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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of four. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On the prowl

Winter and spring seem to be my mountain lion season. This picture was taken on February 18th at 7:00PM. (The glare is reflection from water on the lens window.)

I presume it was the same cat that passed in the opposite direction 19 hours earlier, and 3 days earlier. That vague image of the cat's derriere is 11 paces away (about 50 ft).

It's probably safe to say it was working the north ravine for deer and jackrabbits. I found mountain lion scat about 100 yards up the trail. (No, it didn't eat a camera trap and pass the AA battery.)

By the way, this deer trail passes within 50 yards of my house.

I expect this cat has moved on by now, but I won't be disappointed if I get more pictures.


Anonymous said...

You certainly have a healthy lion population! Are you placing the camera where you've seen tracks before, baiting with scents, or just lucky? I look for tracks, then set up my camera, assuming they follow a territorial route and will be back (which is what I've read). But so far no cougars for me.

Camera Trap Codger said...

johanna, pumas are NOT rare in this area; there's no hunting season, plenty of remote habitat and enough deer. I am working about 4 cameras in the area, which increases the odds. Perhaps half my pics of mountain lions have been on or near trails. This is one of the few places I haven't used a caller or scent lure, but it just looked "right". It is near a "pass" over a low spur that leads to the next ravine. I believe in leaving a cam in one location for long periods. Others like to move them around. If you leave a cam in one area for 6 months or longer you are going to get a good idea of who passes by. Are you using a caller? That will bring them in until they figure it that it's just "ghost prey". This is a game in patience and persistence, so just take your time. And it may also be dumb luck, if that means being in the right place at the right time. So, I'll wish you good luck too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks codger. I'm in Southern California, and placing my camera in national forest, so I can't put it on a main trail where hikers will see it. I look for side canyons with game trails in foothill areas, or open forest in the mountains. I'm checking and moving it every one to two weeks - I'm sure that's my main problem! I don't have a caller yet. I'll look into that. I have used venison bones with meat scraps still attached, but that seems to bring in the foxes, who are more likely to come in and investigate a scent from far off (from what I've read). No critters have taken any interest in my castoreum spots yet. Thanks for the encouragement and advice! I'm very interested in taking your class this summer, and will be there if I can schedule it around my work.

Anonymous said...

Check out your picture...