February 1, 2015 by JImbo
Saw these prints outside the other day.
They seemed pretty frickin’ big for any dog around here.
This is a pretty rural area, but much of it is developed (farmland, orchards, etc)
So… while wolves have been known to be around, they haven’t been noticed in my neighbourhood per se.
Coyotes on occasion, but again not in my backyard… or front yard as it were.
More in the isolated areas.
But, hey what do I know? I see lots of deer track, rabbit, raccoon, etc.
Not so many wolves.
So, I looked it up:
Determine if both dogs and wolves use the area. In remote areas, such as the middle of the wood far away from civilization, you have a greater chance of finding a wolf print than a dog print. Near civilization, you might find more dog prints.
Measure the size of the print. If it is smaller than 4 inches, then it is likely a dog or coyote. Wolf prints measure larger than 4 inches and can measure up to 6 inches. If you do not have a ruler, place your hand over the print. If the print is nearly the same length, it could be a wolf, but some dog breeds leave large prints.
Measure the intergroup distance of the prints. To measure the intergroup distance, find a grouping of two paw prints and measure from the front of the furthest forward print to the rear of the furthest back print in the next grouping of paw prints. Wolves measure greater than 26 inches. The intergroup distance of a dog varies, but if it is under 26 inches, then it is likely a dog.
Look to see if the hind prints fall directly in line with with the front print — the front print measures slightly smaller. Because a wolf has a narrower chest than a dog, its front and hind prints line up. A dog leaves front prints that do not align.
Examine the overall trail. Dogs tend to meander and wolves follow a straight line.
Add up all your data points. Because the prints looks so similar, you may need a positive determination on several points to confirm the species.