"Since nobody else has asked, what's the story with the dessicated buck? I've never seen anything remotely as creepy in the backcountry."
It was sort of a tongue in cheek take off on the Western movie trope of The Duke riding past a long horn steer skull into the desert, hot on the trail of Geronimo or some other bad guy.
"Do you suppose he was caught in a blizzard, hunkered down and froze there?"
My partner Fred, ever the cynic, figured sombody dragged it there to freak people out. My take is close to yours: Judging from the rack, he had lived a long, full life, finally figured it was a good day to die, and lay down in a beautiful place to slowly fade into the sunset. Hopefully he got one like that we witnessed up by Wanda