Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Youth Hunt: Another Success!

This weekend was the youth hunt in Michigan.

It was Luke's second one...he is nearly fifteen.

After completing a hunter's safety course several years ago, he qualifies to gun-hunt ahead of the season for a Saturday and Sunday the last weekend in September, with a qualified adult.

Last year, on the last night, Luke shot a six-point at dusk. He was so proud, but dad was even prouder!

Mr. Farmhouse was working this Saturday, so they got to go out for an evening hunt that night, and Luke could have shot a doe, but chose not to, wanted to wait for a buck.

They got situated early Sunday morning in the stand, and not many minutes later, they had bucks in behind them, and were watching those, when what should walk up in front of their blind?

Two bucks: a six and an eight-point.
So, Luke took his pick and went for the eight.

Daddy called me soon after the deer was down, it dropped right in front of their blind, so they didn't have to track it.

I could tell when I answered the phone that they had a deer from the sound of my husband's voice! He was bursting with fatherly pride!

Up and at 'em! There's work to do!

The men sledded it out of the bean field, and brought it home to gut and hang to weigh, skin and quarter...

We have a pretty good system going, and a spare fridge in the pole barn that we plug in to keep the quarters in until we can get them cut and packaged. So we all know our roles and hop to it. I clean and set up the tables, cutting boards, and get the garbage bags ready for the quarters to be placed into.

And so it begins, again. The freezer will be full for the winter. This big boy weighed over two hundred before he was field-dressed.

And this, my friends, is some of the best meat you'll ever have: corn-fed venison.
It's very healthy, because it's low-fat.

The deer lives a pretty happy life, he roams and eats, chases does and eats, fights other bucks, and sleeps, and eats some more.

Then someone may or may not harvest him: with a car, or a gun or bow.

We prefer the gun or the bow; but we've all had our run-in with a deer and our vehicles!

The farmer is always happy to have us help cull the herd he feeds every year from his crop.

And I hope he gets another during bow or gun season!

If he gets another, this one will stock the freezer, and the other will go to "Dan the Sausage Man" who will make jerky and sausage for us! He smokes it in his backyard, and uses apple wood to flavor the meat, making the most heavenly flavors, ever.

I truly love to see my husband and my son(s) head out to the deer woods with their dad.

More than that, I love to see them heading in with a harvest, the happiness on both parts cannot be equaled, the excitement is wonderful.

I love to see them laugh and work together when they're gutting it, skinning it, and talking and remembering when they package it, and months later, when it's cooked and on the platter, the pride that comes to my son from knowing he provided that night's dinner.

I am glad it is a tradition, and that my son knows where meat comes from, and that
knows what it's like to kill and harvest meat for the table, knowing that all meat is not
packaged and shining in a store cooler with tags on the front showing a price: this type of food is messy to harvest and there is worked involved in processing a deer yourself.

(Hunters also learn what killing feels like and no, not all hunters are gleeful wild-eyed killers with no heart as portrayed in Disney movies: not at all.

There are sometimes tears as a boy watches his first deer die, and it's a growing moment for father and son as dad explains about the killing. I defy any tree-hugger, or PETA activist to tell me my venison-eating men don't have hearts! Boys go into the deer woods and come out as maturing young men.)

I am happy for the memories our sons are able to make with their dad, that over the course of our son's lifetimes, they will almost certainly take these memories out and savor each one, and remember fondly...

The nicest part about is that whether his dad is present or not, he will always smile inside when fall comes around, and the deer start to jump.

He will look back on the deer hunts with dad carrying the feeling in his heart that "those were some of the best days of my life!"....and he would be right,
and he will most likely carry that tradition on with his own son or a nephew.

Harvesting a deer is about more than the hunt, the kill, or the wrapped packages in the freezer: it's about time spent together: which really equals love.

My husband will never forget the time his grandfather took to teach him how to hunt and fish. It's a treasure that has no price, and makes memories no one can steal.


Jamie B said...

Congrats Lukie!
I remember going out to the woods with dad too, even though, I never got anything. I am glad we finally have a place to hunt here in Alabama. That way I can take Levi hunting. :) Of course, his PawPaw and Uncles need to take him hunting too.

T said...

My daughter is 14 and got her first buck at age 10. She is ready to go again with her daddy this year and this year we actually live on our "dear lease"! Even the 7 year old is wanting to go only she will not be allowed to hunt, only watch from the stand. We began processing our own last year and will do so again. I am hoping for 2 to 3 this year. Venison is my girls favorite food!

Jeanna said...

Great post. Our grandson killed a doe this weekend and we just finished grinding 14 lbs. of venison burger from last years frozen kill. We made a test burger before we stacked it in the freezer and it was wonderful. Congratulations to your son for his success.

Courtney said...

I have to say that I LOVE your blog and it makes me smile to see a new post on my blog-roll. This post, though, has moved me almost to tears. I come from a family of hunters, and remember the days when my little brother and my cousins got their first deers. It really is quite a moment for young hunters. Congratulations to your men and thank you for such a lovely post to mark the beginning of autumn.