Category Archives: Random Outdoors

Trail Cam of a Different Kind – Ruffed Grouse Drumming

One of my favorite sounds in spring is the thump, thump, thump as a ruffed grouse starts their drumming sequence in hopes of attracting a mate. We’re lucky that we usually hear one or two right outside of our house every year. A few years back I wanted to capture him on camera and set up my trail camera near his drumming log.

Here are the great pictures that I found when I returned:

And the Winner is…Mountain Lion

Courtesy of Mountain Lion Foundation

Courtesy of Mountain Lion Foundation

Thanks to everyone that participated in last week’s, “Can you name this track?” challenge. For those that voted mountain lion, you are correct. That’s what I instinctively thought when I saw it in the mountains of Colorado that day too and exactly why the hairs on my neck stood up. Over the years, I’ve seen the tracks of many wolves, bobcats, dogs, and other predators, but never a mountain lion until that day. I could instantly tell it was differently than any track I’ve seen and I’m sure the picture doesn’t do it justice.

Our polls were correct too with 64% of those voting choosing the mountain lion. Bobcat and wolf each had 14% and dog had 7%. This video shows how to correctly identify a mountain lion track. Stay tuned for more great polls.

Mountain lions have been popping up here in Wisconsin in recent years as well. In fact, one went through Lincoln County just last year. I remember my grandpa and uncle talking about seeing a cougar in Lincoln County when I was a kid back in the 90s. Besides thinking they were crazy, I thought it was pretty cool that they passed through our area. Their mystique made me think back to the Little House on the Prairie days when the mountain lion screamed from the Big Woods. As you can see in this informational website about mountain lions, they have been expanding their range and on the move in recent years. That means we will likely see more pass through so keep your eyes open for mountain lion tracks on your explorations.

Mountain Lion Territory

Mountain Lion Territory

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Can You Name This Track?


Deep in the mountains near Basalt, southeast of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is where this adventure began. My cousin Tom, a couple of our friends, and I were mule deer and elk hunting. Deep snow was expected so we abandoned our tent and headed to town. Indeed, the snow arrived! Enough to collapse our tent, but luckily we were in the comfort of our hotel room. The next day we explored a new hunting area. Each going our own separate way, I discovered these tracks as I walked through thick underbrush, barely able to see in any direction. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I was wired and ready for anything. Any idea what they might be?


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