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Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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Caution - Graphic Photos
     Caution - Graphic Photos!
Deer Stuck in Our Gate
(and other unfortunate animal deaths...)

 

 

We're lucky to have a lot of wildlife in and around our Green Mountain backyard. Unfortunately this young doe got stuck in
our gate early Sunday morning, January 16, 2005. It was an obviously serious situation so we telephoned the City of
Lakewood to see if their animal control unit could help us out.

Lakewood Officer Riley arrived just a few minutes later and assured us every effort would be made to save this poor creature's life. Officer Riley radioed the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDW) for their assistance. A short time later CDW Officer McKee arrived and was also anxious to save the doe's life.

It was obvious to both officers that the doe's injuries, unfortunately, were so extensive that it wouldn't be able to survive even if we were able to free it from the gate. Both officers were caring professionals who brought comfort to us during a difficult situation. These pictures, and more text below, tell the rest of the story - I apologize for the graphic nature of these photos but that was the reality of this situation...

Click on any of these thumbnail images for a larger view:
(All photos were taken by me and Tami)

Deer Stuck in Our Gate Deer Stuck in Our Gate Deer Stuck in Our Gate Deer Stuck in Our Gate
Deer Stuck in Our Gate Deer Stuck in Our Gate Deer Stuck in Our Gate Deer Stuck in Our Gate
Roger's hand on deer
Roger's hand on the doe
Roger and Officer Riley
Roger & Officer Riley
CDW Officer McKee
CDW Officer McKee
Officer McKee takes aim
Officer McKee takes aim
Lakewood Animal Control Van
Animal Control Van
Colorado Division of Wildlife truck
CDW truck
Removing the hindquarters
Removing the hindquarters
Removing the hindquarters
Removing the hindquarters

We believe this particular doe was one of two yearlings we were able to watch grow up in our backyard this year. Never far from their mom, the two young ones enjoyed the "relative" safety of our backyard since it's free of dogs and human traffic. The two little ones probably grew accustomed to simply walking through the bars of the gate as their mother hopped over the entire fence (it's only about four feet tall). The one that got caught between the bars probably didn't realize it had grown so much since its last stroll through our gate...

Officers Riley and McKee helped keep the doe calm by asking all of us to stay clear of the area. Then, when the time came, they placed a cloth over the doe to keep her calm during her final moments. Officer McKee placed three careful shots, from her .22, through the cloth. The doe quietly collapsed and passed away.

I, myself have almost no experience with either hunting or animals in general. I watched as the life passed from the doe's eyes - keeping my hand on her side as a small gesture of warmth or comfort. When it came time to move what was left of her, through the gate, the still warm and almost life-like feel of her body both startled and moved me. Our plan, now, is to keep the gate open...

- Roger, 01-16-2005

Note: This particular doe was tested for Chronic Wasting Disease even though it appeared to be relatively robust and healthy. Since we didn't hear back from the officers we'll assume this deer was healthy since they assured us we'd be alerted to any problems. This concern over disease made the shooting a bit more difficult as the officer needed to keep from damaging certain parts of the brain that needed to be preserved for testing.

The U.S. government's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service describes Chronic Wasting Disease like this; "Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of deer and elk. To date, this disease has been found only in cervids (members of the deer family). First recognized as a clinical "wasting" syndrome in 1967 in mule deer in a wildlife research facility in northern Colorado, it was identified as a TSE in 1978. CWD is typified by chronic weight loss leading to death. There is no known relationship between CWD and any other TSE of animals or people."

Other Incidents:

Unfortunately there have been other deer incidents throughout our neighborhood over the years. After our own gate incident, a neighbor advised me that three years earlier, just across the street and three houses down, a deer fell into another neighbor's empty swimming pool. Apparently it languished there, with a broken leg, until it died. It was only discovered days later, for obvious reasons, after it had perished...

 

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Bird in the Fence:

Okay, I didn't want to turn this page into some kind of morbid picture show but I couldn't resist posting these bird pictures because the incident seemed so unusual to me. I was in our backyard, on a sunny summer Monday morning (I was working nights at the time) when I found a Blue jay that had died in between the wooden slats of the privacy fence that separates our yard from the neighbor's. The gap between fence slats is less than one inch (2.5 centimeters) so I have no idea how this poor creature was able to fit in between them to get stuck! After taking these photos I removed the body so that the fox and raccoons in our backyard could dispose of it - which they had done by the following morning...

Bird stuck in our fence - July 16, 2006 Bird stuck in our fence - July 16, 2006 Bird stuck in our fence - July 16, 2006 Bird stuck in our fence - July 16, 2006 Bird stuck in our fence - July 16, 2006

 

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Cars and deer don't mix!

 

Deer Carcass on Green Mountain - 03-21-2007
Green Mountain Deer Carcass

 

 

 

On Tuesday evening, March 20, 2007, Tami, Amber, Mike and I were coming home from pizza and witnessed yet another car hitting a deer alongside Green Mountain near our home. To the driver's credit, he stayed on scene until the police arrived even though there was no damage to his car and it was obvious he'd been speeding (very long skid marks in front of the deer). The deer was seriously wounded with a broken front right leg. After a while, it was able to hobble about 150 feet, up the side of Green Mountain, where the police finally caught up with it and shot it. [the driver didn't stay to watch the shooting and was released without a ticket or incident report]

I don't blame the police for reacting this way - they told me that this was the 20th deer, so far this season, that had been hit by a car off Green Mountain. Their feeling was that the deer was so severely injured that it would suffer a long, slow death hobbling up the hill - they were probably right...

Anyway, the next day (Wednesday, March 21st) I parked near the intersection and hiked up the hill to find the deer. There she was, exactly where they had shot her before me the night before (They used two rounds from a shotgun with what appeared to be rifled slugs...). What was especially amazing, as you can see from this photo I took at 13:00 (15 hours after the shooting) was that the deer had been completely gutted! All that was left, just those few hours later, were its head, rib cage, and one leg. My guess is that the foxes, and maybe a coyote, had their way with the carcass all night long and completely cleaned it out. I had no idea wildlife could act this quickly and so thoroughly - wow!

- Roger J. Wendell
March 21, 2007

 

YouTube Logo Click Here for my YouTube video of deer's ribcage from a roadside accident (caution - graphic!)

 

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Links:

  1. Animals and Wildlife
  2. Ant Web
  3. Backyard Wildlife
  4. Biology
  5. Deep Ecology
  6. Evolution
  7. Extinction
  1. Genetically Modified Organisms
  2. Green Mountain
  3. Hunting and Fishing
  4. Insects
  5. Organic Evolution 3.8 Billion years of it!
  6. Prairie Dogs!
  7. Snow Day

 

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