Saturday, November 17, 2007

Life as a Ranger

The photos in this post are very graphic. If you have a weak stomach or prefer not to see a dead deer who has been gnawed upon STOP. If you are an EMS geek, go forth!

Last night after driving 6 hours with a 30 minute break to pick up two vehicles, I was approached by the intern who said "I guess we are dealing with a dead deer tomorrow". I said I had no idea what you are talking about, but if the boss said so, guess we are heading to check it out. I knew there had been a report of a dead deer near the entrance to the Balconies Cave.

When I went into the office, I told Boss that I thought when I returned to PINN that I would not be having to haul carcasses around like the last time I worked here. Guess I was wrong.

So this morning, Chris and I started out the Old Pinn Trail toward the caves. We had a lot of different reports--it was in the cave, it was on the east side, it was on the west side, etc. We located the little guy right before the cave on the east side. It was laying in some water. It was very obvious that it had recently been eaten upon as there was a fresh mark on its right hind quarter. I immediately looked up the slope expecting to see the mountain lion. Wanting desperately to see the mountain lion. I am not kidding when I looked about every minute to that slope.

I decided to drag him up the slope and place behind some bushes. My thinking had two-fold...1. Visitors would not be able to see it and 2. Visitors would most likely miss the cat chowing on it and not get freaked out. So I told Chris my plan and we started up the slope to check the area out. I heard him say "hi kitty". Now when I think Kitty out in the woods, I am not thinking of Sharon's house cats, I am thinking large mountain lion. My hand quickly went down to my gun. Then I saw the bobcat staring at us. He/she was probably wondering why the heck we were messing with the deer it had just been chowing on. Surprisingly, it did not immediately run away, but stayed and watched us for a while. And of course I had already snapped the dead deer photos so I put my camera away.

We climbed back down, slipped on latex and leather gloves, and I reached into the water and pulled up a leg. It was then we realized that it did actually have 4 legs as initially we thought the front left had been chewed away. We drug him up the slow and placed him nicely behind the bushes and climbed back down. I tried to coaxed Bobby back, but it didn't happen.

Within minutes of finishing our activity visitor upon visitor started to pass us. And to think not one of them knew a dead deer was up there. And when Bobby or Kitty came to eat the rest of it, they probably wouldn't see them either.

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