Leaving no tracks at all
This is to the DNR.
I’ve tangled with my first cougar on a trap line back in 1969, when I was 15. It was in the Cassidy Lake-Fern Creek area of the county.
These big cats have always been here, as well as the wolves, so have never been exterminated (as some would have us believe). On the high side, a very big cat can weigh as much as 276 pounds (this is a fact).
Being twice as large as a wolf they’ll burn up twice as much energy, covering the same distance, etc. This is why cougars travel slower (unless being pursued) and wolves travel faster, (as well as having a tireless pace).
The big advantage to having these alpha predators, is that they kill all of the lesser ones (that kill more deer and small game, than they do). Examples are bears (yes, ask any bear and they’ll tell you wolves,/cougars kill them), coyotes, especially at their den, bobcats, lynx, fisher, raccoon, and fox, (who kill more deer fawns than bears; this is a fact).
Since cougars and wolves kill each other, they can never be too plentiful, so don’t expect them to be modeling for you along side the road like deer, while you joy ride in your car.
The only reason, winter tracking programs for cougars, have failed, is that, in winter, these big animals leave no tracks in snow unless pushed to another area. They follow, our streams, and lake inlets, outlets, walking on their frozen surfaces, (like I do trapping), leaving no tracks at all, except to pounce on prey along the bank. Unlike the cat with claws, any deer on ice becomes buck soup.