Weasel Dines On Deer Scraps

Posted by: Patrick Durkin on Mar 1, 2013
Page 1 of 2

When I left the deer shack’s door open on a pleasant November morning in northern Wisconsin, a bold weasel slipped in behind me to search for food. I interrupted his reconnaissance seconds later a few feet from the door. Our beady eyes locked into a brief stare-down. The white wisp with a black-tipped tail then wheeled, whipped through the doorway, darted into the porch, and vanished beneath the woodpile.

I blinked to assure myself my eyes were working and that I hadn’t imagined anything. I shared the encounter awhile later with camp boss Tom Heberlein of Madison as we congratulated Chris White, and admired a young buck our Ohio friend killed an hour earlier. After Rich Stedman of Ithaca, N.Y., the camp’s fourth member, appeared, I forgot about the weasel-intruder as we helped White dress and drag the buck to camp. Besides, we weren’t struck dumb by the weasel or its attempted burglary. Someone usually spots a weasel every year while deer hunting. In fact, Stedman and I had seen weasels hunting near our stands the previous weekend. They were impossible to miss because their brown summer coat had already switched to virgin white, contrasting like blaze orange with the snow-free forest. As weasels dart about on their short legs and broad paws, their stretch-limo bodies resemble handkerchiefs snapping in the wind.

 WEAS1

A short-tailed weasel in its winter coat scavenges meat and fat from a deer carcass in November 2012 on the tailgate of author Pat Durkin’s pickup truck.

Given the weasel’s size and weight, it’s conceivable a breeze would blow them away. Weasels living in that region are the “short-tailed” species, which measure 7 to 14 inches and weigh 2 to 5 ounces. Wisconsin is home to two other species, the slightly larger  “long-tailed” weasel in the southern part of the state, and the rare and smaller “least” weasel of marshes and damp meadows. For comparisons, a male short-tailed weasel is about the same size as a female long-tailed weasel. One glimpse of a weasel hunting and you realize their hummingbird’s metabolism requires a relentless search for prey and water. And although they’re cute to see and fun to watch, they’re likely one of the world’s most aggressive predator by weight.

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Patrick Durkin

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2 Comments on "Weasel Dines On Deer Scraps"

Re: Weasel Dines On Deer Scraps #
Great story Mr Durkin. Many years ago I had an encounter with two weasels working together to take down a cotton tailed rabbit. It happen just over about twenty minutes and was an amazing display of team work and ferocity. One would dart in and take a bite then jump back only to have the other do the same a half second later. They wore that rabbit down incrementally till death. Amazing animals. Glad you shared your experience with all of us. Continue to live out doors.
Posted by Copper MG on 3/3/2013 6:20:04 AM
Re: Weasel Dines On Deer Scraps #
Thanks for sharing your encounter, Copper MG. That's an amazing story. Sure tops mine!
Posted by Patrick Durkin on 3/20/2013 8:55:36 AM

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