Tracking the Elusive Lynx

Rare and maddeningly elusive, the “ghost cat” tries to give scientists the slip high in the mountains of Montana

Seldom-seen rulers of their wintry domain, lynx may face new threats. (Ted Wood)
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Later that day, we drove back hundreds of miles to check the newly set traps in the Lewis and Clark National Forest.

They were empty.

By lantern light in the cabin that night, Squires talked of shutting down the new trapline. There were too many miles to cover between the Garnet and Lewis and Clark sites, he said. It was too much work for a small crew.

In the morning, though, the air was fresh and chilly. The mud-encrusted truck was covered with smudges where deer had licked off road salt in the night. New snow lay smooth as rolled dough, with lynx prints as neat as if stamped with a cookie cutter.

Squires was reborn. “Oh, I’d like to trap that cat!” he cried for what must have been the thousandth time that season, blue eyes blazing.

The traplines stayed open.

Staff writer Abigail Tucker last wrote about the artist Arcimboldo. Ted Wood is a nature photographer in Boulder, Colorado.


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