Friday, January 03, 2020

A Deer Carcass is Recycled

I stopped to scan the fields near where I’ve been taking pictures of “my” deer herd, and looked down the slope to see this mortality.

It could be vehicle impact, or it could have been gut-shot by a hunter. Whatever happened, this little doe staggered some distance to die, and it was not a pain-free death. Very little death is pain-free in forest and field.

This deer carcass is not old. It’s been unseasonably warm, but it looks as if there has only been predation. I suppose it could be a coyote kill. It certainly looks like something bigger than a fox might have been gnawing on those ribs. Hard to tell.

Whatever’s been feeding on this carcass has first gone for the soft stuff — intestines, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas. That’s normal; it’s very difficult to open up a carcass with teeth alone, and it’s common for a predator to start at the sphincter and eat their way inside, devouring the softer, high-fat, stuff first.

I may set up a camera trap here if I can dig one up from my packing boxes and get it working. I’d like to know if we have coyote in town.


musher said...

Gut shot? Very small deer to travel any distance once shot. The missing back hams often mean predation by canines. Coyotes or dogs are most likely, however dogs do not always eat what they kill.

tuffy said...

i didn't know there was a rural or semi-rural area that DIDN'T have coyotes!

Melinda Isabel Virginia Winzeler said...

Is it normal to find clearly identifiable dung with the carcass? And in the spot it can be seen in your picture?