Big Paw?

Does anyone recognize this print?

This appeared about a week ago in front of our garage. The print is 4 inches by 4.5 inches, which is why I show it beside your standard 5-6 inch writing tool. Being someone who was totally unfamiliar with tracks prior to this, I did some research which narrowed it down to canine or feline, most likely canine.

Two wildlife agencies have told me it is a dog because claw marks are rarely left by cats. However, the only dog around here is a big black lab named Bucky, and I examined his paws…only half this size if that much! Wild dogs such as wolves, etc, have paw prints much smaller than this.

So what do we have???

I still think it could be some sort of unusually large wildcat like a mountain lion, even though their prints are supposedly an inch smaller than this. The print is in mud and it’s on a slight slope, so perhaps the cat was trying to get a grip and was gripping the ground with its claws out?

If anyone has any ideas, post me a comment. This has us flummoxed…not to mention a little leery of what’s lurking in our driveway in the wee hours of the night!

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