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Cooter

Differences in fox and yote tracks

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I'm wondering what you all look for on those questionable tracks to tell the difference between a fox and yote.

I guess to broaden it, does anyone know of a good book or website for distinguishing tracks in general - say not just for fox and coyote but also fisher, otter, weasels, etc? Or does anyone have any guidelines themselves to offer? What I'm looking for is not just what a certain animals pad looks like, but those characteristics the average joe doesn't know about. Like in powdery snow certain animals will go in bounds, so when you can't pull a pad how do you know what it is? The gait or stride so that going down a road at 15mph you don't have to stop at each and every track to find say a coyote or bobcat track. Thanks all, later.

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I'll give my best run-down after spending hundreds of hours looking for tracks while hunting with the dogs. And I still get confused and need a different set of eyes to check out a track.

Cats generally are short-strided and almost always look round/fat. They can hop with their feet together, but usually it's just for a short ways. They hardly ever show any claws, but can if going up a bank or something. They also usually leave a very neat print, especially in wet snow. Most time if you try to make it a cat track, it's not.

Red Fox have short strides also, but have a noticible dog looking type track. They tend to wander all over the place and can make it a mess with tracks. If they leave the road, come back, leave again, check this/that out. It's a fox. A big Red can look a lot like a small female yote.

Grey Fox can be tough to tell apart from a cat. They are more round than a Red and sometimes walk very staight in line (like a cat). What gives them away is that the track looks slightly pointed in the snow. Still can be tough to tell.

Fisher generally hop two by two, but can look very catty if they walk. But they'll usually go back to hopping. Their track also doesn't look as neat and their toe pads are a bit longer.

A coyote has a dog looking track that is bigger than a fox. A big dog yote is easy to tell apart from a fox. Too bad they all aren't big. The track is geneally diamond shaped and has a longer stride. They usually won't mess around on a road as much as a yote. They'll run down it, but won't be back and forth constantly. A loping coyote can have it's tracks on top of each other, while a running can have a bit jump that looks deerish. It's amazing how far they can bound in a jump or two. Sometimes when they are running they'll have three tracks on one side in a half moon pattern and then one on the other.

Most otter tracks are sliding, although I have seen them walk in skiff snow. Generally close to water/frozen creek, but then again so are cats.

Hope this helps, but don't take it for the gospel. I called over a buddy from 15 miles to throw on a cat that mysteriously turned into a grey fox. grin.gif

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Good stuff Nolte, have you observed the two toenail marks on fox tracks as much as yote tracks? And while I'm at it, on yote tracks do the toenails show up on both the front and rear feet? Guess I'm gonna have to start paying more attention to detail the next time I'm out!! I should know by now.

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Moreso two nails with the yotes than fox, although it can look like that. I never thought about it between back/front feet on yotes, but from my recollection it seems more prevalent in the big front feet. But then again, this detail is usually only seen well in skiff snow after a road has been plowed. You're probably not going to see it in 3 inches on the road.

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