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HomeAlgonquin Winter Tracking

Algonquin Winter Tracking Expedition 2006

Thursday (Day 5) part A

Photo by Dan Gardoqui

In the morning we were given a very informative presentation by one of the wolf researchers working in the park. She had with her the body of a wolf that had been killed by a logging truck (yes, there's active logging going on in Algonquin Park).

This is the left hind paw.

Photo by Dan Gardoqui

And the left front paw.
Then we split into two separate groups. I elected to stay with the group which explored the area of the research station, seeking to follow a set of wolf tracks from the previous day. The adventures of the other group are documented on the next page.

We picked up the trail at Bat Lake.

The trail was made by two wolves, one much larger than the other. In fact, the disparity of track sizes made us wonder for a while if one set was made by a fox or coyote travelling through earlier than the wolf which seemed to have followed later.

But we eventually decided they were both wolves, as we finally found clear prints made by both animals.

This is a track made by the larger wolf.


The trails led up and away from Bat Lake into the forest, over a ridge, and down to the next lake, Sassejewun Lake.
Our tracks across a frozen lake.

Ok, it wasn't really that dark out ... that's just some photographic trickery.

Here's a nice sequence of Snowshoe Hare tracks.

Here the animal is moving from left to right. it stopped in the middle of the photo. Notice the small tracks behind the larger ones - these are its front feet. When a rabbit or hare is moving normally, the rear (larger) feet come down ahead of the smaller front feet.

When it stops to pause or rest, it places its front feet ahead of the rear ones while it is stopped. When it starts moving again it picks up its front feet and places them farther forward and brings its hind feet up ahead of the front feet, as it resumes its normal gait. The Hare in this photo resumed its usual gait and speed, as evidenced by the distance to the next track, as it exits the photo to the right.

The preceding is an example of how you can analyze tracks to figure out "what happened here".

And here's another set of Snowshoe Hare tracks. This one was bounding up a snowy slope. Notice how the toes are showing. They splay their toes in order to get a better "grip" in the snow - that is, to maximize the surface area of their feet so they don't sink into the snow as much.

Again, note the ruler placed beside the track  to give a sense of scale and also to measure the tracks.

Heading up a frozen rapids to the next lake, still on the trail of the wolves.
This wolf track was in the slush on top of the ice, under freshly fallen snow, part way up the river in the above photo. We blew away the light fluffy snow covering the track and voila! A track complete with nails!
All in all, a great day, exploring the bush and trekking across frozen lakes. I've only shown a portion of what we found and where we went. The other group came upon an actual live wolf, as well as three moose. But I have no photos of that, as I wasn't with them. Perhaps some of them will contribute some photos for this narrative!
And you know I gotta put this picture in! Some wildlife researchers had a moose legbone in their truck. This is one of the Algonquin Tracking Expedition participants, Liam. A little too long since lunch, I guess.

All in all it was a GREAT week! Friday morning was spent attending tracking presentations.

Thanks to Dan and White Pine staff for contributing their knowledge and tracking expertise, and to Caren the cook for great meals, and to the participants for their good sense of humour and sense of adventure.


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