Sunday, October 14, 2012
The carcass disappears
I was absent-mindedly amusing myself, tossing Fred's stick into Hendrick's flume, when I found myself looking at a carcass in the water, a fawn in winter coat.
When I pulled my camera from the bag, I inadvertently flipped my pruning saw into the water, and soon realized that Fred wasn't about to heed my desperate commands to fetch it.
As I watched my saw drift into a riffle I jumped in and rescued it myself.
That's when Fred finally noticed the drowned deer and looked at me as if to say, "What now?"
The carcass was without injuries, but it couldn't have drowned here; it must have happened a few miles upstream where the flume's vertical sides channel much swifter and deeper water.
I heaved it up on the far bank, dragged it into a patch of thimbleberry canes, but decided against setting a camera nearby. Too many people with dogs.
The carcass was untouched on the following two days, but I assumed it would be gone when I returned from a four-day trip to Mono County with Random Truth and Jake.
Not so. It was still there yesterday afternoon, day seven.
Though unscathed, it had ripened enough to call in a vulture, but the bird hadn't started its work.
Today the carcass was gone, but no scraps and whitewash told of sated vultures.
Fred's carefree approach was soon checked.
He sniffed about cautiously, then stopped in his tracks, raised his hackles, and growled and barked with agitation.
There was no drag trail, and it's my guess that a bear packed it off.
It took seven days for the vulture, and eight days for a bear to find it.