Saturday, April 3, 2010

Returning to February Deer

Yesterday evening, Steph and I swung by the Forestville Basin area to check up on February Deer. I was half-expecting the body to be gone, but it wasn't -- still, there hadn't been much there to begin with. I'd hoped that after the snow melted, more of the body or skeleton would turn up, but there was no such luck. The flayed hide, with its three legs attached, was still where we'd last seen it in early February, and save for the flies and other insects that were crawling all over the fur, nothing had changed. In addition, it was especially obvious that a trail grooming machine had, in fact, obliterated the ribcage of the skeleton. Shards of bone were scattered many yards down the path; it was actually rather depressing to look at. Between the flies and the destroyed skeleton, I took a few quick photos documenting the scene.

February Deer (April) II

February Deer (April) I

There were a few dirty, broken bones laying beside the carcass -- a leg bone and a couple of ribs. I find it especially odd that there were no vertebrae present; there was no pelvis, and no skull. I suppose it's very likely that coyotes dragged off the head of the deer, or its torso, but the fact that there were broken ribs on the road and no broken vertebrae is still a mystery. Part of me also wonders if the deer was poached for its antlers, or if it was hit by a car and its head then severed for a trophy. This is one of those cases where we'll likely never know what happened.

It's now very much spring in Marquette (it was 80° F yesterday, and the peepers were singing in the evening); the snow is almost completely absent from the landscape and dead animals are resurfacing for the first time in months. As much as I'd like to get out there and photograph everything I can find, it's also the last month of my college career, and it's time to really get working on last-minute assignments and papers. Senior show is being installed in less than two weeks, and I'll be sure to provide some updates about that.

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