Monday, November 7, 2011

The First Deer of the Season

We butchered our first deer of the season.  Aunt C shot it with her car.  It's really a somewhat interesting story, if you care to read.  If you don't like hunting, then please, move on to another post.

So the story all begins when we went out to dinner on Saturday night.  Aunt C had some Culver's coupons she wanted to use and the husband wanted to stop at Farm and Fleet, so we headed north to the 'Boo (a city near us.)  On the way home, we suddenly had reason to thank God that we were in the right lane, rather than the left as we came off the bluffs.  Spread across the entire left lane was a HUGE buck that had been hit, very recently, by a car.  This prompted a lengthy discussion on how we had all seen a seemingly large number of deer along the side of the road this season.  This, then, spilled into a conversation about what a shame it is to see so many deer hit, killed, and abandoned by the side of the road.  It seemed a waste of venison and antlers that could be put to good use of the carcass had been tended correctly.

After returning home, Aunt C headed back to her home.  Less than 10 minutes later, we received a phone call from Aunt C.  It seemed that she had shot us a deer... with her car!  To be honest, the deer ran into the side of Aunt C's car as she sped past on the highway.  It hit the side of the car, not the front. It's neck was broken and it died immediately.  But, since we had just been talking about not wasting deer hit by cars, the discussion opened up of, "Can we take the carcass?  Should we?"

The men in the family were uncertain.  They knew they were going to have to do the field dressing.  It was 8pm and already dark.  My husband and I had a discussion that basically ended in me saying, "Personally, if I could be of any help to your dad with field dressing it, I'd go and leave you here with the kids.  Since I can't, I'll defer to your decision."  It seems he has an aversion to salvaging the meat because he considers it roadkill. 

So he's okay with hunting and eating squirrels but venison killed by Aunt C's car was just too "redneck" for him.  Thank goodness this blog is fairly anonymous, because he'd be unhappy if anyone he knew was informed that we processed a "roadkill" deer.  Giggle.

The way I saw it, it's death was as quickly accomplished with the car as it would have been with a bullet during hunting season.  We knew the "hunter," we knew when it had happened (10 minutes ago, so it was still fresh), and we knew from a first exam that the neck and hip were broken, but it wasn't smeared across the road.  It was fresh, solid, and in one piece.  The women of the family ended up making the decision to process the deer and the men in the family headed out to handle the field dressing, tagging, and police/DNR management. 

The next morning, I upheld my half of the bargain and did as much as I could to help in the butchering and processing of the meat.  It seemed only fair that I should do those parts that I physically could, since that was my excuse for staying home and knitting while my husband field-dressed the deer in the dark.  In the end, we have 7 gallon-sized bags of venison now.  We decided that because of the warm weather, we wanted to process the venison as fast as we could.  In order to speed up the trimming and cutting, we decided that other than the tenderloins, it was all going through the grinder for jerky, sausage, and general cooking.  No need to waste time cutting the perfect roasts and steaks.  Cut it, trim off the fat and silverskin, bag it, and drop it in the cooler.  Later this week, I imagine we'll wash it, chunk it, and grind it. 

I think I've really acclimated to eating venison.  Last year, I remember that the smell bothered me a little when we butchered the deer.  This year. it just smelled like meat.  A little beefy, and a little gamey, but meat all the same.  For dinner, my MIL served up one of last year's roasts.  It seemed fitting to eat venison after spending the morning processing venison. 

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