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August 31, 2009

Animal track identification

If you look carefully (just right of center top on photo) on the dirt road you will see an animal track. The size was about the same width and length as the palm of my hand. The stride between tracks was about 30 inches, the animal heavy enough to really sink into the fairly set up mud.....I compared an enhanced cropped version side by side to another track on the web. Result: Black Bear Problem: Indiana isn't supposed to have any of those. It can't be a big cat because the claws were not retracted as seen in the imprint. There have been rare panther sightings in Indiana with very few in this part of the state. Why of interest? This is where Phebes and I work the flat circular track to school at the trot. It is along a large creek and surrounded by woodlands.


  1. I hope it's not bears! If it helps any, we have a Great Pyrenees dog - well over 100 lbs, that lives with our goats....his paw prints look pretty similar to your picture, but it's hard to tell from the picture. Depending on the type of mud, his paw prints can be anywhere from 3.5-4.5" wide. Maybe you have a Livestock Guardian Dog living nearby?? That would definitely be better than bears!

    Hehe, on the bright side (or not...) at least Phebes will be safe! If she sees a bear, she will whip out one of those 180 degree turns and leave you for bait!! Just kidding, I'm sure you'll both be fine! :-)

  2. The concensus so far is very large dog which brings a spooky story to mind about sightings of a "hell hound" in these woods...if so he has some age on him because my daughter saw it some ten year ago. Big black weird looking thing that scared her to death. (I was thinking at the time she told me of a very arthritic large black dog with bad fur *LOL*).

    You are right though, Phebes would certainly survive the incident, with tail straight up, mud flying from her hooves, and I'd be bait!

  3. Could very well be a bear. A few years ago when I was cutting my woods trails I swear I saw a bear. It came running thru the woods. Perpendicular to me, not right at me. I got the feeling it was trying to scare me though. I jumped on the 4-wheeleer and got right out of there and was so shaken that I wouldn't go back in for a while. Then later I seen the same creature at a distance. Now I'm thinking it's big dog, maybe! It wasn't black but more of a redish brown with long hair and no tail really, looked just like a big bear. I seen it really good.

    But I'd almost rather have a bear than a wild dog. I hear those can be very mean, especially half coyote half dog. But Allen and I both swear we have a panther/mountain lion or maybe big bear on one end of the woods that we ride. (we've ruled out this was probably not a bear, because black bears are vegetarians) But this animal growled at Allen. He really didn't see it but heard it growling and got the heck out of there. Then I rode thru the same spot an hour later and heard something dragging something thru the woods. Very large or at least it sounded that way. It's in a hilly, wooded, and very remote spot. The horse trainer you used (Leatherbury) swears there are bears in this county still and says he's seen one on a few different occassions. There are bob cats.

    Michelle Detmer

  4. Michelle,

    Some friends of mine live about 4 miles south east of the park at Versailles. They have sighted a cougar on their property multiple times, and even casted its foot prints. They say it is a really big cat. But they kind of like having it show up now and then and don't want folks to know it is there for fear someone will hunt it.

    What you are describing does NOT sound like a big dog, dragging something through the woods! I'd have lost it :/