I have one day left of hunting deer during rifle season and after that I'll be heading out to the bush for archery season.
I didn't have any success while hunting this year which left me feeling rather deflated once again. I haven't ever even SEEN a deer while in the bush, with the exception of the deer others have pulled out.
On Sunday morning my father thoughtfully started my car for me before we headed out to the bush. I loaded up my gun, a pocket full of ammo, a thermos full of coffee and a ridiculous orange hat and headed to the bush.
Three quarters of the way there, I looked at my ignition.
It was at that point I realized that my father had thoughtfully started my car with the wrong set of keys. The keys that have my gun lock attached to them were sitting in the kitchen.
A more prepared person would have a set of wire cutters or a screwdriver or THE PROPER KEYS on hand.
Not I. In a fit of rage, my mother and I turned the car around and went to retrieve my keys. I was now missing prime hunting time and my opportunity to see the perfect deer.
We returned to the bush and I was rather pissed. The sun had come up at this point and there was little likeliehood of seeing deer. I now have a day job, something I've been praying for since time began, and as a result, I have no free mornings to go hunting.
In a huff, I began stamping my way to my spot, clanking my thermos against my chair because I was certain no deer would appear.
Then I heard Big Brother's voice.
He had shot a deer and needed my deer tag. It was my last day in the bush and using my tag was the best decision since elsewise it would go to waste.
My elation at that point knew no bounds. A deer! We had a deer! I would now get to miss out on time spent sitting not seeing any deer and get to go help pull a deer out of the bush.
At this point, Big Brother asked me if I wanted to clean it.
CLEAN A DEER? I get to clean a deer?
It would be an honor to clean a deer. It would mean the acquisition of new skills and a lesson that has been passed down through generations of hunters. I would get to use my hunting knife for the first time and see if I could actually do something with some modicum of success.
Big Brother talked me through the process. At first I felt exactly like I did in tenth grade biology when I was dissecting a pig. You have to make smooth, clean cuts and not harm the meat or the intestines.
Things started to get a little yucky when I sliced open the rumen with my ultra-sharp knife. I wasn't strong enough to cut through a piece of bone and I wasn't strong enough again to properly clean the windpipe. Big Brother stepped in a time or two so he could lend a hand when the perfect deer he had shot was at risk of being ruined by my lack of experience.
Afterwards we stopped and surveyed our work and had to take pictures of our job well done.
I've been praised and congratulated every time I've told the story of my first field dressing/deer cleaning experience. I recounted the story to one friend of mine and upon hearing that I managed to clean the deer without vomiting, he actually invited me to go hunting with him come archery season.
Some people say that hunting is barbaric, wrong, and disgusting. And I suppose that they are right, there are elements of all those things involved. I, however, just had a bonding experience with my family and was granted the opportunity to engage in a cultural aspect of my lifestyle that I've never had access to before.
And I feel pretty damn good about myself.
Labels: Deer Hunting, Family