Photo of boy checking the catalogue against bear skulls
Macouners are notorious scavengers of skulls and bones, routinely raiding a friendly trapper’s carcass pile with abandon, and dragging home items that parents with more sensitive noses may relegate to the garage, the backyard, or even earthen burial. But well chosen, cleaned, and prepared specimens can be things of fascination and beauty. OFNC member Jim Montgomery has donated his own childhood collection, and came in with two other enthusiasts to share their knowledge. David Campbell is a retired zoologist from the Museum of Nature, and Mary Beth Pongrac has previously presented her own collection to us (see April 28, 2012).

What sets Jim’s collection apart is the catalogue he kept of each new specimen, which allows one to pick up a Raccoon skull, no. 33, for instance, and learn that it was “found eaten (hide inside out, no meat or innards) in ravine behind Sunnybrook Hospital on April 6, 1965. Probably not run over before being eaten; no broken bones. This skull is one of the biggest I have seen.”

Others had been donated, received in trade (from David Campbell), or as birthday gift (“from Mom and Dad”). With 150 specimens to chose from, our experts were able to point out the key features that separate species, and the patterns of suture fusion and tooth wear that indicate biological age.