Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bones

Another absolutely gorgeous day. It feels weird to have a 68 degree day in January.

First-Thank you all for your insight into the sheath issue. I have Rip on antibiotics to get the swelling down, it does seem to be coming down a bit already. Rip can extend his penis out and is urinating fine. Whew!! He is a bit tender. Stephanie-I thought about sticking my head under there to see if it smelled and thought better of it-LOL. But I did stick a finger in and wiggle it around. It doesn't seem to smell any worse than regular smegma. I didn't feel anything in there either, so am hoping that it is just dirt and gunk from all the wind we have had the last week. You all would not believe the dust!!

Now, stop and think about that for a minute...only cowgirls can appreciate being able to stick your fingers into an animal's private parts and smell them...LMAO!! No wonder people think we are weird!!

The morning was productive...my afternoon? A bit less...at least in the horse department. Remember all of those beautiful bucks I was so enthused about last fall?

Yeeeee-aaaaa...not so much now. The deer population is really out of control in this part of the country. It's not like they exactly have to "rough" it. They drink out of the horse tank and live in the hay bales...

They destroy much more than they eat. Either they paw it out and spread it around for bedding or they jump on top of the bales and urinate on them. L.O.V.E.L.Y!!!

Mother Nature has stepped in the last few years though and is doing her best to control the population. First came the "Blue Tongue"-a disease that causes their throats to swell shut. You find the carcasses around any sort of water. It's a nasty death!! Now they are succumbing to "Chronic Wasting" disease...

Knee-deep in hay and they basically starve to death. The last two years the fawns started dying off from a bacteria in their gut. Basically, they just lay down and die. I'll spare you all any pictures of the cutie-patootie baby carcasses I have had to cart off.
These two does died of the Chronic Wasting disease. They make about 10 that we have had to drag away from the house. But they aren't just dying around the house, this one was in the middle of a dam about a mile north of the ranch house...
The dogs showed up at the barn with a fresh shed(a buck antler that naturally falls off this time of year), so I thought I would walk the draw closest to the house and see if I could find any more. I found a lot more deer skeletons...
This one is a buck. See his little "devil" horns on his skull? That is how you can tell if it is a buck or a doe skull. I found another 4 or 5 skeletons on my walk.

I also found this...

A coyote managed to snatch a grouse. I found 3 separate feather piles. I think the grouse need to roost a little higher. What do you think?

And lo and behold...I hit the jackpot!! It is very rare to find both antlers in the same spot...

See the dark streaks in the grass? I was walking along and almost walked right over the top of them. Good thing it wasn't a rattlesnake-sheez!! I was looking so hard, I almost missed what was right in front of my face-LOL.

My haul for the day...

A cow pelvis bone(dang thing has to be over 20 years old), the pair of 4x4 antlers, 1-3 tined antler(that is the one the dogs brought me), 2-forked antlers and a spike. Not bad for an hour walk.

But this little thing...

I picked up just to show you all what a porcupine skull and tooth looks like. See how long that tooth is? Porcupines are like other rodents...their front teeth grow continuously. Whew...I am out of shape. I can feel that walk in my legs for sure!!

And as promised...
Two not very bony horses. I wanted to jump on ole' Blue boy and go for a ride, but the hillsides are slick with the ice melting these last couple of warm days. We get one more nice day tomorrow and then it is back to winter for us....Bleeecccchhhh!!!

21 comments:

Pony Girl said...

I just love antlers!
There use to be a lot of deer near my parent's old place. Tourists would stop and take pictures of "Bambi" but to the locals they were just a nuisance, eating people's gardens and giving their dogs something to chase.
I do think deer having amazing eyes, though. I find it strange they always develop all of these strange diseases. The ones at my parents' would often have all kinds of weird skin conditions like mange. Does kind of put a damper on the "fairy tale" of cute Bambi, doesn't it, LOL!

Leah Fry said...

I wonder if that Chronic Wasting Disease is an auto-immune disorder, or the deer version of HIV or like a thyroid thing.

I guess if the population is not controlled artificially (hunting) nature will find a way to take care of it. Still, knee deep in hay and starving to death sounds like an awful way to go.

kdwhorses said...

ROTFL~only cowgirls can stick there fingers and smell body parts! Oh is that why they think we are weird??? I was going to ask if it had a smell, just plumb forget! Glad it is going down and nothing was felt. Keep me posted!

Great haul! When we went to San Angelo I found horse bones, ram bones, misc. deer sheds, etc. I have them all over our front porch! Of course I try and look everytime we ride somewhere for different things~in the house I have cow horns, turtle shells, etc. I wonder if that is why we don't have alot of company?!?! Between the sticking & smelling and then bones! Oh well!

Wow on the deer situation! Are they protected where you live? Or not alot of hunters? That doesn't sound like a pleasant way to go. But tearing up the hay and peeing on it, not cool either!

Nice horses you got there!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Most of the hunters that come to this area are from somewhere else and are here to hunt bucks. Very few take does. My mom has tried to get my brother and his friends to use their doe tags at her place for the last couple of years-they never seem to get around to it.

Now-I'm not sure that I would want to eat any of the meat from most of the ones I see around the house.

She filed a nusiance complaint with the game warden. If they do not come out and destroy a certain percentage within a couple of weeks, I can start picking the obviously thin ones and do it myself.

The game fish and parks does not like to confirm any of the diseases because that would imply over-population and that would mean they are not managing the numbers like they should. Hmmmm...does that sound like another government agency I was just talking about? People fail to realize that Mother Nature can and will protect herself. She is not necessarily kind and benevolent.

ezra_pandora said...

lol!!! As soon as you said you stuck your finger in there and wiggled it around, I was rolling on the floor. Now I know why I have mares. lol!! We had one gelding and it was always a fight on who had to clean him because HE would fight and it was not fun because everyone would come out soaked in the end. I know it's all just fact of life stuff, but it is kind of embarassing around people you don't know. When we were trying to clean him the very first time after we got him, the boarding barn we were at was doing a little tour of the grounds. With little kids and old people, all non-horsey. That was not cool.

Wow. You need to put a little shingle out for nature walks or something. With all you find and all you know, that would be awesome learning for some little school agers. I don't know about all the dead deer though, I can barely handle dead coons. I suppose if it was a normal occurrence, one might get used to it. lol

Stephanie said...

Ya I love walking for antlers too! In my neck of the woods - you really gotta be quick though cause mice and chipmunks and squirrels like to chew on the and in just one season they can be all gone.

My dad has a giant collection of antlers in the upstairs part of the barn. It gets bigger and bigger every year, he keeps saying that he's gonna make something out of them - but really it's almost on the verge of hoarding behavior. I will get a picture of his collection and post it someday.

gtyyup said...

Nice haul for sure! We haven't had the diseases around here much. Hunting is very big...but as you said, they take the bucks and there are huge herds of does.

Glad that Rip seems to be on the mend too!

Andrea said...

Blue looks fabulous!! Sigh......

And wow, you sure do get a lot of dead animals up there???? But really neat finds!! And it's interesting how the deer are dying off. They do get out of control!!

cdncowgirl said...

Chronic wasting disease has been in the news up here too. All I know about CWD is that it is similar to 'mad cow disease'. But there is no conformation that it can be spread to people.
Any idea if it can be spread to horses? I hear elk and deer, elk and deer but no real mention of livestock.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Cdn-I wished we could get a little "wasting away" going on some of these beasts...I kid. I am presuming that horses and cows do not and cannot get CWD-since it has been around for a few years now and no livestock has died from it...Of course, the neighbor might like to blame his starving cows on it...hmmmm, me thinks if he would stick around his ranch and open water for them, they might not be "wasting" away. But that is a tale for another day.
As far as people being able to contact it, so far no reports. I am careful to always wear gloves while handling the carcasses.

SunnySD said...

Very cool! (Not the chronic wasting disease bits.) The bones, etc. And I snickered my way through the wiggling fingers - grin - I checked sheaths on the two geldings yesterday after seeing your pictures, and stripped out a few beans. It's about time for sheath cleaning. Should have done it today, darn it, since you're right about that whole back-to-winter thing.

Love the porky skull! And are you lucky to have gotten to the antlers before the porcupines did - they usually make them disappear in pretty short order.

Vaquerogirl said...

Bec- My vet says you can tell a lot about a girl just by looking at her horses penis! Lil Mama's Bob has one that is clean as a cafeteria! Desi- not so much!
Too bad about the deer, but nature has ways of making up for the things taht are happenng around us- don't you think? Read "Earth Abides" sometime, it's a cool novel on that very subject!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That brings back memories. The house I grew up in was near three mountain lots that were too steep to build on. I could climb up them and get into the hills and find all kinds of bones. I loved trying to figure out what kind of animals the bones came from. It was nice being that close to nature, but we had to keep our cats indoors or the coyotes would get them, and we had to keep our rose bushes behind wire or the deer would eat them.

Lil Mama said...

We are very lucky not to have Chronic Wasting in CA. The Hunter go's out of state a lot. We are not allowed to bring back any bone, brain or spinal colomn. (Antlers are allowed.) He says CWD is a lot like mad cow. vera sad.
If you ever want someone to come "harvest" some of your deer let me know. I know a guy.

Train Wreck said...

Yikes,I have heard of CW, I think they found a few deer here that had it. Hopefully the weak will die soo, and you won't have to continue packin dead carcasses off. I missed comen over, and seeing what youv'e been up to? I am glad I have a mare!

Danielle Michelle said...

Man I walk all over the woods as a forester in the summer and I NEVER find that many sheds in one day.

I can't believe how bad of a deer problem you have. That's crazy. Glad your horse is feeling better though, never a real fun job to try and fix up...

Send some of that spring weather this way!

Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

I have to say I agree with you totally about Mother Nature stepping in when things get out of hand. I was raised to look at the world through "Mother Natures" eyes and understand the harsh realities of life (in the wild). I think it is important that kids learn this perspective b/c it teaches them about natures balance.... to often these days it seems like the bleeding hearts get their way and the animals suffer for it.

I was away and missed the sheath thing but had a good fit of giggles over your "finger in/wiggle around/sniff" ONLY horse people!!! lol

Jenn said...

Doesn't your state have a nuisance law? Around here I can shoot deer any time of year if they are on my land destroying crop or hay. We don't have CRW in this part of Illinois, thank goodness, but I know the northern part does have CRW and has regular hunts to clear out the diseased ones.

Your ponies look about as "non thin" as two of mine do! They need to get back into regular work as badly as I do. But I don't think they care that they are on the pudgy side, they are happy with their noses buried in hay and not having to work due to the nasty footing!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

They do Jenn-My mom filed a complaint with the game warden. If they do not respond within two weeks, we can start shooting the ones that actually live in the hay. Unfortunately, more will just move in, there are about 200 living right around the house. There are about 300 living up on our only "field". So I thought what I would do is just scout and shoot the ones that are obviously suffering from CWD. There are about a dozen or so that I can easily identify that are not going to make it much longer.
I tried to get my mom to file the complaint a month or so ago, because now, the bucks have shed their antlers and there is no way to tell them apart. So I think shooting the starved looking ones is the most humane thing I can do, it doesn't matter whether they are bucks or does-they aren't going to make it to next hunting season anyway.

And to be real honest with anyone-if anyone wants to apply for doe tags in western SD(especially Mellette county), I can take you to just about any ranch around here and the owners will be happy to let you shoot the does. It doesn't work the same for the bucks though. This area is well known for producing large bucks and the landowners expect to be paid for the big boys.

Jenn said...

Wow, that's a lot of deer hanging out at your place! We have a LOT of hunters in our area and our deer population is well under control. I agree, shooting them is the most humane thing to do, CWD (not CRW! my brain was in fried mode on my first post...) is a nasty, nasty disease.

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm jealous of your weather even if it is only fleeting. I'm wearing so many layers out to the arena, I can hardly walk.....it much more like a waddle. Getting on a horse takes a crane.

You're right about poking fingers in private parts, that does make us weird!

You sure have a lot of critters roaming around your place. Must make life pretty interesting.