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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Poison Water guzzlers--black-tailed deer

Three black-tailed deer stepped over the boards to drink in the confined space of the spring. 

The one that caught my eye was this doe.  

She has notched ears, which make her identifiable in the field. 

She also has scars on her neck, and they are not completely healed.

I believe there are two punctures on the left side (the right side of the screen) -- there's a large tear at the base of the neck, and a smaller one midway in the track of missing hair.

The angle of the picture doesn't show the right side of the neck very well.

If there is a puncture, you can't see it. 

The skin was also torn across the neck.  

Here's a different view.

In the third picture, you can see scars on the upper left leg and shoulder. 

Any opinions out there as to what might have caused these wounds?


Kirk said...

Couple of thoughts on what might have caused the scars on that doe. First thought is maybe barbed wire, I know some deer will crawl under fencing and she may well have done so. The other possibility is mountain lion may have ambushed her but she was able to escape.
Idid see a deer up here in Maine who had been gored by a buck on her abdomen. She healed up fine but carried scars.

Roy said...

I would have to say mountain lion as well. From what I've heard about cougar attacks, they love to ambush, attack from above (tree limb, rock ledge) and their preferred attack point is the neck.

Great shots.

Mo said...

I know Bobcats will sometimes try for deer. We have one by our place that is pretty successful at it - especially with does and fawns. Those wounds look similar.

Against a cougar (bigger) I don't think that deer would have had much of a chance to escape. On the ranch next to a good friends house a Cougar jumped a fence with a calf in its mouth. Impressive critters.

GREAT shots.

suek said...

I agree with the cat-of-some-kind vote. Also agree with Mo that it seems unlikely that it was a cougar - unless maybe a young one that's inexperienced and not full grown? Or just maybe one of those weird deals where the cat's timing was off somehow and the lucky doe got away. She must have been pretty young as well as lucky - it would take a month or so for the hair to grow back in like that, I'd guess.

And yes..._definitely_ great shots!

Nick said...

You really do awesome work! Keep it up!

Mr. Smiley said...

Hi Chris

I'd go for an accident of some sort--barbed wire or some other mishap.

I might say that your photos are the best of their kind. Truly magnificent.

Owlman said...

I think that if a predator large enough to inflict that much damage
did it the deer would be less likely to survive. I agree with the accident theory.
What camera are you using at this site?

Camera Trap Codger said...

Thanks for the input. Its always hard to know for sure what caused those injuries, but they can make a ho-hum picture a lot more interesting. All these pics were made with Sony s600 (6MP) cameras.

Unknown said...

I think it was a young cougar that attacked the deer.