Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Carcass Season

Beneath each new layer of melted snow lies a host of animal carcasses that have been hidden through the winter. This is my first winter in Gunnison and I was wondering if this was normal. Some of the locals informed me that this is one of the worst winters they have seen in terms of snow and road kill. It is not only road kill though. On a recent trip to the Lake Fork of the Gunnison we saw dead deer and elk sprawled across fence lines. Although this looks like a gruesome way to die, the living wildlife don't seem to mind as they continue to feed around their deceased brethren. The hard winter is evident in the deer that endured. They are thin and sluggish and have not moved far from the road yet. With the open ground they are eating constantly not even lifting their heads from the feed when cars come whizzing past. It may take a few years for the herd populations to rebound. Hopefully they feed well all year and catch a break next winter.

Recent snow melt uncovered this fawn near the Gunnison River.

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