Sunday, August 02, 2009

Come Up the Country!

Death appears to surround us.

Sometime early yesterday morning, a white-tailed doe chose our orchard as the site of her Calvary. Betty awoke, looked out her window, and came to report a deceased deer a-next the Asian Pear.

I investigated, in the driving rain. Yep, no question about it. Rigor mortis had set in, the crows were conversing in salivating tones, buzzards were circling overhead, and flies were buzzing, as they will. Something must be done.

I called Animal Control. They were closed (it being Sunday), but their recorded message said to call the Sheriff's Office in case of an emergency. I did not judge this to be exactly an emergency, but called anyway. The man who answered, while kind, was not inclined to jump into his prowler and race over to help. Had the deer died on a public road, he said, the Virginia Department of Transportation would send a crew to remove it, but if on private land, there was not much he could do. We are a couple of hundred yards from a public road. His recommendation was to remove the carcass to some spot remote from the house, and let nature take its course.

I contemplated dragging the thing to the road, abandoning it there, and calling VDOT, but dismissed it as an affront to the neighbors. It might take days for VDOT to respond, and in the meantime, I'd have placed an Extremely Stinky Thing within nose-shot of three other households. No, the only polite thing was to follow the good Sheriff's advice.

We maintain a clearing in the southern quadrant for the kind of yard-waste that can't be composted -- tree-wrack, out-of-date Christmas trees, what have you -- and this is far enough away from the house that (I fervently hope) the stink won't waft here. I got out the tractor-mower, clapped a length of chain to its axle (easier said than done) and the other end to the deer's hind leg, and off we went. The dragging, while undignified for the deceased, was easy enough. She wasn't particularly heavy.

I left her there, with a blessing and a... Can we atheists be said to pray? Whatever it was, I tried to be as respectful as I could under the circumstances. I don't anticipate going back there until her bones are bleached dry.

And the goddamned dogs know their boundaries. Or at least, they'd better. Or there'll be hell to pay.

10 comments:

Yodood said...

You're sooooo civilized

blue girl said...

I love the way you write, Jeddie.

Carl the Big Fool said...

Shouldn't you have called your local hunting-season butcher? Them deer is good eats, you know. Or was it a bit too late for that?

Neddie said...

A gracious (not to say civilized) bow in your direction, BG!

No, Carl, I think the instinct not to eat meat that has died of natural causes is still strong in me. (I have no way of knowing how the animal died -- for all I know, it could have been rabies.) Also, from what I understand of deer hunting (which is not much) the animal needs to be field-dressed nearly immediately or hormones make it taste pretty awful.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm....rabies.

You said 'nose-shot'. Heh heh.

mac said...

“And the goddamned dogs know their boundaries. Or at least, they'd better. Or there'll be hell to pay”

Hey Neddie,
My lab loooves the cool side of a good gut-pile. It's the only time she manages to erase the horrid, fabreezy smell from the baths we give her.

windhunde said...

Those leg joints should have loosed up enough by now for the pups to detach and bring a nice present home for dad.

Neddie said...

Back years ago, before we got the invisible fence, I came home one hot summer day to find Ring Ting Ting ecstatically chewing a length of spine she'd picked up somewhere. It was only half-rotted, so must have been delish. "Come on, girl," I said to her, ""Let's go give Mommy a big kiss!

Candlefiregirl said...

Had a similar experience back when living on a small farm in Virginia, before moving up to Snowville. One afternoon, after discovering the doggies gnawing on the bones of some poor demised creature, I went on a search. I found the unfortunate deer in our woods toward the back of the property. It has probably been shot nearby and got away from the hunter and dragged itself to die in peace. Such is life (and death) in the country.

J. Andrew Boyle said...

Lucky. All I found on the last Scrub Jay count were a few vertebrae and a tooth.

T'was deer, though...