Day-old Bobcat (Lynx rufus) tracks clearly imprinted in fresh wet snow. Warmer temperatures during and after snowfall are the perfect conditions for seeing well-defined tracks. Cold powdery snow often shows only vague outlines of the paw — making it difficult to positively identity as Bobcat or Coyote — and tracks disappear within hours as they fill with wind-swept snow from nearby. Here, the rounded toe pads and wide heal pad distinctly indicate it was left by a Bobcat. * Coyote tracks would show more elongated toes that come to points with claw marks and a narrower heal pad.
Following the tracks — through the woods, out along the edge of pastures, into thicket, and returning to the woods — we see a record of the animal's behavior and decisions, sometimes circling around to a patch of red where it found a meal of some small mammal, sometimes pausing to mark its scent on a tree before continuing further up the mountain.

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Photographs from the Quiet Wilderness of Pawlet, Vermont by Ryan Van Meter

Photographs & Words © 2022 — Ryan Van Meter