SF Snoq - What made this print?

Went up fishing on the SF today. Came across a large wide gravel bar and noticed this set of tracks.

Now this was up off Tinkham Rd, so I know there are campers and dogs around. I am no expert, but I thought that feline prints will not show claw (retractable) while canine will. This was also a 30 minute river treck with one small crossing away from the nearest access. Anyone here able to identify this? Sorry for the crappy cellphone pic.

Even if it was a dog and not a cougar, it sure made me keep an eye out. Also made me focus on my poor casting ability so I wasn't having to fix knots so much. That's when the cougars will get ya! If that's not motivation to improve, I don't know what is.
I'm leaning towards cougar as well. That is a cool area up there. You can come across some amazing wildlife. The below picture has a slight glimpse of a cinnamon black bear that I ran across on Tinkham Rd. a couple of years ago. Just below the center of the picture. I kicked myself for only having a cell phone camera that day.

SF Sno Bear.jpg
It's not the fear of being attacked, but rather knowing that I am being watched or tracked by it. It looks to be rather large judging by the size of the print too. I know what my 10lb tabby can do when she is in a bad mood...now add 90 lbs. A game warden I know showed me a picture he took of a deer on a road. Wasn't until he got the picture developed that he noticed a cougar 100 yds further down the road creeping out watching the deer....and him.

I may have to look into a small firearm for protection. Can't really take my Mossberg 500 with me everywhere. Any suggestions? .357 should be sufficient for any PNW game. Maybe a GP100 or SP101 would be good. Need something small that won't get in the way. And where to put it when you are wading in rivers?
I like my GP100 because of the 6 shot capacity vs 5 shot. Get your concealed carry permit first before you go buy the gun also. If you do this you do not have to go through the 5 day waiting period. .357 is the smallest caliber I will take to the outdoors. If you are going to bear country it still may be a good option to get some bear spray too.


Ignored Member
Awesome! Another 'what do you carry in the woods' thread.

Whatever made the track was long gone by the time you saw it. I was fishing the upper Cascade River a few years ago and walked down a sand bar that had both bear and cougar tracks on it. When I walked back I noticed a new set of cougar tracks along side mine. Unfortunately I never saw the cat. So far in my lifetime I have been lucky enough to have seen cougar twice in the wild.
Something doesn't compute properly here. You note that this was near Tinkham, with its popular campground, which has hundreds of campers with kids, dogs, etc. all summer, without ever recording a cougar attack on any of them, and you think you need to buy and carry a handgun to protect yourself? Get out of your paranoid fantasy and get real.

Enjoy yourself in the woods and on the stream and save your money and the weight in your vest of lugging a weapon around with you.

If you want to buy a handgun, by all means do so, but don't use a barely discernible track in loose sand in a popular recreation area as an excuse.

I have been wandering the forests around here for 30 years and have never seen a cougar. I know they are out there though. There were tracks all over that gravel bar...just want to give others a heads up and a reminder to keep an eye out.

Awesome! Another 'what do you carry in the woods' thread.
Not looking for a discussion on it. Plenty of discussions already, so I just have some more things to research I guerss :)

EDIT: Guess I answered my own concern...30 years without seeing one and seeing tracks does not necessitate carrying...

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
If any of you had been at last night's presentation at the HiLakers by WDFW research biologist Brian Kertson on All Things Cougar, you'd have heard two things.

First, cougar tracks are circular with no claw marks, much like those in the pictures above (and unlike canine tracks that are oval with distinct claws). The cougar's center pad has 5 lobes; 2 in front and 3 on the back side.

Since cougars travel up to 3 miles per day with a range of up to 200 square miles, one of their preferred corridors traveling in and out of the MF Snoqualmie drainage from the south is across I-90 between mileposts 38 and 42. Kertson tracks up to a dozen radio-collared cougars and has regularly marked them up and down the SF in that area.


Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
Kertson's presentation was well-attended and compelling - the guy obviously knows his stuff and is passionate. It was one of the best presentations there that I can remember.

One other factoid: On the 100-square mile Hancock Snoqualmie tree farm, Kertson estimates there are 16 cougars: 5 resident adults (2 toms and 3 females); 9 kittens or subadults; and 2 transients. When you do the math, that ends up being 1 cat for every 6-1/4 square miles - much greater density than one might first think.


Old Man

Just an Old Man
I have always gone in to the woods to fish. Being hunted by a cougar never enters my mind. I have crossed paths with lack bears. But they are the ones trying to get away.

I came face to face with a Black Bear on Pilchuck creek. That was the day I learned to walk on water. I never beat feet down the creek so fast in my life. I'm sure the Bear was getting a good laugh out of that.

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