The recovery team had their hands full on this one. Actually, their hands were quite empty and that was the challenge.
When we received the carcass of 8666, we had to look really hard to see it. The only thing that landed on our necropsy table was a pair of jaw bones and a radio collar.
It made for a quick necropsy that’s for sure. Fawn 8666 was captured May 20th, just prior to the peak of fawning season and weighed over 8 lbs. Nine days later its collar gave out the telltale signal.
Since we had little to work with in the lab, we went straight to the field report.
The field report told us what we all suspected. Yogi’s not-so-neat cousin was the likely culprit.
The scene was textbook –
• Black bear tracks
• Black bear scat
• Deer hair and blood on leaves
• Little left of carcass (double ü)
• Site generally a mess
This bruin even cached the tiny jaw bones making our recovery team work even harder. They were discovered in a depression in the ground covered with dirt. Not sure why he bothered. It sure wasn’t worth the effort on his part.
I believe we have an air tight case on this one even without the DNA swabs.
I wish all our cases were this easy.
-Jeannine Fleegle, biologist
PGC Deer and Elk Section
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