Posted by: Kirsten | Thursday, 10 January 2008

Deer Prudence: Think of it as an educational item…

Deer CrossingThey say there ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.  Well, dear… I found something in the meadow today, and I brought it home and please don’t scream when you look in the utility sink… it’s for the kids.

I was out checking one of my geocaches that had recently turned up missing, and besides seeing a groundhog scamper away from me a breakneck speed, I also stumbled onto a white-tailed deer skull with both antlers still intact.  I brought it home since it was entirely bug-scoured and nothing but bone and a bit of dirt and mold from being outside for awhile.   

I looked up some references on the web for how to clean and preserve animal skulls, but most of them start with “First, scrape off all the remaining flesh…” and include such gems as “…after the head has been soaked, the brain tissue should be broken apart or ‘scrambled’…”  Eeek.  This one was way beyond those steps, so I just improvised and decided to give it a good soapy soaking after a couple good dousings of Spray & Wash. 

The nose is a bit broken up and the lower jaw is missing in action, but there are plenty of teeth still in the upper row.  I also just had a dentist appointment this afternoon and got a new toothbrush, so the old one in the medicine cabinet was now scrubbing some Odocoileus virginianus molars. Note to self — toss toothbrush after deer teeth are clean.

My son already brought home a mule deer antler and some articulated cow vertebrae last summer from the area where we were collecting fossils, so my wife shouldn’t go into complete shock — but those antlers sticking up out of the bubbles in the utility sink could definitely catch someone off guard. Let’s just hope my wife sees the educational value of having such a specimen on hand for close study. After all, this is how Teddy Roosevelt got his start as a kid with his self-proclaimed “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History” which was actually his bedroom.  How can I deny my own children the wonders of nature?

More rationalizing… Since we can’t collect things like this at National Parks, I had to take it.  It might be our only chance to come across a real herbivore skull that didn’t cost us $59.95 plus shipping and handling from  Oh wait — I think she’s home already.  And I was hoping to have it all cleaned up and out of sight before she got home.  Drat.

Me: “Hi… (insert pleasantries here) Hey, remember my geocache over behind the department store?  Well, I was wandering around trying to find where it went and I found something that I brought home and it’s actually in the utility sink right now, so don’t be surpri…”

Wife: “Oh God, I hope it’s not some critter.”

Me: “Well… it used to be.”



  1. LOL! Great find!

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