of the prints, with relatively indistinct number of lobes, had me flip flopping between canine and feline. But finally, the overall squareness/width and lack of any claw marks (as opposed to rectangular/long, and with claw marks) pointed to feline.

Now I suppose it could've been a neighbor's declawed three-toed dog.
:spin-nana: :dizzy:
 
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Organism Finger Art Gesture Painting



White Cartoon Rabbit Organism Gesture



Cartoon Facial expression Human Yellow Sharing



Dog White Organism Gesture Cartoon
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Do you find it odd it is on top of the snow for a very short distance?

For the size of the track you would think it would compress deeper in the snow
I wouldn't, not after what I described. There were areas where I was almost supported even without snowshoes, others where I sunk down about a foot with; nearly ten feet of snowfall since late October, with layer upon layer of ice, snow, and rain, along with what the winds do.
 
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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I’m struggling to label these and imagine something walking that way.

Front right, front left, back.....uh
Well that’s an odd step...and kind of a stretch without making a deeper impression.

Maybe I’m not thinking right



Sent from my iPhone using Michigan Sportsman
Read this, it's fascinating:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_lynx

For your question particularly, see the section on physical characteristics.
 
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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
Saw three-toe tracks again yesterday. Looked like it was chasing snowshoe hare. There's a crazy number of hares around this year, could it be the ten-year peak(?) That would help make case / sense of Canada Lynx presence if so.

Also had three "special" visitors trot through back meadow headed south last night. :(:(:(

The first below shows three spread out then following in-line in softer snow, and more clearly, tracks going from more hard-icy snow surface to less-supportive deep snow (someone mentioned difficulty imagining this)...

Snow Slope Sky Ice cap Tree

Snow Freezing Cumulus Meteorological phenomenon Electric blue

... measured
5" long by 4 and 1/4" wide = Gray Wolves. :cheeky-sm

At least maybe we won't see as many coyote tracks around here for a while. All-ways look on the bright side of life. :whistle:
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
I count 4 toes but I haven't had a 4 cups of coffee yet.
Sorry, yes that's why I wrote "Also", but I should have specified "other animals" "with four toes" to be more clear.

I only posted it as an interesting example, and to contrast / compare with the original subject. Neighbors, some miles away from me, told me last summer that they had seen a Gray Wolf; felt a funny feeling while walking the woods, then saw something in their peripheral vision, looked and saw a wolf standing still and looking straight at them. They felt they were being stalked. Another report last summer, was of a Cougar in the area (which were reported in several widespread locations across the UP.) Tons of deer around some of these areas, big bears, ...
 
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