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Home > Magazine > Woodcraft > Winter Thrill: The Drama of Tracks

Winter Thrill: The Drama of Tracks
January 28, 2013

I just had the best winter thrill! Not enuf snow for trail skiing, but it's been cold so I went and skied the frozen river. It's PERFECT!

(Open areas of running water and all -- the flow is pretty to see -- the shallow water is very clear. It's solid a few feet away. If you're afraid of your local river: explore it. The more you learn the less you fear. Ours is mostly 1 foot deep and all the locals I encounter talk so afraid of it.)

So I was skiing along and saw that a coyote had traveled the same way not long before. A quarter mile later I see where it was chasing an otter around!

An otter in Okemos!

No blood or savage marks. Looked like frisking! Big circles out on the river.

After awhile of marveling at this sight I keep skiing and see where the otter had been doing its thing before being encountered. Sliding here and there on the river. What a delight!

Then I see it encountered a raccoon -- and scuffled with him a bit. Again, no blood, just some chasing around.

All along I notice a nice fat set of mink tracks on the other side of the river. Then I saw tracks showing that a flock of turkeys came out and looked around. All this happened in the last day! (Since snowfall.) What peak winter fun! Real world CSI! I could see all that action like it happened in front of me. Really, a once in a lifetime thing. ...A coyote chasing an otter! ...Near the suburbs!

***

I've followed some other coyote tracks lately, too. There's one that's been visiting our yard quite often now. It's the first time I've seen the big ol' coyote tracks in our yard. We see foxes sometimes. A couple weeks ago we found a shredded rabbit. Last night the coyote circled in our driveway, even. Yikes! We're worried about Pickles our terrier.

We might end up doing some coyote abatement. I'd love to see their fur up close, and I wouldn't let it go to waste. Henry wants to try doing some calling with our predator call.

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