What Happened to this Mallard?

My friends and I had a pretty good duck hunt last week, and all returned home with fat mallards to eat. However, as I was preparing to pluck one of the birds, I noticed something odd: Its left foot had a split running through a digit and extending partially into the webbing. At first I thought the injury had resulted from our shooting that morning, but closer examination revealed it to be an old, healed wound. Here's a photo:

So, question is, if one of my shotgun pellets didn't take a chunk out of the duck's foot, what did? Another hunter last season? A snapping turtle? I'd love to hear a few of your theories.

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2 Responses to What Happened to this Mallard?

RyDaddy wrote:
December 21, 2012


Lloyd Johnson wrote:
December 21, 2012

As a taxidermist ,I have seen lots of duck feet with similar healed splits and some holes .The holes IMO were likely from a pellet.The splits are either a chunk bitten out by a turtle or just something sharp like glass.We get the same deal walking on glass barefoot .I am sure there are a few that have a piece shot out.People shoot at lots of things with shotguns that do not kill them.I have had bird shot in deer and hogs .