‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the woods lay three inches of snow. And then – the temperature rose so by the time I walked the old road in the Big Woods there was less than an inch of snow on the ground. Not far along the old road a set of bobcat tracks appeared; the bobcat had walked in the opposite direction from the way I was going and the tracks had veered from the road to disappear in a large patch of extremely thorny shrubbery.
As I walked the road, I backtracked the bobcat as it wandered from one side of the road to the other in quest of a meal. And thus it went for over a mile until the spot where the bobcat had come out of another thick brushy patch and begun to walk along the road –
On up the road I went intersecting one set of squirrel tracks after another going across the road (this year has seen one of the gray squirrels’ periodic population booms). Along the way there was an area where two wild turkeys had left tracks as they'd crossed the road.
By then it was time to turn around and head home. Because I’d been following the bobcat’s tracks and keeping an eye out for tracks indicating that it had caught something to eat (it hadn’t) I’d missed another set of tracks mixed with those of the gray squirrels, the tracks of a fisher in quest of a meal of squirrel. Unlike bobcat, fox and coyote, fishers have five toes which show in their tracks –
The fisher tracks weren’t distinct and they were soon lost amid a maze of squirrel tracks. By the next day rising temperatures had melted the last of the snow.