Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Mountain Lion on Patrol

Earlier this week, we woke up to a layer of snow.
As I pedaled around our trails with Shyla, I noticed mountain lion tracks. They weren't perfectly clear because it had snowed a little after the lion walked through. Based on where we saw the tracks, I thought that the lion had probably followed the classic "mountain lion route" through and around our trail system.

I dropped Shyla off at home, and I rode to different spots on that "route" where I've seen lion tracks so many times over the years. He did indeed follow the expected route, with only small variations.

His tracks came through the pine trees in the photo below. He dragged his paws slightly, leaving marks in the snow, even though the snow was not deep. I wonder if he's an older and stiff lion.
I have trail cameras posted along this "classic mountain lion route", and I caught his image at two spots.

He walked past the first camera, with snow hurtling out of the sky.
Then, he paused.
He sniffed the area where a juvenile mountain lion has previously rolled around and rubbed his back on the ground.
This lion was far too serious and mature for such antics. He walked away after a quick sniff.

Then, about a half mile away, he walked under a huge Ponderosa Pine tree where I found mountain lion scat and a "scrape" about five years ago. Ever since then, I've monitored this tree in the winters (this is a "winter route", not used much in the summer). I see about two mountain lions per year pass this spot.
This guy walked past, and then stopped almost exactly where I found the scat so many years ago.
He noticed the camera's soft red glow.
And then, he decided to scrape under the tree. A "scrape" involves kicking backward with each hind paw, and leaving a drop or two of urine over the scrape. Males do this most often. As I followed this lion's tracks, I saw that he'd been scraping like a maniac. He left scrapes all over our forest.
It's been a winter of lots of mountain lion activity in our neck of the woods. Just today, Shyla showed me the remains of a young bull elk that had been killed by a mountain lion. It had been killed out in the open, on the edge of a meadow. Then, the lion had dragged it 25 yards into a spot with more tree cover. I could see the drag marks in the snow. Based on the state of the carcass, it's possible that the lion in the above photos was the one who ate that elk.

Shortly later in the day, I learned that there is yet another elk that was killed by a mountain lion nearby. My friend's dogs found the very fresh kill.

I have a trail cam at one of the kills, and it will be interesting to see who comes to feed on it.

Last but not least, I wanted to share a video from the "New Year's Eve Mountain Lion" who I showed you one photo of in an earlier post. I suspect that this is a young lion, based on his antics. He rolled around in the snow in a spot where another young mountain lion rubbed his head extensively back in July. You can watch the video here or at Youtube.


  1. Great images and footage! Such beautiful and awe-inspiring animals. Thanks for doing all the editing and posting - this must take a lot of time!

  2. amazing to watch them act like a giant housecat. :) be safe! i know you are very aware of them.

  3. So cool. I love the mountain lion photos.

  4. Amazing! I can only imagine standing to retrieve the card from the camera, knowing that it was this very spot where the lion was. And not so long before. Thanks for sharing these wonderful shots.

  5. Thanks for sharing your wildlife. I always enjoy seeing it.


  6. I think, considering I am not even brave enough to stay in the 4WD on a rough track. that I would give any lion's trail a super wide berth. Wonderful trail cam photos, you do know the right spots for them. Cheers from Jean

  7. I noticed that it doesn't seem like the lion is dragging his feet near the trail cameras. I don't have a clue what that means but just something I noticed. I love seeing the trail cam pics. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  8. Love to see these images. Is that the same spring that the bears were playing in?

  9. Its nice to see a young-ish cat
    with no identifiers on throat or ears, just enjoying rolling around. Hope he stays this lucky!



  10. Hey Goose, I was wondering the same thing. Gosh KB how many cameras do you have out and how long does it take you to check on them all and THANK YOU for doing it so we cal all see. The lions are so beauitful, but make us a little nervouse.

  11. Goose,

    Good eye! Yes, I forgot to say that that is the spring that the bears and cubs played in last summer! All summer long, no lions drank from the spring. Then one drank from it in mid-winter. Very odd...


  12. You're right, Taffy. I didn't notice that... And I have no explanation. I do know that, everywhere I saw his tracks in the forest away from my cameras, he was leaving drag marks with his paws.

  13. my, such big paws they have. this was so wonderful to see, thank you for sharing.

  14. Must be fun to see 'your' lions coming back time after time. As well, as some new ones.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  15. So interesting. That lion obviously wants to tell every buddy he is around by all those scrapes/Ing

  16. You are just like a living National Geographic! That lion looked well fed!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy and Stanley

  17. Wow, awsome Pictures!! Very interesting and I love to follow them.
    Good work you do!

  18. Wow, awsome Pictures!! Very interesting and I love to follow them.
    Good work you do!

  19. The mountain lion actually looks sweet and playful rolling around on the ground.

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  20. Wow!
    We missed this post- so glad we took time to come back and look....
    so very amazing-- such a beautiful lion,, and you capturing this video is so cool!

  21. Love the wonderful trail camera photos and writeup on the mountain lion. Thanks for sharing and providing some context. The pictures of him rolling around is classic.

  22. You always amaze me with your ability to read the antics of wildlife by their tracks and marks! It's like having a videoless movie, and I can imagine what's happening with your wonderful descriptions!


If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!