By William E. Cleary Sr.| CNBNews
During our walk on Wednesday morning Peyton, my 5-year-old labrador, and I were surprised, to say the least, to see a puddle of blood in the grass laying under a section of spike iron fence that surrounds the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Gloucester City. The cemetery is located in the 1000 unit block of Market Street by the Cold Springs School. For those not familiar with Market Street, it is a county highway that has a continuous flow of vehicle and truck traffic running back and forth from nearby US 130 throughout the day into the evening.
After a little detective work, I found some brown and white animal hair on the top of the spike fence and a stream of blood running down the spike into the puddle of blood below. The police were called and they contacted the highway department to clean up the blood. As a former deer hunter, I am pretty sure the hair belonged to a white-tail deer. I assumed that a deer tried to jump the fence and got impaled. The fence is about 42 inches high.
After a walk around the cemetery I found no dead deer to support my theory nor did I find any deer tracks or a blood trail leaving or coming from the puddle of blood. Odd that there were no visible signs as the ground was wet from all the rain South Jersey has had for the past few days. If it was a deer the ground and grass should have been disturbed in some manner.
My deer hunting tracking skills were gained after spending many deer hunting seasons over the years in the woods of Maine, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey.Those days are gone now but I look back on the memories of those trips fondly.
Some may argue that a deer impaling itself on a fence on a busy highway in the middle of a residential neighborhood is a stretch of one's imagination. To those individuals let me remind you about the whitetail deer walking down Hunter Street, a residential neighborhood, early on Sunday morning a few years ago that was spotted by a resident sitting on his porch drinking his morning coffee. The deer continued on his way towards the nearby Methodist Church on Division Street. We also reported on a large buck not that long ago being seen at the Lane Avenue playground browsing on the grass by the railroad tracks. If former Gloucester City postmaster Carmine Marchionne was alive he could tell you about the deer he hit with his car on South Broadway at the railroad tracks that separate the communities of Gloucester City and Brooklawn. Most recently we heard from one resident who saw a family of deer (buck, doe, and fawn) running in the woods behind the high school. Personally I saw two deer feeding during a day a few feet from busy US 130 near Cooper River.
One explanation for the lack of a deer body could be that someone saw the dead deer laying on the ground or hanging on the fence and took it home to eat.
Whitetails have tremendous agility and speed to evade predators, according to Field and Stream. Free running deer have been clocked at almost 40 mph. There are some reports of whitetails jumping fences at least 9 feet high. However, deer will almost always opt to go under a fence rather than over-even if it's only 4 or 5 feet high. Interestingly, deer typically won't jump over a barrier that they can't see through. A solid fence 4 to 5 feet high seems to be as much of a barrier as an 8-foot woven wire fence.
Measuring the distance that a deer can jump is much easier-you just have to measure the gap between tracks. From the reports that I've seen, a running deer can easily clear a span of 25 to 30 feet, and perhaps more stated Field and Stream.
From the fall to early January deer are in the rut which means bucks are chasing the doe's looking to mate. Ask anyone who had the unfortunate experience to hit a deer with their car. The repairs are extensive and costly. People have also died in car accidents with deer so be alert.
If it wasn't a deer what could it be?
If anyone has any information about this incident we would appreciate being notified via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know too whether you think it was deer or something else.
UPDATED: Police Lt. Steve Burkhardt, confirmed it was a deer. It had become impaled shortly before sunrise and was destroyed.