Contrary Carnivory Continues

Nameless Creek: January Snow
Image by fred1st via Flickr

Yet another deer carcass located yesterday beyond Nameless Creek and up the ridge a bit, discovered yet again by the dog, who by the time we located him, had sampled a little of all the menu items: long bones, hair, and giblets, head and vertebrae intact.

And SHE would have it no other way than that we, with GREAT difficulty, negotiate the deep, soggy snow a quarter mile to the end of the pasture and deposit said carcass into a plastic banana-boat-shaped sled and pull the thing to the road, the up the road a quarter mile (sliding easily on our “scraped” road, no problem) to dump it where the dog will find it immediately the next time she lets him run free.

We’re hoping for hungry carrion feeders, winged and otherwise, to deal quickly with what’s left.

Meanwhile, the dog had us up in the wee-est hours, then again when I finally just got up at 330. He drug me down the dark road past the garden shed; he needed to poop, but hollered with the effort, bone slivers undigested causing not quite enough pain to prevent this same thing from happening, time after time after…

Meanwhile, freezing rain. But yesterday was wonderful–shirtsleeve weather in the mid-forties. There were bluebirds. The buds will swell and show color soon. We are almost almost-there.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Well, I guess my husband has reason for concern. He never lets our dog get ahold of a bone. I say he is a spoil sport, but he is adamant. Now I hear about poor Tsuga’s suffering and I feel more willing to forego the bones.

  2. Bones are bad karma for dogs. They can tear up the digestive track in short order.
    As for moving remains, laugh if you want, but that doesn’t happen in nature. That can upset the balance of things. Trust me, the coyotes, crows and buzzards WILL find it and very efficiently clean it up.
    Fred, you’re my buddy and I think the world of ya’ and love Ms. Anne as I would my sister. BUT, sometimes, you gotta stand your ground, not just because you want to win , but because there’s good reason to.

  3. I gotta agree with Jim about dogs and bones – I would be very worried about your dog getting a blockage from eating too much bone. I know of more than one dog that has gotten blocked from eating deer caracasses. In fact, I know of more than one labrador that has gotten blocked from eating deer caracasses just this winter alone. And with most blockages, the options are either surgery or a horrible death. It is nothing to mess with.

  4. We only removed the carcass from OUR land and proximity to the dog to avoid repeat performance, knowing the scavengers will take care of it, hopefully before the dog’s nose finds it on a favorable wind. Personally, I’d not let the dog run free, but one of us disagrees with that limit to the dog’s freedom, and so we repeatedly pay the price. The only way to prevent this from happening again is to never let the dog off the leash, which admittedly, in the midst of a thousand acres of wilderness, seems a pity. Maybe we could just EXPLAIN to the dog the self-destructive nature of his behavior and…