Winter Wolf & Cougar Tracking
The cougar, or American mountain lion, is one of the most beautiful and yet difficult animals to see in the wild, even though they are not particularly rare in the American West. They are simply illusive. Their beauty, their power and their ghost-like stealth have granted them legendary status through mythical fascination throughout time and across cultures. For many, this stunning cat represents the powerful, raw, unknown beauty of the Wild.
Yellowstone Wild is offering the unique opportunity to actually track wild cougars and wolves in the winter wonderland of Yellowstone National Park. This type of opportunity has never been offered before, and we are proud to offer single and multi-day intensive carnivore tracking program in the heart of Yellowstone's famed Northern Range with expert tracker and cougar/wolf biologist Emil McCain, M.S.
Moments in the Park
There is simply nothing like the wild beauty of the Lamar valley in Winter!!! This morning, not only did the wolves put on a great show, but the hoarfrost was spectacular in the morning light. This track is nearly the size of my hand. It is likely the front right foot of the new alpha male of the Lamar Canyon Pack. We did see all 14 Mollies Wolves in this area both this morning any yesterday, but I believe this track is from our good friend "Small Dot".
Notes from the Field - Lamar Valley December 2017
Moments in the Park
Many wolf tracks atop this boulder high on a ridge in Yellowstone's backcountry indicate wolves stood here for some time, most likely howling over the same view that we got to enjoy on this memorable day out tracking.
Notes from the Field - Hellroaring Slope December, 2015
Guide and owner of Yellowstone Wild, Emil McCain, has located a fresh set of cougar tracks on Yellowstone's Northern Range during an early storm in October. The excitement of following these tracks and the discoveries that lie ahead of us on the trail is intoxicating.
Snow tracking, using traditional techniques, gives us the ability to see into the world of these mystical creatures, literally walking in their footsteps over uncharted paths. Join us on a snow tracking adventure as we step into the rugged territory of Yellowstone's top carnivores. We will traverse difficult terrain in search of tracks and sign as we read their dramatic life stories, written as tracks in the snow. On these adventures, we discover where these animals have recently been and see the events that shape their lives here in the wilds of Yellowstone. We will learn about how they travel across the vast expanses and how they communicate with each other over long distances. We will investigate their predation habits and retrace the sequence of events that unfolded during the hunt as we examine the factors that led to the prey animal's demise.
If the tracks and sign ever indicate that the animals we are tracking are close, we will quietly back away so as not to disturb them and their natural behaviors. Their lives out in the wilds of winter are not easy, and the last thing we want to do is disturb them in any way. Depending on the situation, we may try to observe the animals from a safe distance where our presence will not disturb them.
Interested parties should contact us directly for more information. Thank you.
"I love being in the wilderness and have hiked in Yellowstone many times. My passion is learning about mountain lion habitat, prey and behavior; and I wanted to further discover mountain lion country with an expert. During a recent winter trip, Emil and I hiked, snowshoed, skied and climbed through the canyons and ridges of Yellowstone’s north country.
Emil’s tracking and observation skills are truly phenomenal; he is able to detect animal movement and presence with subtle clues. After watching some bird activity from a great distance, he determined the possibility of a mountain lion kill.
After scrambling and hiking a few miles over and through rough and broken ground; from a high spot, we spotted the area Emil thought was of interest. I felt I was dreaming when I could see with my naked eyes a wolf feeding upon a fresh elk kill.
We observed the site with binoculars and Emil determined that the wolf had come upon the lion kill to feed after the lion had left the area. Once wolf left the kill we worked our way down the rugged terrain to see the aftermath of predator versus prey.
We traced the cat prints, then the wolf tracks right to a cow elk carcass. I was astounded as Emil told the story of this kill using only the snow as he read the signs and investigated the site. He deciphered each animals behavior at the site.
For the rest of day Emil educated me with many stories about his years of work with wild cats around the world. I cannot say enough about Emil; his skills, his stories and his expert guidance through the beautiful, winter wonderland that is Yellowstone.
He is a pleasure to be with, and his knowledge of the terrain, patterns of animal movements, weather, and places to observe wildlife make the effort worth such a thrilling reward as I was lucky to experience."
Megan M., Santa Cruz, California