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Thread: Cougar Marking Tree

  1. #1
    Official SILO Sponsor BigFoot's Avatar
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    Cougar Marking Tree

    This is around the 6th tree I've come across in various deep wood locations here in Southern Illinois in the last ten years or so. They all pretty much have the same kind of markings with the horizontal claw marks. This tree was tore up with claw marks as you can clearly see from the photo. Note the fresh bark scattered around on the ground next to the tree. Indeed, something big ran off down the hill through the heavy brush as we got closer to this tree this evening. Never did see it but it really didn't sound like a deer, which is what I thought it was at first. We were in some pretty thick undergrowth looking for sheds where most humans don't venture. If it it isn't cougars doing this tree marking then what is doing it? The only other thing that even comes close to this type tree marking are black bears but that would mean we have a viable population of bears here in S.I. too? These marks go at least 7 ft. up the tree...


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    Official SILO Sponsor lifestudent55's Avatar
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    I thought it was BigFoot marking the tree.

    7'? I certainly don't want to have a close encounter with one of those cats.
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    Nimrod Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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    Is that an Ash tree? Looks like it to me. May be ash borer worms. Doesn't look like claw marks to me.
    duckhunterx10

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    Guide Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting nuthouse's Avatar
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    I concure with rism. These look more like the result of bugs. Cougars are cats(just larger) and cats tend to rake thier claws downward. This link explains how cougars mark things.

    http://www.mountainlion.org/featurearticlesign.asp
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  5. #5
    Official SILO Sponsor BigFoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rism View Post
    Is that an Ash tree? Looks like it to me. May be ash borer worms. Doesn't look like claw marks to me.
    Wow...I am somewhat stunned that you guys cannot tell the difference between claw marks and borer (insect) damage? Granted, it is a photo and not as good as being there looking at the tree, but the claw marks are very clear in this photo. First of all your barking up the wrong tree, as it were, because the tree is not a ash, it's a black locust. Now, there is a Black Locust Borer that only attacks black locust trees, but they bore into and eat the wood inside the tree not the inner bark. And even if they did tunnel sideways through the bark, which they do not, it would look nothing at all like the damage you see in my photo. When I first read this about the borer worms I really could not help having a good belly laugh because of the mental image of bark just flying off the tree everywhere under the vicious attack of toothsome borer worms. You did notice all those bark chips scattered a goodly ways off from the tree, did you not? Did you know that Squirrels sometimes debark trees also, but I would hate to run into the squirrel that did this to the black locust in my photograph. Besides, squirrels only debark horizontal limbs and don't mess with the trunks. I also have been to that cougar link several times in the past and yes cougars will scratch down on trees, when they are sharpening their claws as will any type of cat. But they also will pull their claws back to them in a horizontal fashion sometimes when marking a tree. The claw marks on the tree in this photograph were made by a large aggressive animal of some sort, not chipmunks
    or feisty bollweevils...

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    Guide Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Al Peebels's Avatar
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    Foot I gotta agree with you. It was big and claimed that tree as it's property. Might be a good place to put a trail cam.

    Al

  7. #7
    Official SILO Sponsor BigFoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Peebels View Post
    Foot I gotta agree with you. It was big and claimed that tree as it's property. Might be a good place to put a trail cam.

    Al
    I was thinking along those lines myself. I was looking at those marks from a different point of veiw this morning though. If those claw marks, ETC, were starting at the big end and expanding outward towards the smaller ends there is a slight possibility that a big Buck might have made them. The problem with that is how could a buck stand on its hind feet and still tear the tree up 7 or 8 feet off the ground ?

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    Official SILO Sponsor BigFoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckkillaz2010 View Post
    I'm saying porcupine with the bark all at bottom of tree and you can see where he started taking a few bites another 3 feet up tree..
    I would never have thought of porcupine, but I compared tree damage photos of porcupines with my photo and they seem way to smooth to be the same culprit that's been working on this tree...

  9. #9
    Cougars do not exist in Illinois. The last survivor was killed in Chester years ago. BigFoot needs to stick to taking pictures instead of carving trees with his machete.

  10. #10
    Official SILO Sponsor BigFoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keens View Post
    Cougars do not exist in Illinois. The last survivor was killed in Chester years ago. BigFoot needs to stick to taking pictures instead of carving trees with his machete.
    How do you know if I carry a machete or not?... But anyway, your completely wrong, There are cougars, black panthers, and big cats all over Illinois and the surrounding midwest states as well .Again, they were never wiped out and have always been here, in Southern Illinois anyway...

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