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deer decomposition

Old 12-29-2007, 08:03 PM
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Default deer decomposition

Two months ago, I shot a buck that I was unable to recover. Today I discovered a skull near where I ended my search. The skull was all bone (no hair or flesh), and the antlers looked to be knawed down to nubs. The skull did not appear bleached from sitting out in the elements.

I wouldlike to ask if this could be the buck I lost, if the condition of the skull is something you would expect after being in the woods for two months. Can anyone point me to any articles or web sites describingdecomposition timelineof deer?

Thanks in advance.
Rick C.
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:16 PM
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Default RE: deer decomposition

I'm kind of surprised that you found anything.
I've thrown gut piles out and found nothing at the same spot the next week.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same deer, I have some road kill deer on my property that someone dumped and they still had has some flesh left over but the skull was picked clean.
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:30 PM
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Default RE: deer decomposition

I have a hard time believing that the skull you found is from two months ago. I don't think the antlers would have been consumed in that short amount of time. But this is my opinion only, I'm certainly not an expert.
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:44 PM
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Default RE: deer decomposition

I watched a show yesterday and they time lapsed a doe to see how long it took to decompose and it only took 4 days. You could only find a few bones. It was pretty cool.
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Old 12-30-2007, 11:32 AM
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Default RE: deer decomposition

One thought on the antlers. If someone found the buck and cut the antlers off then the rodents could have chewed on what was left.

Still I'm not sure that it would be yours. I'd have mixed feelings about finding it so close to where you were looking. but if it was dead its out there somewhere like that. And lots of animals ate on it.
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Old 12-30-2007, 01:40 PM
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Default RE: deer decomposition

Decomposition depends on a couple of factors, a major one being weather (temp). I watched a roadkill doe last summer disappear down to a pile of bones over the course of a week. I also cut a head off of a nice buck in March that had been gutshot in December. That deer was almost completely intact.

Based on those findings, I wouldn't be overly surprised that the buck you hit could have decomp'ed to that point. The fact that the antlers are nothing but nubs makes me think it isn't though. Unless, like someone said, the buck was found by another and the antlers cut off, then chewed on. I didn't think antlers could be eatten down that much, but maybe if you have a high squirrel, porcupine, etc population it could be possible.
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Old 12-30-2007, 06:21 PM
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Default RE: deer decomposition

rats eat it

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Old 12-30-2007, 06:46 PM
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Default RE: deer decomposition

Deer don't decompose as fast as some other animals such as cattle or pigs. I imagine that deer was basically eaten by animals. You didn't say how big the antlers were, but fairly large antlers take about a year to get eaten by rats. I found a skull and nice sized rack of a buck shot by a neighbor about a year later and the skull was intact and the antlers had notches chewed in them by rats. Smaller antlers would be consumed faster, though.
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:57 AM
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Old 01-03-2008, 06:40 AM
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Default RE: deer decomposition

If there are a lot of rats, squirrels and rabbits in the area they could have chewed it up rather quickly. It depends on the population and the availability of other similar chewing pieces in the area.
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