Tracks in the snow

tracks_in_the_snowWhile riding up the chairlift first thing in the morning to help open the mountain for the day, there, far below in the corduroy textured snow left by the grooming tractors was what looked to be large canid paw prints. Left by one of the neighbors’ dogs that live nearby I thought. I radioed my crew member who was opening the east side of the mountain, and asked that they photograph the prints.

Arriving at the bottom of the west side of the mountain a few minutes later, I saw tracks in the snow apparently made by the same animal. Later, another patroller who has spent much time in the woods hunting as well as skiing, remarked that he had seen a large buff colored animal with a bushy tail, too large to be a cat, running across the trail below him.

“A Coydog” he replied when asked what he thought he had seen. These animals are not common as they are the result of the mating of a coyote and dog. Some even doubt that they even exist in significant numbers in this area. Coyotes in these parts of the country are larger than their western cousins, as some members of the packs mated with wolves as they migrated eastward.

It’s not uncommon to hear the unmistakable yips and howls as packs range the valleys hunting rabbits and other small game, however, seeing these animals, part dog, part wolf, part coyote, or recent evidence of them, is quite rare.

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