I've been asking ph's for quite some time what is the best way to judge leopard tracks and what to look for and have been told many things. I've heard various opinions bout stride length vs leopard length, depth of track in hard loose sand etc. The one thing thats seems to be of popular thought is that the front track length and width is a definite way to judge the age of a leopard the areas of limpopo, mozambique, botswana, zimbabwe, zambia etc. however from what I hear is that certain cats like those leopard in the cape have smaller tracks so the size estimating based on tracks has to be downsized in these regions. My question for all you guys is this. What do you think is..... what do you think are the most important aspects to a track that tell you the age/size of a cat? What are the measurements we are looking for?
Here is a picture of what seems to be a conclusion of what may very well be a good guide to follow in determing that you are looking at an older male. Please go easy on me as this is just a question and I'm completely curious as my wife and I have an upcoming leopard hunt.
Is this fairly accurate? would you agree or disagree that this would be a large male? what other measurements can you obtain from tracks that will tell you more about the leopards tracks you are following?
Thanks in advance
Tap, great topic....... I use the width of the track only.... to estabslish sex, and I guarantee any track 2.75" and greater in width on the cushion to be a male..... the formula you have shown is good and will provide you with a good solid indication. (the cats you'll be hunting will have the same formula)
One can draw conclusion for track alone this has been proven time and again. (I like your formula by the way...)
I like to take all factors into consideration as well, even on a hound hunt, ("read the entire page") check the bait how big are the nail marks.. are they wide apart indicating a big paw or not..... how much meat was consumed..... stride length and trail cam pictures.
This is why pre baiting is so important, the days of starting a hunt and sitting in camp for two days on a 14 day hunt waiting for a cat to hit bait are over if your outfitter takes Leopard hunting seriously you will have action by the time you hit camp, and he'll be able to tell you wether it is a male or a female. Sorry (IMO) :)
Off to check more baits see ya later!
Leopard hunting becomes an obsession just like Ele and is one of the greatest hunts one can do.
My very best and enjoy every second of it.
I would read the book "Into The Thorns" by Wayne Grant, It is a great book that covers Leopard hunting from A-Z, I was lucky to have hunted with Wayne a few years ago and after 2 previous unsuccessful leopard hunts with other guys he got me a very nice tom. Every safari operator seems to have a "cat" man but Wayne is the real deal and I learned more about leopard hunting in 2 days with Wayne than my previous two hunts combined.
Very true........... can't take anything away from guys, that are actually killing big cats though simply put lessons are learned in the field and with much hunting trial and error, blood sweat and tears!. There are many good Leopard hunters and 99% of them have not written books.
Although the track is proportional, this is not the one.
Even if it has some spots, this is not the one either.
If there are tracks in the snow then you have gone too far. No matter how big they are.
This is a free practice session for Leopard follow up. If you can not see the cat in this picture you may want to rethink hunting leopards.
If your dogs are really good you can get the cat treed, wait for it to fall asleep and measure them yourself. No tracks required.
nearly had me there, was looking for a big pussy in the pic .;)
It is a good test of camouflage.
Originally Posted by spike.t
Recording and measuring Leopard track
Jerome, do you have a photo of a hind foot?
Where is the cat in that picture?? Or am I missing something?
Look in the absolute center of the picture. It is there, and yes you are missing something if you an not see it. :)
Originally Posted by TOM
Sorry, can't find anything right now, will look some more... Perhaps an outfitter has such picture on hand!
Originally Posted by BRICKBURN
Many years ago i did learn from a very good friend Roy Sparks an easy way, if you fit a matchbox ( Lion matches South African ) inside the print ( cushion ) and the matchbox does not touch the sides in width on the back print and you have about half an inch on each of the box, pop it it is a good male, the matchbox is almost two inches in length, i am not sure how many leopard Roy took, but i know it's not just one or two. This will be very close to what Jaco's said
Roy, has hunted Hobbo Leopard, one of the pioneers of hound hunting, in Zim so had Tristan Peacock, and Jason Docherty (all making a living out of hunting Leopard Exclusivly...) taking into consideration that another old timer that has hunted in excess of 300 Leopard in 68 years lives by this law... I'd say your info is very accurate.
I'm attaching a pick of a cat that measured 3" on the cushion compared to a gentle mans hand that was rougly 6' 8"
Of all the big cats we hunt in my experience,, I have seen that Leopard is the only one that one can make an assumption on track as far as tropyh quality or rather "take ability" or true maturity is concerned. There is No Way that I can tell you length (of cat) or skull size for that matter,.... but as far as mature goes if that puck is 2.5 - 3" its a taker in my book. 3" being a monster track.
We have to keep in mind that body size on cats play a big role as well,.. as tap stated,..
Cape cats and I believe even the ones in Matetsi and some parts of the valley do not have those monster bodies like the ones in Namibia and the Nrthern parts of SA and the Zim lowveld and as a result will have a smaller or narrower cushions but still believe and have seen even on them that 2.25 would be a positive call for a mature male.
For some reason it does not want to attach will keep on trying, also have back foot pictures,
I ussually measure the front paw, One can find clear samples of these very often especially where the cat had been standing.
Will keep on it though.
My best always.