Sunday, February 21, 2010

Deer Feet (Or: It's Hard to Find Dead Animals in the Winter)

I've wanted to update this blog at least once a week (twice a week is better!) but sometimes, life gets in the way and you have to move to a different apartment with a five-day notice. I wasn't able to get outside at all this past week to photograph anything, and even if I had, I probably wouldn't have found any dead creatures. It's challenging to do this project in the winter: between it snowing and animals not wanting to move around much, dead creatures are pretty scarce! Which, you know, is good for the animals but tough for me when I'm doing this project both for Senior Show and for a portfolio in my Photography BFA Seminar course. I did take some photographs today, but I'll do an entry about them at a later date... maybe in a few months.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, a classmate pointed me in the direction of a "dead animal" at the trailhead of the Forestville Basin area, so Steph and I decided to investigate. What we found was the flayed skin of a deer (looking much like how April Deer appeared) with its legs attached. Scattered along the trail were shards of the ribcage, presumably the result of the trail grooming machine hitting the skeleton. There wasn't much for me to work with, so I focused on photographing one of the deer's feet: its hooves were so perfect, and the fur was so soft.

How often do you really get to see the underside of a deer's foot? It was pretty amazing to see how worn the hooves were, and I never really realized that the dew hooves are so pointy.

The deer in Marquette have much thicker winter coats than the deer downstate -- and for obvious reasons. This particular individual (I'll never know if it was a doe or a buck) had very thick, soft fur.

I visited the same site a week later, and what was left of the body was barely visible beneath a recent snow.

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