A Memorial University student in St. John's made the grisly discovery just before 10 p.m. Thursday outside Bowater House, a co-ed residence that houses about 100 students.
Newfoundland and Labrador wildlife officers later confirmed the head belonged to a coyote.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said there was a note inside the bag, but they declined to say what was written.
"This was in fact a practical joke or a prank as opposed to anything that would be constituted as a threat to the student body or the population within Memorial University," Const. Suzanne FitzGerald said in an interview.
The police said they are working with wildlife officers and campus security officers to determine who was responsible.
(VOCM, The Canadian Press)