Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dump Sites

What do you do with a deer carcass once it's been butchered? Law dictates that, save for the offal, one cannot simply leave the remains of their kill in the (public) woods. It's a bit of a conundrum, because nature's scavengers will happily claim whatever is left, but it's a law nonetheless. All the same, deer carcasses, post-butcher, are often dumped everywhere imaginable: roadside ditches, parking lots, trailheads. Some were hunted legally; others were poached. I documented a bit of this a few years back, when I visited the Brighton Rec Area in Livingston County.

Of course, it happens here, too. At the end of April, in the span of just a few days, I bore witness to two separate dumpsites, both of them only a few miles from my house. The first, a small stream that crosses Silver Creek Road in Sands Township. The ribcages — two of them — were stripped of their flesh by scavengers, the bones bleached white in the sun. The smaller ribcage was all that remained of that carcass; the larger ribcage was connected to much of the deer's body. Its de-haired hide was submerged, flailing in the creek's current; the antlers had been cut away from the head. Judging by the amount of skin remaining, its attached forelegs, and sawed-off skullcap, I believe that this particular deer, and perhaps the other one as well, was poached.

A few days later, after fueling my Jeep, I noticed a crow feeding upon something in the empty lot adjacent to the gas station. We drove closer and realized that it was not one but two deer carcasses, dumped in a macabre embrace.

The smaller body was a young buck, antlers cut away from his skull; the other was a fairly large doe. They were likely dumped sometime over the winter and subsequently buried by the snow. 

With the snow finally gone, we see the ugliness of winter left behind — at least, until spring's vegetation grows and hides it once again.


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    Follow us on the journey Upstairs.