The habits of mammals are science. Whatever did this to this small tree must have really enjoyed it. The tree was in the west Jefferson County of Alabama area, close to, but not adjacent to a pond.
Unfortunately this photo is a little blurry, but from it you can see that the damage goes from the ground up to eight feet or higher.
Here's a close up.
I need your help. What did this? Email me or leave a comment if you know.
Trilliums are science. Trilliums are one of my favorite wildflowers. These could be Red Trillium or Toadshade (Trillium sessile) or Sweet Betsy (Trillium cuneatum). In either case, the flower is sessile, or stalkless, as opposed to many other trilliums which have their flowers on a short stem.