Tracking is not done for hunting here. Anyone who can hunt here would merely wait for deer or turkey to arrive as they so frequently do through the day. I only notice the tracks while they are so visible in the mud and damp soil. Most are from harmless animals. Some are from animals who control unwelcome rodents. Even notoriously destructive deer are not a problem here.

No one knows why deer avoid the landscapes here. There are no fences, so deer can come and go as they please. They are a serious problem for some of the home gardens nearby, but avoid others like they avoid our landscapes. I got these pictures outside of landscaped areas. Bobcats have never bothered anyone except the rodents who are not wanted in the landscape anyway.

I saw no tracks left by raccoons, skunks, turkeys or mountain lions, which is just fine. Mountain lions are rare, so their tracks are rarely seen around areas of human activity. The others are too lightweight to leave well defined tracks that I could get pictures of anyway. Skunks are actually beneficial to the landscapes, by eating grubs and slugs. They refrain from digging in lawns.

Turkeys are only becoming a concern because of their proliferation. The minor damage that they cause while scratching for grubs and pecking at anything colorful is likely to become a major concern when there are more of them shredding flowers, fruit and vegetation. Raccoons are more obnoxious for the messes they make with garbage than for their damage in the landscapes.

1. Deer often leave double prints, with the second set slightly back from the first. This pair seems to be single prints from different hooves that just happened to land right next to each other.00128-1

2. Bobcat prints must have appeared while the weather was still drizzly enough to mute the detail. Bobcats are common enough here for (La Rinconada de) Los Gatos to be named for them.00128-2

3. Coyote prints are fresher. They seem to be too small to be left by a coyote; but fox tracks are even smaller, and rare. Foxes are so lightweight that they leave tracks only in very soft mud.00128-3

4. Human prints are very fresh. I did not notice them on my way out, but found them on my way back. Whoever or whatever left these prints could have been dangerously close at the time!00128-4

5. Chevrolet prints over John Deere prints are also rather fresh. There are prints of Ford, Dodge and even a rare Buick in the area. It must have been quite a herd! I should track that Buick!00128-5

6. Rhody the terrier leaves no more prints than a fox, since he too is so lightweight. I tried to press his paw into the mud for this one, but he did not cooperate. This was the best we could do.00128-6

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


20 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Tracks

    1. These are actually not typical for deer tracks, but they are what the small deer here leave. They are shaped more like tiny elk tracks, but there are no elk here. Most deer leave tracks with more typical hock marks behind them, like a pair of additional dots behind the main hoof. Those who hunt do so elsewhere, to find larger and meatier deer.

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    1. We see them often here. Chevrolets, as well as Fords and Dodges, seem to be drawn to mud. The Buick is both more solitary and more elusive. It does not migrate with a herd, and avoids mud, as if it knows I am pursuing it.

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    1. I am pleased to see that I have never seen alligator tracks. I would not recognize them if I did anyway. I can see where raccoons have been, but they do not often leave distinct tracks.


    1. Grizzly bears have been extinct in California for more than a century. One is depicted on the State Flag, which some find to be rather disgraceful. Some believe that Sasquatch live here.


    1. Not only are the beneficial, but they are nice about it. They are (generally) nocturnal, and try to avoid those of us who dislike them if we happen to be out at night. They can damage lawns by digging for grubs, but prefer to go after grubs elsewhere. If they take dog food or cat food, or nibble on a bit of fruit in the garden, they do not eat much. (Squirrels are notorious for taking one bite out of every peach. Skunks will eat only one fruit at a time.) I really do not mind sharing a few plums with someone who helps to control molluscs and grubs. I just do not want to see him or her at work. We sometimes need to relocate skunks from where people live and work.


    1. There are no black bears here now. They are native to other Coastal Ranges in Monterey County to the South, so probably lived here in the distant past. The native Chumash and subsequent Spanish colonists in this region documented only the now extinct grizzly bears.


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