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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mountain lion, dogs, elk, and coyotes

I still want to tell you a bit more about our desert trip because we made two more fascinating and beautiful stops that I haven't written about yet. However, K and I had an exciting bike ride today so I'll save the desert story for tomorrow.

As K and I started our ride, I could tell that an uncommon animal had been on our path. She was on high alert, darting from side-to-side and constantly scanning our surroundings. She relaxed briefly atop Hug Hill under rare blue skies.
Then, as we skirted an area where I have a wildlife camera, her nose hit the ground and she looked like a hound on the trail of a fox. I called her back and decided that, although I tend to try to keep the dogs away from my wildlife cameras to avoid permeating the areas with their scent, I was going to break my rule and check the wildlife camera that we were close to.

As I excitedly peered at my viewfinder, I discovered that the majestic mountain lion had returned to his scent post last night to leave a huge pair of furrows in the ground where he'd marked his territory by scraping backward with each hind paw.
I believe that this is the same lion as visited on 4/3 and 4/19/11. I made a "flipbook video" of his visit. It shows that he has a very full belly. He appeared to be walking past the scent post when the scents of other animals caught his nose. Then, he changed direction to leave his own territorial statement. You can view my flipbook video below or at my youtube channel.
Since his last visit to this scent post, a number of other animals have visited the scent post. First, a couple of dogs wandered through and peed on the previous scrape left by this lion.
The next one is not R - it's a different black dog.
Then, a few days later, a large faction of our elk herd paraded through. I counted about 50 rumps that passed the camera over the course of several minutes. Some of these prey animals were very interested in the scents left by their predators.
More recently, a trio from the local coyote pack came through. The first animal focused on my camera.
Then, they got down to the business of marking the spot as their own. Just like the last time that the coyotes visited this spot, each individual peed on the mountain lion scrape.
I have to say that when I compare the bulky, well-fed, and muscular mountain lion to those coyotes, I think that the feline rules this scent post!
I can feel the power of the mountain lion in that special spot in the forest. His spirit infuses the forest with mystery and energy.

He also adds an element of fear. The presence of lions is one of the main reasons why I am so vigilant about keeping the dogs nearby and under control!


  1. absolutely amazing to see what happens at the base of that tree! I saw two coyotes when I was out and about yesterday.

  2. Hi Y'all,

    What a busy scent post! Had to smile when you said black dog wasn't R...definitely female according to her marking technique.

    When do y'all get leaves on your trees?

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  3. Fantastic! I also think that magnificent lion rules the scene. Another great post.

  4. I enjoy all of your amazing pictures, but the ones that are the most captivating are the ones of the mountain lion--I just find it so intriguing and mysterious and you are right, his energy and spirit is everywhere, even in your posts!

  5. That is a big, powerful cat! You have Grand Central Scent Post there in your forest. Be careful KB.

  6. That lion is very beautiful, but to me, I would be fearful on that path. Wimp that I am, I do love the elk, but man, they are looking beat up these days. They need friends with brushes or something like that! Will they be in good shape by the time they come down from higher land?


  7. It's definitely never a dull day in your neck of the woods! It's fascinating to think that so many animals all come by the same spot to leave their mark on the world! I have to agree, though, the big kitty definitely rules that roost!

  8. love your posts. Your insight and knowledge really adds to the impact of them.

    Is this site anywhere near the camera with the bears.


  9. That photo of the mountain lion is wonderful.

  10. The mountain lion is SO BEAUTIFUL, but also gives me the chills!

    That area sure gets a lot of action from all the various animals and their scents!

    Your pal, Pip

  11. I always love your wild life shots!

  12. I just think your pictures are so great!!! I never know what I'm going to see with the wildlife cameras!! Beautiful!! Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

  13. This scent marking phenomenon is quite remarkable...I catch Sophie marking areas on our walks and I always wonder what animal had been there previously...another dog/coyote/porcupine/other. This is all so very intriguing!

  14. The mountail lion has such a pooochy tummy... your right, I think she just ate.
    She is beautiful and the coyotes too.
    K and R have good sniffers for sure.

  15. That is one large cat, and definitely an active spot for "mail" in the forest. How interesting that your camera captured a few domesticated visitors too.

  16. We are very late in our visits this week. Great catches with all the visitors. Seems like there is more pee mail under that tree than some of the ones the pups here check on their walks:)

  17. I stumbled upon your blog and have become completely engrossed in reading about your adventures with your beautiful dogs! I'm equally fascinated by all of the animals that have passed by your wildlife cameras- beautiful but definitely a reminder that we share Colorado with truly wild animals! I've been taking your thoughts on training to heart in light of that and working more consistently with my dogs on recalls. Thanks for sharing your outdoor experiences with all of us!


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