Detroit Sports and More

Detroit Area Sports and the Great Outdoors

Identifying Cougar Tracks in Michigan

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 31, 2011

The stories have been around for longer than I’ve been around about Michigan’s cougar population. It seems like a myth until you find some concrete evidence. Tracks in the mud and snow are the most common sign that people find. Unfortunately, they are also the least reliable forms of identification. Well outside of sounds they are the least reliable.

The DNR posted a link to this chart on their Facebook page showing the differences between dogs, bobcats, coyotes, and cougars.

The chart is very useful if you think you’ve found something. Look at the differences, they should be obvious if you have a good track sample.That way, if you think you may have something, try setting up a trail cam if the tracks are common to an area or trail.

I used to question the existence myself until I saw trail cam photos of a cougar. The only reason the camera caught it was because it was slowed by the deer it was dragging off to hide and eat. It was incredible to see real photo evidence. Other reports of deer being spotted in the branches of a tree also make you think twice. Usually the rope gives it away but when they are that high up and the only evidence is claw marks and a bloody neck, my money is on it being a cougar.

The other dead give away is when it’s a young buck that is being picked up. Definite sign of a cougar.

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