FYI……THERE IS A GROSS-OUT FACTOR TO THIS POST…. SOME PICTURES ARE NOT TOO PLEASANT AS THEY DEPICT A DEER THAT HAS MET HIS DEMISE BY ANOTHER ANIMAL, OR HUMAN. THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON THIS, BUT I WOULD REALLY LOVE YOUR INPUT IF YOU CAN TELL BY WHAT I DESCRIBE, WHAT MIGHT HAVE KILLED THIS LITTLE DEER. THANK YOU!!
It was Saturday morning, October 13, 2013, my three dogs and I were walking the fence line of our property looking for areas in need of repair. All was well that morning…there was a spot on which a giant limb from a very mature Douglas Fir had broken off leaving the wire fencing smashed down. Important find as it would make easy access for a dog chasing a squirrel or a deer to just keep on running, and find themselves on our neighbor’s property (of which I do not feel would be very welcomed.)
Tucker feeling better!!
Karli – Our fourteen year old sweetie.
Penni our Great Dane!
So, to get back to our walk….everything was going fine. We found the one flaw in the fence line..good find…then making our way to the plateau before the downhill slope to the creek, the dogs stopped, (except for Karli, our 14 yr. old rat terrier/poodle mix who has lost most of her sensibility and is not as sharp as she used to be.) Penni, our Great Dane, started barking, lurching forward, but not moving forward. I immediately went on the alert, hoping this band of merry hikers had not cornered a skunk, or worse yet a cougar. As I cautiously approached, yelling for Karli to stop moving forward (Tucker our old German WireHair Pointer guy had already lay down in the grass as his rear legs don’t like to just stand still) I could see the object of their roadblock.
It was a deer, a very well cleaned, fresh kill. By this I mean what was left on the bones (which wasn’t much) was still very pink and red….the bones, and joint areas were still very pearly in color. The stomach had been removed and pushed away from the body, and a large portion of the deer had been buried under leaves and dry grasses. Since we were walking, I quickly got the dogs under control and we left the area. No way did I want to be standing around a fresh kill with the possibility of a cougar or coyotes lurking in the area. Later in the afternoon, I went back down with the RTV (a quick get-away), a knife (for protection…this is where I know I need to take my gun handling to the next level…I didn’t feel comfortable handling the gun myself, since my husband was away), and my adult son, Will, came down with me to help….the dogs stayed home!! I wanted to check out this kill more closely.
Okay, so here is what is disturbing, or more correctly, something I’m a bit concerned about, something that just doesn’t make sense…to me…remember, I’m new to this game. Being from the city, I’ve seen wild animals hit by cars, fallen from trees, or maybe attacked by the neighborhood cat, but I’ve never seen the remains of a fresh human or predator hunted animal. At least two of the legs were dismembered and were part of the bury pile….what else was under there I am not sure, but I could see two legs/hooves sticking out. Lying on top of the bury pile (not buried) were the entire head, neck, spine and one leg still attached, although I don’t know how the one leg was staying attached as the hip area did not look like it was intact. Okay, here’s the weird part….the ribs were basically gone, except for a couple…there was absolutely no meat left on these exposed bones. The deer’s head was laying back, and the skin looked like it had been pealed back, rather than torn or chewed. Using a stick I moved the head for a better view, and the skull looked empty…the brain was gone. I had a co-worker tell me months ago that predators go for the brain…I guess it is very tasty to them. Again, the stomach had been removed and set aside (it was broken open); the intestines seemed intact and removed. It all just seemed so clean…was this an animal kill?? ***WARNING….THIS IS WHERE THE PICTURES GET GRAPHIC****
The deer’s stomach separated from the body.
This is how we found it…partially buried.
Close-up of exposed carcass.
Close up of neck, head area. See how skin is peeled back.
Another view of head / neck area.
So my questions are these… would a human hunter butcher a deer at the kill site? It is hunting season…I don’t want to think that someone hunted that animal on our property…but, I did hear very loud gunfire the night before around 12 or 1 in the morning…two shots. It was not that alarming because once in awhile a farmer will shoot at night to scare a coyote or something away from their farm. It is possible that it was shot on one side of the fence line and then the second shot killed it on our side. It is the coward’s way to hunt if that is what took place…they would have probably used the “Deer in the headlights” scenario with a very bright light shined in the deer’s face so it becomes almost paralyzed for the moment, long enough to get the shot….cowardly, and illegal!! Does it sound more like a predatory kill…and if so…what type…cougar or coyote? BTW, the deer seemed on the smaller side.
So today, we are going to dig a big hole and bury the remaining carcass. We have given the wildlife a week to get a good feed, now I need to get rid of it because Penni is more than enthralled with dragging leftovers up the hill and chomping on them….YUCK!!! She’s had her mouth washed out with soap a few times this week, as well as, the rest of her. I think her defining moment was bringing the skull up to the house and dropping it near the front door yesterday….ENOUGH IS ENOUGH…BLEH!!!! Here is a little clip from her deer adventures last year with a deer the sheriff shot on our property because it had been clipped by a car and was suffering in the cold….enjoy…she sure did!!!
She eventually did drop it!!!