Cold case - Oh deer, roe deer. (be advised - links to dead animal images!)

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Adze

Native
Oct 9, 2009
1,874
0
Cumbria
www.adamhughes.net
I stumbled upon a bit of a 'who dunnit' yesterday - a roe carcass on the shore of Coniston Water. Now, I have a theory, but I'd like to get the opinions of the board before I expound on it. There are links below to some of the pics I took, I'm not going to embed them in the thread as these can sometimes show in the 'New Posts' and 'What's new?' sections above, as well as on Tapatalk feeds.

If you're not offended by such stuff, continue below:

The carcass has been partially consumed and the majority of the internal organs are missing. It is headless, but the rest of the carcass appears intact excepting that which has been eaten. There are obvious marks where the neck has been gnawed/chewed. There were some insects, but no obvious larvae. I had a brief search for the missing part of the carcass, but couldn't find anything obvious. Some corvids were putting up a heck of a racket in the trees a bit away, I'd guess within 100 yards, but with my wife and 3 year old daughter in the canoe with me, I didn't have time to go tramping off looking for it. By the noise the birds were making, I'd say they were squabbling over something so it's not a bad guess it was the missing part(s) of the carcass.

My daughter and I paddled round the same section of Coniston water the day before at approx. 16:45h, there were other people in boats and a couple sun bathing on the shore about 50 yards from where I found the carcass - so the time frame is some time in the 12 hours after that, any later than 12 hours I think is unlikely due to the state of the carcass and this being a pretty busy area during the day.

Location:
Just North of Low Peel Near, East shore of Coniston Water - Google Earth screenshot below.

coniston-carcass-crop_zpsqm8ytahj.png


Carcass pic1

Carcass pic2

Carcass pic3

Carcass pic4

Detail of distance of carcass from the waterline

Nearby scat (less than 5m) - possible scavenger?

Go on then... let's hear your thoughts?
 

Stevie777

Native
Jun 28, 2014
1,443
0
Strathclyde, Scotland
My guess is it drowned now it's fox food. or it was Gypsies. My old racist dad blames everything on gypsies, though Syrian refugees have kinda taken the heat off them for the time being.

I'll stick by my first choice. Drowning victim.
 

mrmike

Full Member
Sep 22, 2010
287
1
Hexham, Northumberland
Around coniston it is likely to be a couple of dropbears. They live in the trees and ambush hunt as a pair, they are probably still feeding young.


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dewi

Full Member
May 26, 2015
2,644
5
Cheshire
Definitely dropbears. Been warning my lad for months about dropbears... they're vicious.

What has happened is the deer has been drinking, the dropbear also needed some liquid refreshment and an argument has followed. They've probably debated for a while until the dropbear has let out its blood-curdling call to the other dropbears which have descended on the deer and devoured it.

My worry is what has happened to Bambi!

My other worry is, is Wild Cat island really that close to the edge of Coniston? My teenage outings there now seem trivial as I remember it being a good canoe ride from the water's edge!
 

Chiseller

Bushcrafter through and through
Oct 5, 2011
6,176
2
West Riding
We all know that already, now lets stay on topic, don't want any thread drift, seriously, who\what killed the deer ?
so midges huh ? how's that staying on topic ? glass houses , stones.....

it was shot ....uncollected due to the nature if the shooting.....and carrion eating predators had a shore party. the drop bears didnt get invited....an thats when things got messy.....



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dewi

Full Member
May 26, 2015
2,644
5
Cheshire
Don't be silly... if it had been shot Columbo would have been on the scene.... the missing head points to dropbears. Dropbears I tell you!
 
Adze, something does not look quite right. It looks "too clean."

Were there signs of disturbance around the carcass?
Did you see signs of blood or entrails on the grass?
Was the severed head a clean cut? Teeth marks?

Did you find any drag marks? Any accompanying human footprints?

Very interesting...

- Woodsorrel
 

Adze

Native
Oct 9, 2009
1,874
0
Cumbria
www.adamhughes.net
Adze, something does not look quite right. It looks "too clean."

I thought much the same - there's something missing about it. Then again, there's lots of things which make sense - more below.

Were there signs of disturbance around the carcass?
Did you see signs of blood or entrails on the grass?
Was the severed head a clean cut? Teeth marks?

Did you find any drag marks? Any accompanying human footprints?

The ground at the site is slate and pebbles with a semi recent and gradual strand line - Coniston has been gradually losing water for weeks as there's been so little rain - so little to show drag marks or footprints. I'm afraid what you see in the pics is pretty much all that I found - if there had been significant blood marking of the surroundings, I'd definitely have photographed it. To my mind it doesn't look like a 'kill site' - no thrashing around and lots of blood congealed in the carcass.

What bothers me, is the degree of consumption (i.e. all the internal organs, most of the hind quarters, a considerable portion of the skin and even gnawing of the rib ends) for a single scavenger in the UK that's an enormous meal. If we assume we're talking about fox, badger and birds, why is there no sign of squabbling among the scavengers? Lastly, what removed the head? That's an odd thing for a UK scavenger to do surely?

I was asked by PM if about the possibility of the carcass being blown in across the lake - the weather here has been unusually calm and wind free for the last few days without rain, temperatures more or less perfect for rapid decomposition of a carcass. If the carcass was a blow in, it would likely have been in the water nearby when I paddled it the day before (it wasn't, we were actively looking for stuff in the water, feathers and the like and a deer would have looked like Gondola by comparison) and something would definitely have had to have helped it to the position it was found in - scavenger activity perhaps, but I think unlikely, it looked like it was eaten where it was found.

The lack of insect larvae, no noticeable smell of putrefaction and the general condition of the remaining meat on the carcass leads me to the conclusion that the animal died where I found it, but wasn't killed there by a predator.

They also mentioned the hair missing from the left foreleg and shoulder, which were it not for the lack of putrefaction, might have indicated an old carcass.

There are more pics in that folder than just the ones I've linked to, you can browse them all here. One shows a length of, possibly, baler twine entangled or tied around the base of a sapling. It was so well lined up with the carcass at first I thought it might have been part of the kill site. However, baler twine would make a pretty poor snare (although it could be used to secure one I suppose) and why wouldn't the trapper remove any evidence of it?

So, recap... that the meat on the carcass appears full of congealed blood, that dead dear don't move of their own accord, there's no apparent dragging and there was no wind to blow it in from the lake (and it's much too high up the strand line if that had happened anyway) all suggest the deer died where it was found. The missing hair from the shoulder doesn't look like it's an old carcass. There's a 24hr window between my visits to the site, almost exactly, but it's a very busy bit of the lake, people frequent that shoreline daily, hourly even, during daylight hours which I believe narrows the scavenger window to a more realistic 12hrs. No smell and no insect larvae, combined with the presence of some remaining offal (it's the heart I'm more or less certain) further suggest a recent carcass

Here's my thoughts - there's a road a few hundred yards away and a vehicle strike and drag would remove the hair pretty effectively and might not kill the deer immediately. A couple of hundred yards isn't very far even for a terminally injured roe, it's not impossible that this also ruptured the abdomen giving easier access to scavengers.

What bothers me about this are the following points:

Decapitation - that's no mean feat for our smaller scavengers and also begs the question 'why?'
Consumption - there's a lot of meat gone for a single scavenger, so without resorting to tinfoilhattery, we've to assume multiple scavengers
Disturbance - given the multiple scavengers above there's no sign of squabbling over the carcass, there's no scattering of parts and the only missing portions are the innards (possibly consumed) and the head.
 

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