Tracking With Mink Clan, Bobcats Oh My!
Today we had quite the tracking adventure across the creek to an area of the land we have never visited before. Recently with the snow, following animal prints is so easy but without the white fluffy stuff I thought showing the boys the more invisible world of sign tracking would be fun. Animals leave sign of their activity wherever they go, creating trails from walking, feeding on plants, and leaving sign behind to attract mates.
The adventure started as many of ours do, as a challenge. I let everyone know that if they wanted to come with me they needed to be extremely quite and stealthy because I was taking them to the favorite resting spot of a female bobcat that has taken up residence here. We started down a well used deer trail and I pointed out many of their signs including scat, scent marking scrapes, beds and feeding sign. I find that the boys are always more engaged when I teach them through using my body to imitate the animal we are following. So instead of just pointing out feeding sign and telling them what it is, I pretend to nibble on the plant myself. Not only does this drop them deeper into our activity but keeps them from using human language. On their own the boys adopted using bird calls and whistles to gain the groups attention when they had found something interesting. This is exactly the kind of culture we try and foster here at Feet on the Earth.
After much side adventuring we finally made it within sight of the bobcats favorite sleepy spot. With the boys behind me we crept up in our best nature ninja form to recon the bed and see if she was there. From over a dozen yards back I could tell she wasn’t there but we snuck in regardless. Deer also frequent the bed which is under a prominent juniper, shielded from the wind making finding leftover hair a fun exercise. We ended up finding not only deer hair but hair from this shadow cat of the woods our elusive bobcat friend.