To me, Nature is God. Without it, we simply would not exist. Conserving the world’s natural spaces and the creatures that live there is paramount to the survival of humans as a species, and I have therefore dedicated my life to studying environmentalism in order to help people co-exist more successfully and sustainably with the natural world.

All natural materials I use in my creations are either sourced from roadkill, Fish and Game, secondhand sources such as fellow artists and estate sales, or are antique. In this way, I'm ensuring that no animals were needlessly killed for the sake of the artwork I produce. I fully believe that no part of any creature should go to waste if a purpose can be found for it, but I do NOT support trophy hunters or overseas fur farms by buying 'byproducts' like bones, skulls, or claws directly from them. The only exception I make for this rule is for parts from animals legally culled for population control programs approved by Fish and Wildlife.

As a photographer and wildlife enthusiast, I've been involved with many fantastic organizations such as Images4Life and Wild Tiger, as well as the Sierra Club and many smaller, local groups.
I've been published, interviewed, and even featured on Rainn Wilson (Dwight from “The Office”)'s personal networking website, SoulPancake.com.

I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to visit many of the world’s most amazing wild places, like Komodo Island, Bali, Lombok, Malaysia, and the Cayman Islands, and have even documented entirely new species previously unknown to science.

Other interests include: Wilderness survival, primitive skills, backpacking, fishing, kayaking, boffing, airsoft, snowboarding, meandering around town, and caving.

 

So…we found a roadkill button buck on the way to our campsite last night. It was beautiful, just crumpled in a heap in the middle of the rural road, starkly-lit by the high beams of Andrew’s truck. 

The poor thing hadn’t stood a chance: His front and both back legs were broken; this skull was simply shattered. I could hear pieces of bone fragment grinding against one-another when I hauled him to the roadside.

Seemed like poor little guy had been clipped by a car’s bumper and died instantly. There was no car debris on the road, and the buck had fallen where he’d been struck; didn’t even have time to run to the woods or fields flanking either side of the way. I assume the driver who struck it left the scene with only a minor dent in his fender. Obviously, the deer fared far worse.

After a moment of “I can’t believe we’re this lucky! It’s body is still warm!” Andrew helped me lift the deer into the bed of his truck. When we got to our campsite, I tied the deer’s back legs together and dragged the carcass down an embankment to a nice spot in a grove of trees where I could hang it up to skin it, relatively sheltered from the rain. I worried the whole while that I might be the subject of spying eyes - mountain lions, coyotes, and bear are frequently-sighted in the area. 

So in the dark forest, where the air was so thick that the smoke from our measly fire drifted slowly between the trunks of the trees like heavy fog, I felt like I was seeing ghosts when I paused every so often to give my fingers a break from pulling and tugging the pelt downward off the carcass.

Wanderlust, my knife, needed sharpening by the time I was done, but I knew now that I could trust that blade to survive almost anything. It’s a good feeling to have a trustworthy knife. 

The deer itself was a whitetail, a species I usually pay less attention to in favor of the larger Oregon mule deer I most often encounter in the wilderness.  I now, of course, have a strange and more-intimate appreciation for the whitetail, that I’d never known before. 

When the skinning was done, I cut down the body and dragged it to a spot where it could nourish other animals and plants, a short ways from camp. I’ll probably go back there at a later time this winter and see what I can salvage, assuming that coyotes and mountain lions don’t drag the whole thing off before I can find it again…

The whole incident seemed surreal. Almost like fate, even.

I had, after all, literally just been making jokes about finding roadkill when we stumbled right upon the tiny buck. It happens to be hunting season here, as well; meaning that with my fur dealer’s permit, I am legally allowed to harvest it without a need to call Fish and Wildlife for special tags. We spotted it, picked it up, hauled it out, and skinned it as though the whole thing were part of our day’s plan from the start. 

I don’t intend to sell any part of this hide.

I actually hope to tan it myself and make use of it in a very special personal project once I find the time. This is, for me, a very rare and intensely intimate means of bonding with nature and my human self. My ancestors would have skinned deer not unlike this button buck in order to clothe themselves in colder years, and the process of skinning and tanning is surely becoming a lost art as modern people forgo the need to live with nature and instead live against it. 

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  8. strawberrydacri said: That is awesome! You’re so lucky to have found it. Hope your project goes well :)
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  14. cheefbroom said: Lucky, lucky you!
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