Hi Molly, welcome to the club!
I'm glad you have taken such an interest, not only in tracking, but in the wildlife your family seems to find literally in your backyard! Pumas (mountain lions, cougars, etc.) range throughout Texas, so I am guessing that is what you saw. Consider yourself lucky: I have lived in Florida my entire life (27 years) and have never been able to have a confirmed panther sighting, though I am looking all the time.
This is a great opportunity you can present to your kids, and the fact that they are homeschooled probably offers that much more freedom! Tracking is a fabulous way for you and your kids to feel a more intense connection with nature, as well as a way to bond with each other. Tracks and sign such as scrapes and kills offer an abundance of ways you can relate animal lives to your family's lives, and the similarities and differences in survival.
Good luck and keep us posted!
I'm Molly, a homeschooling mom of 3 in northeast Texas.
Over the past year or so we've encountered more wildlife than in rest
of my whole life it seems!! We live in a moderate sized town(70K+
population) but it is growing with new construction all over the
place and the animals are getting pushed around pretty bad. Last
fall we started hearing coyotes in the 100 acre oil lease across the
street from our house(on a busy corner). They were driving our dogs,
and me, crazy!! I saw them on the driveway twice and one afternoon I
watched one stalking something in a small grove of trees across the
street. They sprayed in our neighborhood during mating season and
carried on quite loudly most of the winter and spring. My kids and I
would go check out a sandy area across from us when we'd hear them
close the night before, I've got some good track pics. This summer
was quieter but I'm sure they'll be starting up again pretty soon.
I've become kind of the unofficial coyote watcher for the city, I let
them know what I see and hear every month or so.
Two weeks ago my husband and I took our girls to a local lake(about a
50 mile drive) to check out some fishing spots to take our son. On
the way home we were watching for deer since it was about 7pm and
they'd likely be feeding then. We were about 3 miles from a small
settlement(gas station, church or two, some houses and a few
businesses). I glanced across a pasture and saw a yellowish tan
shape slowly walking just outside a treeline at the back of the
pasture, about 50 yards from the road. My first instinct was "cat",
but then I immediately dismissed that as not possible. I ran all the
animals I could think of through my mind and kept coming back to
cat. It had a very long tail, cat head, and was very muscular with
thick legs. It was maybe 6 feet long and 2 feet high and held its
head down low. When I called my animal control contact to ask if I
needed to let a game warden or wildlife manager know, he told me he
was on his way out to trap some wild hogs on the south side of our
town. Sooo, now I'm up to three animals(besides the normal deer,
skunks, possums, armadillos, etc). The local wildlife person did
call me and said mountain lions have been in that area for about 12
years now so I wasn't crazy.LOL
Our homeschool group has a regular weekly park day but we rotate
parks frequently. That week one daughter was taking an acting class
downtown so the other kids and I went to hang out at one of the parks
(our favorite). We walked and found what we thought were deer tracks
but they did look "funny". As we came up through the middle of this
park we saw that the ground was really broken up. I wondered what in
the world those deer had been doing! About midnight the next night
it hit me that they were hog tracks so I had to get out of bed to
come google it. I was right! And now we are hooked on tracks!!
Here's pics of the hog tracks we found this morning at the park and
the coyote tracks/possible den from this Spring.
sid=0AaMmLRk4cMmLCaA¬ag=1 Hope the link works, there are 26 pics
so I figured it was faster to post that than put them all in an album
I'm really glad to be here. I've read many of Tracker's stories in
the past year or two but never new there was a group.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new
discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I've found it!), but 'That's funny...'
Mortgage rates near historic lows: $150,000 loan as low as $579/mo. Intro-*Terms
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]