Yesterday, I went back to the Hoyles Mill Conservation Park to check up on the snails I had flagged back in November during our the day after Thanksgiving field trip.
The yellow signs posted all along the periphery of the park warned the visitors of "managed deer hunts". If they are hunting what lives in the park, that's not much of conservation, is it?
Obviously, the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is quite abundant around here. So, it wasn't too much of a surprise to run into some scattered deer bones soon after I entered the park.
I was excited when I also spotted the skull. Alas, its antlers had been chopped off, perhaps, by some bone-hungry scavengers. I decided it wasn't worth taking it home.
What was really surprising was to run into a 2nd skull a half an hour later. This one still had its antlers.
Just like the previous deer skull, this too had a strong sulfurous smell. Deer skin, bones, marrow or some other body part must have a high content of sulfur that gets released during decomposition. It is now soaking in a pan of hydrogen peroxide.
The left antler of this deer seems to have a malformation. Leave a comment if you can offer an explanation.
Did I say I had gone to the park to check up on snails? That will be the subject of tomorrow's post.