John's Journal... Entry 124, Day 1
AFTER THE SHOT
Getting Your Deer
EDITOR'S NOTE: The decisions you make once your game is down are what make for the best of memories or the worst of nightmares. This week we'll look at the best ways to take care of your deer once you bag it.
I spotted movement across the sedge field in a little neck of woods that came out of the swamp. With my binoculars, I could see a parallel line about 3 feet off the ground. As I studied the brush above the line, I saw something white move. Then I spotted a black dot that I recognized as a deer's eye. I wondered if the deer was a buck. I thought I spotted branched antlers. Through my binoculars, I watched the ivory move. I couldn't determine the size of the buck or the number of points. Did I want to let him pass or try to take him?
As the light started to fade, I knew I wouldn't be able to see the buck through my scope if he didn't step out of the thicket in the next five minutes. I mounted my Mannlicher .30-06. Through my 3-9X Simmons scope, I aimed at the spot on the tree where I'd seen the buck through my binoculars. I put my grunt tube in the side of my mouth and blew gently. But just like the Tar Baby kept sitting on the log when B'rer Fox tried to get his attention, the deer didn't move. I blew louder on the grunt call but still saw no response. "I'll either spook the buck or bring him out in the open," I told myself as I blew louder and harder on the grunt call. Then, seemingly for no reason, the 8-point buck trotted out into the open field straight toward me.
Now, I had another problem, I had a head-on shot at a moving deer. Once again, I blew loud and hard on the grunt call, stopping the buck and causing him to throw up his head and jump back a step. The buck presented a broadside dream shot. I set the back trigger. When the crosshairs in the scope met behind the deer's shoulder, I squeezed the trigger. The buck went down. Then my problems began. I had to field dress the buck and drag him out of the woods by myself. Once out of the woods, I faced the same problem most successful hunters would of deciding who would process my deer and who would mount it. My family loves to eat venison, which is such a healthy meat and contains less fat and cholesterol but more grams of protein than almost any other kind of meat.
To learn more about preparing and cooking venison, go to Night Hawk's home page, and click on books to see the "Deer & Fixings Cookbook," written by John and his wife, Denise, who now have more than 80-combined years' experience of cooking venison. Call (800) 627-4295 to order with a credit card, or you can send a check or a money order to 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, AL 35243.
TOMORROW: CHOOSING A PROCESSOR