Thursday, January 10, 2013

Deer for Dinner: Food Fights

Even red-tailed hawks couldn't pass up the opportunity to check out some free venison. 

While camera trapping,  I am always on the lookout for new game trails, dens, scrapes or sights, but there is almost nothing more valuable to a camera trapper than a carcass.  Carcasses are a surefire way to see what carnivores are around the area and who is hungry in the woods.

 This deer was no exception. Gray foxes, red foxes, feral cats, hawks, and raccoons all came to pay respects to their lost member of the wild, and to devour her guts.  

The "Food Fights" at this site were intensive standoffs between species.  Fox vs. fox became really interesting with foxes always standing up to bat each other's paws like kittens.  

Feral cat vs. fox even surprised me.  Obviously a fox can easily put a cat in its place, but this cat was persistent to the goal of scoring some food.  The cat and fox circled around the deer for over 3 minutes before lunging at one another.  One lunge was all it took though for the cat to realize it was no match for a dog relative.

Raccoons vs. foxes were quite intense.  Every time there was more than a single raccoon already at the deer,        foxes would take a few extra minutes to sniff out and check the scene more closely.  The two different animals battled at least 4 times in 13 days.
The foxes were victorious in 3 out of the 4 battles.

The dead deer was a productive site with 2 placed cameras and over 3,000 pictures in a period of 2 weeks. It's all skin and bones now but this site is my favorite camera trap site so far.

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