Warning - several of the photos below feature a body part from a dead animal, and may be too graphic for some.

While hiking in Colorado over the last few weeks, I've come across three deer legs, randomly hanging from branches along the trail.

Being that the sightings were all in different locations, it got me starting to wonder what would possibly be leaving the legs behind.

Kelsey Nistel/TSM

It also seemed weird that it was just one leg. In all three cases, no other remaining parts of the deer, such as bones or antlers, were anywhere nearby.

Was it another animal doing the killing, and if so, what kind? Were the deer getting stuck while trying to run away from a predator? Or maybe it was even a human playing some kind of twisted joke?

Kelsey Nistel/TSM

After reaching out to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, two of those theories were ruled out.

Kelsey Nistel/TSM

CPW explained that it's likely another animal, or animals, that are responsible for the dangling deer legs. Although it's hard to say definitively, wildlife officers believe it's either bobcats or mountain lions that are responsible for the action. According to Public Information Officer, Jason Clay, many of these animals like to cache their food in areas where other predators can't get to it. Clay further explained that it's possible that other scavengers, like coyotes or bears, may have dragged off portions of the body, or buried the carcass nearby, which makes sense as to why I was only coming across a solo leg.

The good news is, it's not a serial killer who's placing severed legs on branches.

Has anyone else ever seen this?

10 Wild Animal Encounters in Northern Colorado in 2020