Who Done It?

Newton Creek, Mt Hood

While checking a baited camera site to detect rare forest carnivores, I encountered this large track (about 4") near Newton Creek at about 4,000 feet on Mt Hood.

Photo by Dennis Deck

Who made this track? [ View Answer ]


One of the first characteristics of this set of tracks that I noticed was the large heel pad with a double lobe on the leading edge. In most tracks, the toes appeared somewhat asymetrical around the pad and no claw marks could be seen. At first glance, cougar seemed like the best fit.

Closer inspection revealed that the tracks had distorted some in the sun. The toes were more robust and more symetrical than cougar. Some evidence of claw marks could be seen in a few toes, confirming that these were canine rather than feline tracks. The size could mean wolf but that would be highly unlikely. The irregular bounding stride added further evidence that this was simply a large dog that had ventured off the trail.

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