Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Ones That Got Away - Part 1

Every now and then I come across a great potential bone find. You know, a dead animal. Roadkill, natural death, hunting remains, death by illness, dog treats or in some other form.

Back in April of 2006, I was driving through the back woods near my home with my work crew to do some field work on the Suwannee River. I was driving my car separate because I'd be heading home before the research was done.

Looking over to the livestock pasture of a local rancher I spotted this:

BONELUST - Dead Cow 5

Right then I knew I'd be back to get photos and try to see if it would be possible to return on a later date for skeletal remains.

BONELUST - Dead Cow 2
Click on photos for larger versions.

I got these photos heading home. Amazingly it didn't reek of death. I wondered what had caused this great beast to die but didn't want to chance getting shot to get a closer look.

BONELUST - Dead Cow 1

Beyond this cow were tiny donkey grazing in the same pasture, and just to the right of this guy was another pasture of cattle.

BONELUST - Dead Cow 3
Note the ear tag.

I found it interesting that it seemed to have died in one of those holes I've seen horses and cattle roll around in. Strangest was that there were no vultures there and not even any circling above. That's unheard of.

The fur patches missing and the way the fur lays says it had been laying there for maybe a week already, and been rained on.

BONELUST - Dead Cow 4

Barbed wire fence = private property. But still, it would be easy to jump this spot to return for the remains but I imagine I wasn't the only person that thought the same thing. It was gone when I came back by.

I'm going to assume the rancher or someone in his family had first "dibs", on that beautiful skull anyway.

I hope to get another horned cattle skull like this again one day. I had one as a child from my grandfather's farm. But it mysteriously vanished along with the rest of my collection one Summer.