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  1. #1
    Mountain Lion Fodder
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    Mt. Lion prints at El Morro

    I was solo at El Morro this afternoon and on my way back as I was scanning the ground I noticed some good size paw prints. I stopped to check them out and then got spooked realizing that stopping probably wasn't a good idea but at least it allowed me to memorize the prints (4 fanned evenly sized & spaced toes with a round palm/center, the two outboard toes were about 2.5-3 inch center-to-center, symmetric print). When I got home I looked up the prints and I have no doubt that are a good size kitty. The online sketches usually show some weird shape or flattened palm but they palm print I saw looked pretty round/circular.

    Just a heads up. We all know they are out there but with the recent fires I'm sure they all worked up.

    Attached is the approximate location.
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  2. #2
    Front Range, Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfearn
    I was solo at El Morro this afternoon and on my way back as I was scanning the ground I noticed some good size paw prints. I stopped to check them out and then got spooked realizing that stopping probably wasn't a good idea but at least it allowed me to memorize the prints (4 fanned evenly sized & spaced toes with a round palm/center, the two outboard toes were about 2.5-3 inch center-to-center, symmetric print). When I got home I looked up the prints and I have no doubt that are a good size kitty. The online sketches usually show some weird shape or flattened palm but they palm print I saw looked pretty round/circular.

    Just a heads up. We all know they are out there but with the recent fires I'm sure they all worked up.

    Attached is the approximate location.
    There is no dought the recent fires have pushed the lions out and there will be far more sightings of them than normal. Did your paw prints show claw marks? All cats [with the exception of the Cheatah who's claws are stationary] have retractable claws and the claws dont show up in a print. Unlike canines [dogs] that have fixed claws that do show up in the print. It is a common thing for people to mistake dog prints for big cat prints. This is a sure safe way of distinguishing between the two.

  3. #3
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    No claw marks. I know that dog/coyote prints are more staggered with two prominent toes and then one toe on each side and further back. They arenít as nicely "fanned as a cat. Plus the size and spread of the paw was a good size.

    We all know they are out there but I would rather people in the area be a little more vigilant and cautious in that area then have something happen and have no idea that there was one in that area.

    The print was like this:
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  4. #4
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    Mt. Lion prints are asymetric and have 2-3 undulations below the paw. If it is a Mt. Lion maybe it caught the bus because it would have to be more elusive that big foot. and I don't mean the beer.

    nothing witty here...

  5. #5
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    More than likely a bobcat. Quite a few of them in the area as evidenced by all the photos from the wildlife cameras in various locations over the past 5+ years, and the trappings that took place over the past 18 months.

    Lions could certainly make it there, but pretty unlikely; especially with all the areas that support substantial populations of deer up in the northern areas that have less urban intrusion.

  6. #6
    Front Range, Colorado
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    So your saying it could have been a Bobcat. Like page two third post of this thread.
    Mountain Lion in Sycamore

  7. #7
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    Yesterday while hiking in El Moro my wife had a converstation with a couple of hikers about why they shouldn't have their dog in the backcountry. It was a large dog which would have similiar prints to a large cat, BUT, according to your map, you were actually on Bommer Ridge in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and not in El Moro anyway.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chopper
    Yesterday while hiking in El Moro my wife had a converstation with a couple of hikers about why they shouldn't have their dog in the backcountry. It was a large dog which would have similiar prints to a large cat, BUT, according to your map, you were actually on Bommer Ridge in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and not in El Moro anyway.
    Why shouldn't they have their dog in the backcountry? Not trying to be a punk, but I've never heard anyone say that before.

  9. #9
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    Around San Diego County we see a lot of these cats on the trails....
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mealsonwheels
    Why shouldn't they have their dog in the backcountry? Not trying to be a punk, but I've never heard anyone say that before.
    Wow, where should I start.
    Lets's start with the "bad for the dog" angle.
    *Ticks, they love hairy animals and even if you dog is protected chemically, they will still carry them into your home.
    *Rattlesnakes - when a rattlesnake bites a dog, it is usually in the face and they most often die. I have seen this happen and it is a horible way for a little dog to die. Their face swells up like a volley ball.
    *Poison Oak
    *Hungry Coyotes

    Then there's the "bad for the habitat" angle.
    * Bobcats are afraid of dogs. When Bobcats get stressed they tend to get mange and when they get mange, the sometimes die.
    * When wild animals, inlcuding deer, pick up the scent of a dog they think there is a new predator in their area and they move away.
    * Dogs have been known to chase and sometimes attack smaller animals of which there are tons of in the backcountry.

    Then there is the simple "legal" issue.
    *It is against the law to have your pet in El Moro.

    I have more but I think this is enough.

  11. #11
    Front Range, Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chopper
    Yesterday while hiking in El Moro my wife had a converstation with a couple of hikers about why they shouldn't have their dog in the backcountry. It was a large dog which would have similiar prints to a large cat, BUT, according to your map, you were actually on Bommer Ridge in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and not in El Moro anyway.
    Chopper if you would have read my first response to this thread you would have seen that there is a sure safe way of determining a large dog print from a large cat print. Here I will save you the time of scrolling up.

    QUOTE= DIRTJUNKIE,
    There is no dought the recent fires have pushed the lions out and there will be far more sightings of them than normal. Did your paw prints show claw marks? All cats [with the exception of the Cheatah who's claws are stationary] have retractable claws and the claws dont show up in a print. Unlike canines [dogs] that have fixed claws that do show up in the print. It is a common thing for people to mistake dog prints for big cat prints. This is a sure safe way of distinguishing between the two.
    Last edited by DIRTJUNKIE; 11-15-2007 at 04:26 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE,
    So your saying it could have been a Bobcat. Like page two third post of this thread.
    Mountain Lion in Sycamore
    More than likely.

    Not that it's impossible for a lion to get to the area; but there have been more than 10,000 photo's taken by the cameras in the area over the past 7 years or so; and if there are lions here, they have evaded all of the camera's very successfully. Whereas Bobcats are very frequent visitors to the lens of the cameras. A few fairly large ones at that.

    I have seen quite a few picís of lions, but they have all been up in the northern areas, Limestone, Weir, Fremont, Black Star, etc...

  13. #13
    Front Range, Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamR
    More than likely.

    Not that it's impossible for a lion to get to the area; but there have been more than 10,000 photo's taken by the cameras in the area over the past 7 years or so; and if there are lions here, they have evaded all of the camera's very successfully. Whereas Bobcats are very frequent visitors to the lens of the cameras. A few fairly large ones at that.

    I have seen quite a few pic’s of lions, but they have all been up in the northern areas, Limestone, Weir, Fremont, Black Star, etc...
    Actually my post about it being a Bobcat was meant as a joke. Click on the link I provided and go to page #2 scroll down to the first two pictures that xjbebop posted. He "claimed" it was a Mountainlion cub he had seen. I argued that it was a Bobcat so it has been a joke on here ever since. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ghlight=bobcat

  14. #14
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE,
    Actually my post about it being a Bobcat was meant as a joke. Click on the link I provided and go to page #2 scroll down to the first two pictures that xjbebop posted. He "claimed" it was a Mountainlion cub he had seen. I argued that it was a Bobcat so it has been a joke on here ever since. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ghlight=bobcat
    Sorry...I'm a little slow on the uptake right now

    Now I get it

  15. #15
    Mountain Lion Fodder
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamR
    More than likely.

    Not that it's impossible for a lion to get to the area; but there have been more than 10,000 photo's taken by the cameras in the area over the past 7 years or so; and if there are lions here, they have evaded all of the camera's very successfully. Whereas Bobcats are very frequent visitors to the lens of the cameras. A few fairly large ones at that.

    I have seen quite a few picís of lions, but they have all been up in the northern areas, Limestone, Weir, Fremont, Black Star, etc...
    Could have been just a bobcat but the size is what caught my eye. If I had the time this week I would have gone back to the location to check it out a little more, which is why I also gave the GPS and map of the area.

    The prints were in the sandy/dusty dirt so their resolution wasn't as great as if their were in mud or some harder packed earth. But the basic kitty pattern was evident.

    I don't know exactly where El Morro ends and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park begins. I also didn't realize how connected the park is to Aliso Woods and the wilderness areas close to it - just have to cross the 133.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE,
    Chopper if you would have read my first response to this thread you would have seen that there is a sure safe way of determining a large dog print from a large cat print. Here I will save you the time of scrolling up.

    QUOTE= DIRTJUNKIE,
    There is no dought the recent fires have pushed the lions out and there will be far more sightings of them than normal. Did your paw prints show claw marks? All cats [with the exception of the Cheatah who's claws are stationary] have retractable claws and the claws dont show up in a print. Unlike canines [dogs] that have fixed claws that do show up in the print. It is a common thing for people to mistake dog prints for big cat prints. This is a sure safe way of distinguishing between the two.
    Actually I did read it and I am impressed with your knowledge of the characteristics of large cat prints. I just thought that it might be possible that since "The prints were in the sandy/dusty dirt " it might be possible that it was just a large dog. I actually have a documented mountain lion sighting in El Moro which was confirmed by the park staff and two other witnesses but that was over 20 years ago before the toll road and lot of other obstacles between here and the National Forest. There was also a confirmation of mountain lion DNA in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park just 5 years ago and a State Park Ranger reported a mountain lion sighting in the same area just 2 years ago. About that same time, a deer kill in El Moro was investigated by the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and they confirmed it as mountain lion kill. I had a conversation with a County Park ranger who told me that the number of reported sightings seems to go up significantly once every two years which may indicate that a lion actually does pass though the area every couple of years.
    So, just to set your mind at ease, I wasn't really questioning your evidence, I was just presenting another possibility.
    The fact is that most likely no matter what you do to protect yourself, if the cat wants you, he will have you and there will be nothing you can do about it. The good news is that you probably won't have to think about it very long.
    Mountain biking, and other backcountry activities present a lot of dangers but those are far outweighed by the pleasure we get from it.

  17. #17
    Its only 1" on the map!
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    Here in SOCAL where there are deer, there will eventually be a mountain lion coming through. They may not take up residence in the area but they will come in, hunt and get out. There is at least one mountain lion that make rounds in from the back country, through Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch and MCAS Miramar.

    There is a sizable herd of deer in Penasquitos Canyon and there are enough green corridors that I will not be the least bit surprised when someday a lion comes and takes deer and gets back out into the backcountry.


    Back on the subject of dogs in the real backcountry Unleased dogs have been known to surprise and trigger the flight response and chase critters like bears, moose and mountain lions. These critters soon realize what is really chasing them, switch to the fight response, and the chasee becomes the chaser. The scared dog runs back to master with a pissed critter in tow.

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