please help identify the predator

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by OrpingtonManor, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    Today, we thought a red-tailed hawk was in the area. I immediately locked the girls in their coop. It wasn't a hawk. The turkey vultures were circling the yard. When that happens, we go looking for the dead thing. Luckily, it was not one of my chickens.

    However, about 100 feet from the coop, we found the front half of a fawn at the scene of a bloody struggle. The back half had been completely eaten. It looks like the kill happened last night. The predator tracks in the mud were between 3-4" across, four evenly spaced round toe pads around a large foot pad, with no signs of nails. We are trying to identify this critter. I'm sure it will be back tonight. We have coyotes in the area, but wouldn't a coyote have imprints of toenails in the track? I think we also have some occasional bobcats and cougars here, but not often. Fully half of the fawn was eaten. That seems like a big appetite. The girls are locked up, and I am uneasy about going outside tonight. Does anyone have a guess at what we are up against?
  2. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    Sounds like a big cat to me.
  3. arherp

    arherp Songster

    Sep 29, 2009
    Do you have any pictures of the track and/or deer?
  4. cw

    cw Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    would there be multible tracks (more then 1 animal)
    how soft is the mud? (ive seen coyote tracks with nail prints in softer mud pics are best)

    though being 1/2 eaten kinda says mt.lion (cougar)
    how big was the fawn?
    this time of yea the deer just passed there rut (mating season so that puts the fawn bein born back in the spring)(a little big for 1 coyote(defintly to fast for just 1))
  5. cristina33

    cristina33 Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    I dont blame ya I would be scared to go outside also!!!! I dont know about the tracks could be a big cat like mountin lion type?
  6. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I'd be worried.

    Half eaten deer + tracks without nails just screams big cat to me!
  7. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    The tracks were in soft mud. I didn't take pics, but will see what's left tomorrow. The fawn was indeed born last spring. They are all born here in May. The fawns are in winter coat now, all spots gone. They are quite big, nearly yearling-size. We back up to a large regional park of chaparral and live oaks. There are coyotes, but they are very wary of humans. The occasional big cat does come down to the yards. I was also thinking that this is too much for one coyote. It could have been a pack, since the area of the struggle was very trampled, and even knocked down a section of fence. But the tracks didn't look canine. Very wide, round pads.
  8. cw

    cw Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    i think mt lion even, the area of stuggle wouldnt make me think more coyotes but 1 mt lion, the size of the fawn really tells me mt. lion
    can you see the carcuus?
    if so check on it here and there with a spotlight at night?
    see if it gets drug off? moved ?
  9. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Building the Castle

    Nov 15, 2008
    Martinez, CA
    I can't see the carcass from the house. There are several trees, shrubs, and a wire fence between here and there. It's not an easy walk to get there and back, so it will have to wait until daylight. I want to know what kind of predator it is, but not badly enough to confront it directly. I know exactly where the carcass was today. It had been dragged down a little hill after it was killed, right in front of my neighbor's fence that was knocked down. I expect it will be moved/ eaten more by tomorrow morning.
  10. cw

    cw Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    if it sees you it will be gone they are so scared of humans it aint funny,

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