THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY
YEAR TWO: CASE FILE NO. 31-83

Cat Detectives

AMBER LOVE 10-DEC-2018 Catch up on Year One and previous Year Two cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. For a one-time tip, you can go to the new PayPal.me.

Before you continue to the Case File — Have you gotten your copy of Bear Roots yet?

Where we left off:

Gus stumbled upon a horrific scene in the lower parking lot. A courageous and brave mouse tried to fight off attackers, but eventually succumbed to injuries that were not clearly visible.

Man Made Monsters

I’ve been spending so much working on the new novel draft that it feels like I haven’t been talking about Gus and Oliver and their cases at all. I had November’s cases written up and scheduled for release. I did keep our Instagram daily updates going which have been eventful; they also serve as a basis for these more detailed compositions to create robust case files (and I can put gifs here).

Our late autumn/early winter has been so muddy! A decent amount of rain which I don’t mind if I’m not driving in it. Not much sun even when it’s not raining. I can remember my one winter in Pittsburgh was a year just like this. I craved seeing the sun. It felt like it wouldn’t return. If you have to work inside all day that definitely makes it more miserable because if the sun does come out for an hour, you can’t even see it. Have you heard the latest lunatic, batshit crazy, unbelievably inhumane plan people want to pass? It’s literally the explanation of why the humans became batteries in The Matrix. People would rather block out the sun than fix the environment and atmosphere. I’m not making this shit up. I’m sure small temperature changes affect the migration patterns. Who knows what will happen?

It’s still unknown due to our lack of living and dead specimens how magings of the earth will react. Perhaps when humans destroy themselves, the magical beings will thrive once again and gods will roam the seas and land without so-called “higher evolved” beings trying to control them. In this week’s case file, we’re going to look at more information about the Jersey demons and their half-breed offspring the devil-deer. This is something I consider “man made” when what I really mean is “man influenced” due to loss of habitat and threat levels.

Tracks of the Devil-Deer:

It’s because of the snow and rain that we were able to discover patterns of tracks going through the properties. I love exploring the tracks in the snow. So does Gus. It’s preferred to walking through mud, although the mud gives us such great information about the size and shape of the hooves. Half the yard has become a swamp and Gus is so over it.

hoof tracks in snow

Trying to age an animal off the tracks is considered a subjective process rather than exact science. It’s important for hunters to age the herds they’re plucking off so that the herd is sustainable; I have serious doubts that hunters around here do this. Since our land is likely to have more devil-deer hybrids running around than the elusive Jersey demons, we can utilize all the available information on white-tailed deer which is plentiful. They are a staple food source and car destroyer.

Even though people will use the number of antler points and antler configuration to keep track of a deer throughout the years, they are still making assumptions about how old the deer is the first time they see it. Even if you think the deer is most likely a yearling when you first see it, there’s only about a 30% chance that buck will be on your property the next year. This is because about 70% of yearlings will disperse up to five miles away from where they are born. Additionally, the number of points and a bucks antler configuration can change from year-to-year depending on disease, quality of nutrition, and antler injuries. — BuckScore

I’m not sure we can assume that our devil-deer are larger in size than single breed white-tailed deer. I kind of think so, but again, we’re speculating based on folklore. If Jersey devils were about the size of a horse, that’s considerably larger in size than even a super buck. Did you know huge male deer were called super bucks? I didn’t. We don’t have any jawbones or teeth (Cementum Annuli) to go by; we don’t even have the actual hooves only the tracks. Perhaps Dr. Temperance Brennan could take one look at the muddy tracks and tell you not only the age, but the sex, where the creature lives, and what its favorite hobbies are.

Aging a buck on the hoof takes a lot of experience of looking at pictures and even with that, it is the least accurate method. A study that polled state deer biologists and university researchers showed that when given a series of pictures of bucks, only 62% of them accurately aged yearlings, only 43% accurately aged 2.5-year-olds, 25% for 3.5-year-olds, and less than 30% accurately aged 4.5-, 5.5-, 6.5-, and 7.5+ year-old bucks. But despite being an inaccurate method of aging, it is still widely used. — BuckScore

collage of tracks

The measurements I took of imprints in close vicinity to each other tell me that if this were a good ol’ white-tailed deer, I’d be looking for nothing older than a yearling. However, if a devil-deer is larger, we could be on our way to making the first charted notations on how to size them based on hoof identification. These tracks of 2-2.5 inches could be a large baby, aka devil-deer fawn. 

Without a visual of the devil-deer, we weren’t able to observe anything else such as the development of the musculature. That’s another way that a decent hunter or a biologist would be able to identify the age of an animal.

collage of tracks

I may have to confer with Oliver and his Freemason friends do some math for me. I was curious if anyone could tell the weight of the animal based on how deep the feet went into the mud. If a yearling horse could clock in at 500 pounds and a yearling deer at 125 pounds then I guess it might be plausible that a yearling devil-deer would be around 300 pounds. However, I fully admit to being the worst at math.

Mr. Incredible

Tracks of the Wolf-Beast:

We also found wolf-dog monster tracks in the snow. We haven’t been easily able to find them in the trails which don’t get as muddy as our yard. Most of the trails are still covered in decaying leaves. Finding beastly tracks is definitely easier in the snow.

tracks

Gus is not a fan of the wolf-beast. I thought they could become friends. It would make so happy if this boy would be more social. He’s got the adventure part down, but he needs social skills. He has to learn to make friends. Fortunately, he doesn’t mind when strangers pet him at the store if he’s in a buggy. I don’t take him in the stores with only his leash because he wants to tear things off shelves then hide behind heavy merchandise.

paw prints in snow

I don’t always remember to carry by adventuring supply bag. I should. It contains evidence bags, binoculars, a tape measure, pruning snips, and used to carry gardening gloves before I lost one. I also have a few cat treats in there and a plastic bag for when I spot litter that needs to be cleaned up. If I had had the tape measure with me, it would have been better for collecting these photos and submitting them into our archives of evidence.

dog in the woods
Local Wolf Beast

I suspect this wolf beast canine thing may have some maging DNA. If you ever saw it up close, you’d see how enormous it is. The beast has been known to run wild but otherwise there’s an old man who takes ownership of it. He tries to keep the beast on a leash and well behaved. When I’ve met them, the monster seemed quite friendly. Though that jaw radius was impressive! Gus probably did the right thing by running back to a safe distance about 20 feet away. I think this creature could snap Gus in half if it came around unsupervised.

Resources:

White-tailed Deer hoof measurements

Michel, Eric. “Scoring Deer on the Hoof Archives.” BuckScore, BuckScore, 29 Oct. 2018, http://www.buckscore.com/tag/scoring-deer-on-the-hoof/.

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