View Full Version : Got my first deer Saturday. . .
November 11, 2002, 05:02 PM
Let me start by saying I'm pretty new to this whole hunting scene. I hunted a bit when I was young--mostly quail hunting with my grandfather and father. But both of these men died when I was in my teens, and I really had no one in my life to help teach me more about hunting. My two uncles hunt, but they lived so far away that it was inconvenient to go with them.
It's only within the past couple of years that I began to gain an interest in hunting--mainly because I'm a believer in self-sufficiency. I feel like we all ought to be able to grow and gather our own food. And in part, my desire to hunt grew out of my interests in shooting. I began with shotguns and dove, moved on to turkeys, and then took up rifles and deer. Last year, I went turkey hunting with one of the above-mentioned uncles and was hooked. I struck out on my own this past spring, found some land to hunt, and wound up taking a jake and a triple-bearded tom.
So far though, my deer hunting experience has been sparse. I hunted twice last year--once with the uncle and another time with friends. Didn't see anything either time. But I was determined to succeed. I read books on deer habits, acquired far too much gear in preparation of this season, and even bought a muzzleloader so I could extend Tennessee's short season a bit.
Saturday marked my fifth deer hunting trip. I had hunted Tuesday and Thursday without any sign of deer. On Friday, however, I did some scouting, found a much more promising spot, and on Saturday morning, I made the long hike into the woods under the cover of darkness. I climbed my designated tree and set up before the sun ever began to peek over the horizon. There, I waited patiently while the world came to life around me. The day was breezy and the swaying of the tree calmed my soul at the same time it reminded me of the rhythms of nature.
Then at 7:20, it happened. A rustle over to my left sounded like the squirrels I'd heard all morning, but when I turned and squinted through the brush, I was rewarded with the sight of a young buck following a doe down a well-worn path. They began to taper further to my left, and I thought all was lost. But when I called twice with my grunt, the buck turned and began to circle around behind me from the left. As I eased my safety off and raised my gun, he stopped, and I got him in my sights. But just as I was about to pull the trigger, my stand shifted ever-so-slightly because I'd leaned out so far to make the shot. The buck began to move and was about to cross behind me; again, I thought I was going to lose him. However, luck favored me with one more open window of opportunity, and I made the most of it. My muzzleloader boomed, and the buck ran about 20 yards behind me before crashing to the ground. It took a while to calm myself so that I could climb down from the tree and pack up my gear before beginning the very real work of dressing and dragging out the deer. I was proud to find I'd hit the deer cleanly in the lungs; his death was quick and honorable.
My first deer, and a six-point buck to boot!
I see what all the fuss is about.
November 11, 2002, 05:28 PM
November 11, 2002, 06:34 PM
The best is yet to come! Think roast beef but a lot better!!! :D
November 11, 2002, 11:01 PM
Picked up the meat from the butcher tonight. Going to start looking for good venison recipes.
November 11, 2002, 11:34 PM
I got my first deer last year. It was not nearly as beautiful sounding as your story but here goes.
After an unrewarding rifle season on my dads land. I was offered to hunt the end of december in the extended doe season. Went out with the ranchhand who was also hunting and sat near a fallen tree bordering a pasture. He said that they always sleep in the pasture. As it became light some specks appeared in the distance. Nothing but low grass between us and them. So we each picked a deer, and tried to shoot at the same time. His deer fell. I missed. I racked the bolt and shot again this time she took about ten steps and fell. I walked 273 paces before claiming my 52 pound doe.
It was the best venison I have ever had though.
I'll share my marinade recipe if you want.
November 11, 2002, 11:51 PM
November 12, 2002, 04:08 AM
Congrats and Mazeltov!!
I will remember my first deer until death. A 6 point yearling like your's. Been a lot more since, bigger sometimes, but that first one's a golden memory.
Thanks for sharing..
November 12, 2002, 06:43 AM
Take some of the meat (read a lot of it) from the rear quarter and grind it up 70/30 with some fatback. Makes great patties for fryin. Kinda like breakfast sausage with the right spices, or slap it on a piece of bread with steak sauce and/or worchester for burgers.
One of the easiest, and most delicious (in my opinion) ways to process deer meat.
November 12, 2002, 07:00 AM
yankytrash: I wasn't ambitious enough this time to butcher the deer myself. Going to have to do a bit more reading before I tackle that task, but I'm going to work on it. Instead, I took the deer to a reputable processor here in town. And BTW, I did have sausage made from about 20 pounds of the meat. They mix it with pork fat and add spices to your taste. I like spicy, so I went with their "Cajun" blend.
FWIW, I learned a valuable muzzleloading lesson this time out. The lesson is: Reload your gun immediately after you've shot it.
If I'd reloaded, I'd be filling my freezer with two deer instead of one. Tennessee allows 2 deer during muzzleloading season (no more than one antlered deer though).
While I was field dressing the buck, the doe came back within 50 yards and just stopped and stared. With a loaded gun, the shot on her would have been so much easier than the shot I made on the buck. Anyway, I just stared back at her for a while. Finally, when I began to fumble with my binoculars to get a closer look, she decided to split.
Probably for the best though. I had to lug out my climbing stand, a fanny pack of gear, gun, and deer. It would have been tough to find the energy to hike back in and drag out another deer.
November 12, 2002, 07:14 AM
Guyon, if you don't mind my asking, how much does that cost, to have a deer professionally butchered that is? I guess it goes by the pound? Do they skin it for you?
I've always seen great results of professional butchering, and always thought I'd get one professionally done myself (for their sausage mostly - they make great sausage!!!) someday.
November 12, 2002, 07:28 AM
Most places I've seen charge by the deer, regardless of weight.
Also, it was a bit more expensive than I anticipated. That's because out in the country where I grew up (and where I hunted with friends last year), it's only around $40-$45.
However, here closer to the city, it is $55 for basic processing. Also, sausage adds an additional fee ($20) because the butcher has to buy pork fat and spices to mix in. And of course, he has to fool with grinding the sausage.
Definitely more economical to do it yourself, but until I know how to get the best cuts from the deer, I'll have to leave it to the pros. The place I took the deer does a fine job. They professionally package and shrink wrap all the steaks so that it's ready for freezing, and the sausage comes in nice 2 pound packages.
November 12, 2002, 08:22 AM
I like to have them processed as well. I hunted seven years before killing a deer. Congratulations.
November 12, 2002, 10:15 AM
I have always paid to have my deer butchered. Though I have only shot one I have always known people who would hunt as many tags as they had and give the deer away. For just processing it is like $50. To get the entire deer processed as sausage and jerky it jumps to like $100.
November 12, 2002, 05:01 PM
Apt discription, Guyon - "the world coming to life around me."
Sounds like, even without benifit of a mentor, you're going about it the right way.
Picked up a book a while back called basic butchering which details fairly well the how-tos fer cuttin' up sheep to cows. Works quite well for deer/elk too.
Still haven't availed myself of much of that knowledge as I'll just bone the stuff up according to the basic muscle groups, wash, pat dry, wrap & feezer Zip-Lock bag it & freeze. Everything's in about 1 pound bags & cut to steaks/medalions or leave as a smallish roast. Company? I thaw out 2-3 .... ;)
IOt'll all come & again, congrats on a good hunt, added experience and a good write-up.
November 12, 2002, 05:43 PM
Gotta love that buck fever. Now listen to my exciting story:
I climbed the stand around 6:30. Sun came up at 7:00. Breakfast bell rang and ten does showed up for chow time. Picked up my rifle, selected a fat doe, took careful aim, and put one through the neck. I get prouder every time I think of that.;)
November 12, 2002, 05:45 PM
Like the others have said, you will remember this hunt the rest of your life!
You did your homework and was rewarded for it! And you have respect for the game and the life you took. That says a lot about who you are, I respect that.
I have all of the big game I take processed. My wife appreciates having the animal come to the house in those nice little white packages the butcher wraps them in. I remember the one deer I tried to butcher myself, there were two kinds of packages, small and large! Never mind what was in them I couldn't tell you what one cut was from another.
November 14, 2002, 12:46 AM
First of all, let me add my congratsÑYou did it right, took a fair shot, respected the natural setting and the game animal. Way to go!
Jeff Foxworthy says you might be a redneck if at least once a year, your garage and kitchen turn into a meat processing plant. If so, there are a whole lotta rednecks up here in the north woods. Most of my buds consider processing their own deer to be a continuation of the respect for the animal. It's work, and your first one won't produce many professional-looking roasts. It saves $$, and involves the family in getting their meat to the table. And you get better at it. My wife is the really neat wrapper, and the best venison-burger grinder in the extended family.
If you want to avoid some of the mistakes, there are a number of books and magazine articles about deer butchering, and I bet plenty of I'net helpful advice also. My own suggestion would be: Plenty of good sharp knives.
There's always more to the adventure. We haven't tried making actual cased sausages & smoking 'em.
November 14, 2002, 12:58 AM
We had some backstrap from the buck I shot on Nov 4th for dinner tonight. Thin medallions cooked in the frying pan in olive oil with a good sprinkle of garlic powder, table salt and black pepper. Get the pan hot, add the oil and drop in the meat. Cook it fast, brown on both sides and poke it with the spatula. It should be slightlysoft, do not let it get hard or it wil toughen up. Delightful. If you are uncertain about the doneness, have your plate, knife and fork right next to the pan. Drop a piece on the plate and cut it open. It should be reddish, but not raw. Eat a bite. Repeat until you are satisfied. Cook some more for the rest of the folks!!!
We had a very dry fall here so there were no chantelle mushrooms up yet. I ate the tenderloins without! When you get the deer skinned and washed down and are timming off the junk, there are two strips of meat inside the body cavity locates at the rear of the deer along the backbone. These need to be removed and soaked in a pan of salt water in the refridgerator for and hour or so. This is about the right time to take a shower and have a nap. Cut these into medallions across the grain and fry them up as noted above. This is the hunter's treat. They are best with fresh mushrooms sauteed in the pan with the meat, but good alone.
I worked in the butcher shop in highschool years ago. My friend who introduced me to deer hunting showed me how to handle it from the shot to the dinner table. Wash them down good with vinegar and water after skinning. We hang them for a few days in the garage with a nice sheet wrapping. Bone them out and cut off ALL the fat and connecting tissue. The fat and connecting tissue will go rancid in the freezer very quickly and ruin the whole package of meat. Muscle groups from the haunches are steaks and fry pieces. Backstrap is steaks and roasts. Shoulders and neck are stewing meat and the rest is grind up or jerky.
A good sharp boning knife is a must. Also It is very important to have a damp towel to wipe the blade and your hands with. I like a pan of warm water on my cutting table to rinse hands, board and meat with. There is something very satisfying about processing the deer at home.
Sorry for the rant. I'm going elk hunting tomorrow and am a bit wound up. cow elk tags for central Oregon. I've never shot an elk.
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