Ethical Scavenger

WARNING - This blog is about bone cleaning and will include pictures of the entire process in its various stages. This blog is meant to help educate and instruct those who wish to learn how to clean Ethically Scavenged bones.
I focus on honoring and appreciating nature and it's gifts - as well as respecting animal rights and helping to protect and preserve wildlife and habitat.


Early this morning I left home headed to my friends pasture to collect some cow bones and herbs. On the way to the pasture, I found this beautiful fox squirrel. It’s so sad because they are not very common compared to the grey squirrels.

such a beautiful squirrel, we don’t have fancy squirrels here. i’m still excited that i saw my first black squirrel recently.

rest in peace beautiful little buddy

(via themoonrecedes)

Asker kraukarok13 Asks:
I have a skinned and gutted squirrel in my freezer that I'd like to skeletonize. Would it macerate more quickly/cleanly if I cut away all the muscle from the bones? Also, do you think the freezer has affected the bones at all?
bonecleaning bonecleaning Said:


Yes, it will macerate faster if all the meaty bits are removed!

I’ve never had a problem with bones from the freezer. I think most standard household refrigerator/freezers aren’t cold enough to damage bone. I’ve also collected bones from outside frozen in snow and ice that were still structurally sound.

I’m sure bones frozen for long amounts of time may weaken, or begin to weaken when thawed. Perhaps it would depend on the condition of the bones when they went into the freezer.

hmm, i’m gonna do some research!


i do this too!  I just replanted a very ‘wonky’ jade with some little hens and chicks and used a very broken deer skull to hold it all in the fancy planter.

love it!


Kitten Rescue Update & A Big Thanks! About 2 weeks ago I found a tiny 3-4 week old kitten on a FL country highway. He came home with me and is now named appropriately, Tribble. Because I already had 5 kittens at home that were around 10 weeks old at the time & 3 adult cats. Pictured is tiny healthy Tribble growing fast with his new brothers and sisters.

The animal situation where I live is very bad. Humane society hasn’t been around long and doesn’t even take cats. No low cost spay/neuter voucher program. No feral cat program locally. Animal control literally puts some animals in county jail cells. I don’t imagine many animals picked up have much of a chance to live. And don’t get me started on the abandoned hunting dogs. I’ve rescued so many dogs and cats here because of this. So I have a house full of rescued animals (my dog included) & currently no car to get them to a vet & no local help to get them all vetted. So come November I will be doing a Kickstarter to help fund a new (used) vehicle & get all of my furry family properly vetted.

Some of you had asked if you could donate to PayPal right now & I’d be humbled: (please send as a friend so no fees are taken out & please don’t email me here as I’ll never see it). A big thanks so those that already donated!

Today I revived a big box of canned cat food in the mail from and anonymous donator. Thank you so so much whomever you are! Their favorite flavors too. Much love, Jana & the kitties ♥🐱♥

Help Jana Feed the Kitties! Seriously, she’s an amazingly talented lady with a giant heart!


Went to finally collect a ribcage I’ve been meaning to grab for a while. It’s almost perfect.

The bones are HUGE, I assume it was a large male because:

1. It was def hunted, found it at the popular hunting dump I collect at.

2. Atlas vert. was cut in half, meaning they used a saw to take of the skull, which was gone.

There is a giant saw mark on his pelvis. I guess it was done when they were taking the lean off the legs?

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi! I'm very interested in bone collecting/vulture culture and would like to start! Do you have any ideas where I could possibly look? Thank you!
bonecleaning bonecleaning Said:


look everywhere! you’ll be surprised at what you find when you start looking. Cities are full of roadkill, sadly, but surely. You’ll often find rats, squirrels and more (depending on where you live). You want to look for places where wild meets danger : wooded areas near busy streets, fields near highways etc.

The beach often has bones too! Though be careful many bird and marine mammel bones are illegal to posess. Check with your state laws first, you can generally do that through the Fish and Wildlife Department or Department of Natural Resources. There are also several places online to find out what’s legal to collect state by state - there are links to them on the main page of this blog.

The wilderness : most of the bones i find are in rural or remote locations. Go for a long hike in the mountains!  More wooded locations often have less people and more animals : you’ll find roadkill out in the country that’s very different than the city. I’ve seen skunk, coyote, deer and opossum often.

Hunter dumps are also a great place to look. You’ll find them at boat launches an along roadsides in between where hunting is allowed an the next major town. Basically they’re on the way home and they clean and dump the remains somewhere in between.

When looking for roadside hunter dumps look for rural pull-outs/turn outs that are covered in GARBAGE. No kidding here,  if i see PILES of garbage dumped at a turn out i always check for bones. Super sad, but super true. These are going to be deer and elk bones generally - look for plastic garbage bags, that,s where the bones will be. Also, if you can try to pick up as much garbage as possible, its no fun but it’s an awesome thing to do. Kind of like thanking mother nature for letting you have the bones, and apologizing for the mess the hunter left behind.

hope that helps.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hello, my cat killed a chipmunk a few months back, I buried it wrapped in leaves, and I would like to collect the bones, but it smells very foul still and I think there's still flesh left. Is it possible to macerate w/o removing all of the flesh? Or should I just contain it and allow it to decompose more where the bones won't move?
bonecleaning bonecleaning Said:


you can macerate a full animal, but it’s gonna get really Really gross. Picture something along the lines of rotten chipmunk stew. It will also take so long that even the chipmunk would get bored.

if you’re not comfortable removing the flesh, or at least the organs (no fault in that, its pretty intense the first few times) then burial would be a better bet.

A really great, easy way to do this is to get an old coffee can, the big old tin ones or the newer plastic ones will work great for this too.. but booo, boo plastic.

Carefully stab some holes in the sides, i’d say 5-10 at varying heights.

Fill it about 1/3 of the way up with dirt and leaves (bonus if you can get some bugs in there) then put the little poor little dead chippy in and cover it up with more dirt and leaves - Stuff from your compost pile/bin works great for this too!

Poke some holes in the lid as well an seal her up!

The holes encourage insects and bacteria to help break down the meat/fat/etc - without them you’ll just get a rotting pile of goooo that seems to defy the laws of decomp.

It’s also a good idea to moisten the organic material, if it wasn’t already damp.

- always wear gloves and a mask or a bandana around your face when dealing with dead stuffs -

while scouting for a photo shoot location last weekend i checked all the familiar spots for bones - and holy hell! Elk Skull!

I’ve never found one before, ever! This was clearly a hunter dump. the only things left were fur and the skull. It appears they tried to saw off the top of the skull, but opted for just taking the antlers instead? I hope the meat fed someone’s family and didn’t go to waste. I’d much rather see a live Elk, but I’m grateful to nature for allowing me to add this to my collection of magical things.

… and i wish hunters would stop Dumping ‘leftovers’ in plastic garbage bags. just dump the bones and fur!  Be a responsible adult and skip the whole littering and covering the forest in plastic because you’re lazy, please.

got this big boy in a bucket of rain water right now, waiting for some time to really clean him up.