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Coyote or Dog tracks?

coyote studies

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Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby mancimotors » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:11 pm

I found some huge tracks today. I cant believe that there would be a coyote this big. Maybe a big domestic dog? It would be odd for a dog to be where I was.........
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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby DustyC » Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:08 am

Looks like a cat track to me.
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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby Coyotehunter » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:24 am

that last pic looks like a lion track...............were are you located at?
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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby mancimotors » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:19 pm

Upstate NY, We have Bobcat but I don't think there are any Mt. Lions in NYS.


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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby rorycoyote » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:51 pm

i would call it a domestic dog without seeing the walking pattern. canines and cats have different patterns in how they walk. also i know it is in mud but i know the coyotes in wy normally have the toes closer together. the mud will make the toes look more spread out but to me i would call it a domestic dog.


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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby DustyC » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:36 am

Check out the heel pad. though. Also I don't see any claw marks in the snow.
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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby Prairie Ghost » Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:53 am

Definetly not coyote. I would say Lion or Domestic dog not seeing anything more than i can.....leaning toward lion with that heel pad.
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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby rorycoyote » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:00 pm

i did check out the heel pad. it looks like a domestic dog to me.


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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby bucksnbears » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:14 pm

rorycoyote wrote:i did check out the heel pad. it looks like a domestic dog to me.

:shock: :shock: :?:
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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby Tim Anderson » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:01 pm

I'd say its a dog track...The bulge in the center of the track between the toes and the heel pad is a canine characteristic. The first pic is a good example and keep in mind depending on ground conditions you won't always see claw marks.


[quotCheck out the heel pad.e][/quote]

Also looks to be dog, but to be sure I looked up some cat tracks in my field tracks book to compare to the dog..
A dog's heel pad has a single lobe like in pic.s a cat's heel pad has double lobes.


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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby Scrappy » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:39 am

I know this is several months late, but new to forum, new coyote hunter (first post, mostly big game guy, but just got hooked on preds) but I am an experienced, and professionally trained tracker. To start, if you connect with a line the outer edges of all the digital pads and metacarpal pads the shape is roughly elliptical or egg shaped, pointing to canine family while the cat family is round. Also, looking at the negative space it appears to be an X (dogs) versus a C (cats). The digital pads and metacarpal pad also are more reminiscent of the canine family than felines-- the digits are strongly elliptical & the metacarpal registered only two lobes on the rear; cats (lion, bobcat, lynx, etc) tend to have round digits and three lobes reliably register on the rear of the metacarpal with the top of the metacarpal being dual lobed or more flat (these have a single lobe and is pointed). Also you can see the nails, cats only unsheathe their claws when slipping to gain footing and this animal was not slipping (discussed further down) and their claws are supremely sharp compared with dogs. Judging from these pics, the animal was not engaged in a direct register walking gait either (back foot falls within the track of the front foot) which is the standard travel gate for the cat family. So it’s a canine track. Further isolating it, you can determine if it is a fox, wolf, dog or coyote through the foot morphology and characteristics of the track. Foxes’ metacarpals are vastly different, and the size is drastically smaller. Coyotes' tend to have sharper claws, which this track has blunt claws. The claws on digits 2 & 5 (outer toes) tend to rest near (sometimes nearly on top of) digits 3 & 4 (for coyotes), which this one does not... this can either be a result of the foot splaying due to the substrate or the animal maintaining balance during a slip… but the splaying is consistent across the substrates, and when you look at the pressure releases, there is no slippage and the substrates are not that deep, so a splaying this great does not jive with a coyote. The tracks of coyotes also tend to be more aerodynamic in foot shape than domestic dogs which splay more. The floor of the metacarpal pads on a coyote tend to register higher (and hence lighter) than the floor of the digits, versus a dog which will register same depth or deeper than the digits. On these tracks I note the metacarpal being as deep or deeper than the digits. We can reasonably deduce that this is a domestic dog track, not a coyote and definitely not a cat.


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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby Coyotehunter » Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:17 pm

nice first post
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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby Tbush » Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:12 pm

great info looks like we found our track guy/gal :D :D
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Re: Coyote or Dog tracks?

Postby lyonch » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:09 am

WOW!! First post and i learned a ton from that :D Thanks for the very detailed descriptions!! If you don't mind me asking, what do you do, or what did you do, that had you become a professionaly trained tracker? It sounds like a bad ass title when a father gets to tell his daughters boyfriend for the first time :lol: :lol:
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