Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bones and antlers

When hiking in Yellowstone Park, I often see animal skeletons and antlers; something I rarely see in other places except along roads where the animals were killed by traffic. I like finding the bones of animals killed by natural events. If I find them early enough, I can sometimes get an idea of what killed them or see the signs of scavaging. Of course if the carcass is too recent I don't hang around lest I meet the grizzly scavenging it.
(Cache Cr. trail near junction with Specimen Ridge)

Other people evidently enjoy finding bones and sometimes arrange them, as in this bison skeleton to the right. Since I hike in YNP every June, I have learned how long bones remain visible there by returning to the same area succeeding years. One set of bison bones I could find for 2 years beyond my original view but most are gone after one year. YNP is dry and cold most of the year, in other places bones don't last as long.
(Mary Mountain trail along Nez Perce Cr.)

Sometimes I find collections of elk and deer antlers or just one side of a set. It is illegal to remove antlers or anything else from the Park. I've noticed that the antlers often disappear before the bones.

(Specimen Ridge trail, Mt. Washburn in distance)



At 11/3/07 23:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! Thanks for sharing this. I pick up bones and skulls and antlers too, bring them home, make scarecrows for the garden with them. That's really interesting about you returning to bone piles in Yellowstone. Celeste (

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