While at the kitchen sink, I saw a stellar jay with a chunk of something in its mouth. Looking towards the barrel, where Buck’s head was (thinking the jay was stealing some meat), I saw that the head was gone. Upon further investigation, Buck’s hide (that was in another barrel close to the house) was gone as well.
The mystery deepened.
After comparing notes with the family, I learned that a deer leg that we keep in a flower-pot had been disturbed, and that my daughters had heard some unusual, loud, throaty, sounds coming from outside around 11 p.m., the night before.
The mystery began unfolding.
It was time to investigate what was stealing Buck’s remains. Down the road and into the woods we went.
Bear tracks were numerous and scattered, but there was no evidence of deer hair or dragging of any kind. I was puzzled by this. Could or would a bear pick up a hide in its mouth and carry it someplace without it touching the ground.
I decided to go back to the only clue we had – bear tracks leading off of the road into brush.
David announced that he saw the hide at the base of a tree. It was no more than 20 feet from the side of the road. This is when I started to get nervous. Suppose the bear was near, or in a tree watching us, and wanted to protect his hide?
David drew his .44, stepped farther into the brush, and took back his hide.
Later on David took the girls into Bearland to look for Buck’s head. I thought he was nuts and refused to go. I had no desire to wrestle a bear for a deer head, but David wanted his trophy back. All returned safe and sound while reporting that the area was littered with bear tracks.
The hide was later stored in a safe place.
The plot thickened.
The following morning, we found evidence of a nocturnal visitor. The deer leg had been moved once again, a pumpkin (that decorates our front porch) jostled out-of-place, a hose strewn about, and smudges were on our patio door. Had the bear claimed ownership and returned for what it thought was his?
What would you do if a bear stole your stuff? Would you go after it, or forget about it and let the bear have it?
Buck’s missing head remains a mystery. As of this writing, it has not been found.