Tag Archives: Deer

Bringing Home The Bacon

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Heading For The Freezer

Home butchering and processing of venison and other fish and game is the only way to go if you want high quality wild meat on your table.

Never done it before? Don’t despair – you can do it.

You’ll be glad you did!

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Food Freedom, and Home Butchering Too!

Michael Patrick McCarty

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Perfectly Grilled Elk Steaks – It’s What’s For Dinner

The Gift

giftbuck The Gift

Ready or Not

January 18, 2012

The young whitetail buck bounds proudly into the field of newly planted winter wheat and stops, and I know that I must remember to take a breath. Just moments before it had magically appeared from the heavy shadows at field’s edge. I saw first its jet black nose, then it’s eyes, followed by searching ears, and horns. For some mysterious reason I had been staring intently at this very spot amidst the tangle of heavy vines, the bright green leaves of sassafras trees, and the yellow of remnant persimmon fruit hung on bare branches. It is as if I somehow knew that I would see a deer here this morning, and was simply waiting for its arrival. It’s a huge moment when you are thirteen. Why it’s as big as the world.

Just before daylight I had wedged myself into the crotch of an old, dead tree on the more open side of a small, protected field. It was more than cold with a biting, mid November wind, but the tree was big, protecting, with thick, comforting limbs radiating from its base. It was like a fort, and it was great fun just to sit there, hidden, listening. Morning in the eastern deer woods has a rhythm and cadence all its own. Once heard, it remains indelibly recorded on the heartbeat of your mind  I can still hear the stirrings of squirrels and small creatures in the dry leaves and forest duff below, the twittering birds, the scornful proclamations of Blue Jays and wandering crows above. I miss it so.

squirrelinthe duff The Gift

Perpetual Stirrings

I remember feeling that the buck knew I was there, would be there…watching. Perhaps he had seen a small, slow movement from me, or perhaps he just, …knew. Will he come? Even If he suspects nothing there is little reason for him to continue across an open field on a bright, sunny morning during gun season, with plenty of heavy cover in the trees of the wood lot behind and around him.

I wait. The buck hesitates for a brief time, an eternity, and then trots calmly and purposely along the edge of the trees towards me. I am paralyzed. Though mostly ready, I’ve not yet had time to assess the situation or remember my role in it. My feet are only about six feet from the ground, and I know that he will see me and swap ends quickly if I move too fast. Still, I feel that he knows I’m there and can not change his course, and can somehow see himself moving, thru my eyes, as he crosses in front of my stand.

It’s now or never, and in one motion I come from behind his track and start to swing my shotgun bead towards his shoulder. He stops as if on command, as if this is his part in the choreography of a primordial dance, and this is the selected spot to place his feet. His body is perfectly broadside, with his head turned towards me and up, his nose shining in the sky.

There is no sound, no mind, no time, just our breath frozen in the air as I settle behind the gun. He waits patiently, gracefully, and completely at peace with what is about to come his way. Both parties share something all-knowing yet incomprehensible, without judgement. It is agreed. We have done this before and may do so again, god willing.

I don’t remember pulling the trigger, yet It ends as it must if you are a hunter. A life taken. I am too young to comprehend the full meaning of the act, yet somehow I know there is something more. It is an end, perhaps a beginning, I do not know. The circle complete, we are bonded. It is a gift of the deer and it is sacred. I pray I will not forget, both then and now.

youngboywithshotgun The Gift

Coming My Way

You Might Also Like The Promise of Deer

Michael Patrick McCarty

 

 

The Promise Of Deer

whitetailwatching The Promise Of Deer

Watching Deer – Watching You

“One hot afternoon in August I sat under the elm, idling, when I saw a deer pass across a small opening a quarter mile east. A deer trail croses our farm, and at this point any deer traveling is briefly visble from the shack.

I then realized that half an hour before I had moved my chair to the best spot for watching the deer trail; that I had done this habitually for years, without being clearly conscious of it. This led to the thought that by cutting some brush I could widen the zone of visibility. Before night the swath was cleared, and within the month I detected several deer which otherwise could likely have passed unseen.

The new deer swath was pointed out to a series of weekend guests for the purpose of watching their later reactions to it. It was soon clear that most of them forgot it quickly, while others watched it, as I did, whenever chance allowed. The upshot was the realization that there are four categories of outdoorsmen: deer hunters, duck hunters, bird hunters, and non-hunters. These categories have nothing to do with sex or age, or accoutrements; they represent four diverse habits of the human eye. The deer hunter habitually watches the next bend; the duck hunter watches the skyline; the bird hunter watches the dog; the non-hunter does not watch.

When the deer hunter sits down he sits where he can see ahead, and with his back to something. The duck hunter sits where he can see overhead, and behind something. The non-hunter sits where he is comfortable. None of these watches the dog. The bird hunter watches only the dog…”

From the chapter entitled “The Deer Swath” in A Sand County Almanac”, by Aldo Leopold.

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I read this for the first time many years ago, and the basic premise of it has stuck in my mind ever since. It is classic Leopold, whose writings always seems to leave behind more thought provoking questions than he answers. He was, and still is, one of the preeminent teachers of the natural world.

Looking back, I realize now that I have always sat with shoulders squared up to something at my back, watching.

Perhaps I am just a deer hunter at heart. It is the promise of deer, for which I wait.

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Where do you sit?

Michael Patrick McCarty

You Might Also See Aldo Leopold and The Aldo Leopold Foundation

You Might Also Like The Gift

 

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Nevada Mule Deer Mid-1960′s. Photo courtesy of David Massender, Glenwood Springs, Colorado