Disassembling A Deer: Final Stage

“I’m having a crow problem,” a friend of mine recently emailed me.

The photo he sent showed a murder of the black birds hopping, chowing down and otherwise being raucous just inside the forest line of his 5-acre spread outside Granite Falls, Wash.

They were gathered around what remained of the carcass of a 5×5 muley my friend had shot the previous weekend in Okanogan County. He’d finished butchering it himself at home, and now the bones were in the final stages of disassembly.

carcass 1
(ERIC BELL)

He’d left the backbone and ribs in front of his trail cam, which covers an area of converging game traces and trails he’s carved out of an old clearcut.

Besides the crows, a coyote and bobcat also came a’ calling the night he put the carcass out, as well as the next.

carcass 2
(ERIC BELL)
carcass 3
(ERIC BELL)
carcass 5
(ERIC BELL)

Pretty interesting, I thought, but it got even more interesting when this morning he fired me another round of images.

The pattern, I realized more clearly, was the gradual disintegration of the carcass as animals tugged it first this way, then that way, breaking off bits and hauling them elsewhere for a thorough gnawing. Their poo will further distribute nutrients from the deer into the forest (though one day far in the future may confound a coprologist: “This wasn’t Odocoileus hemionus range.”)

carcass 6
(ERIC BELL)
carcass 7
(ERIC BELL)
carcass 8
(ERIC BELL)
carcass 9
(ERIC BELL)
carcass 10
(ERIC BELL)

I don’t know how many more mouths that Methow muley will feed,  but so far so good says my friend about the table quality of that buck, aged at 51/2 years old.