I first noticed the kill spot up the canyon when the cowboy and horse noticed it as they rode by. Bright red bloodstain in the bright white snow.
By the time I got back up there to investigate, the frigid nights and below-freezing sunny days had turned the snow to heavy mush that no longer held details of a footprint. Even as I put down tracks, I couldn't tell a human foot had laid them.
The only thing distinguishable was the size of the prints: small was deer and (probably) coyote; large was human, horse, and bull. I knew right where the bull and two horses had walked; there were no other large tracks around to indicate a cougar.
Jose and I had flushed some 40 deer from this creek a few days earlier; they all bounded out of the creek, up through this sagebrush and on up toward the ridge. The snow still told the tale of many deer passing through, and not just this one time.
They'd been grazing in the same area, whatever morsels they could find under the snow among the weeds.
If I could read that deer frequented this spot, coyotes could certainly read this.
Here is perhaps where a coyote/s laid in wait for a deer to pass by on this trail.
Deer was definitely the prey. This hair was the only remnants I could find - no hide, no bones anywhere nearby.
The battle/drag area was not so large;
I suspect it was a weanling or yearling deer and a couple of coyotes.
Girlie the dog did her own deciphering of the events. Her nose probably figured out more than my eyes did, of the natural cycle of life and death in Owyhee.