Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Mighty Hunter

Our family has done some deer hunting in the past, but we have not had much success with hunting since moving to the farm.  We feed our dog on deer carcasses most of the winter, so we are always on the lookout for free dog food.  Many of our friends who hunt, know this and send us their remains after taking the meat they want off of them.

The three boys, Elizabeth and I went south to a friend's going away party.   As we were driving home at 6:30 at night, we went around the north end of the swamp. There is a wooded hill that comes down to the road.  As we went past the hill, a large deer bounded out in front of us and we struck it squarely as it crossed. I hit the brakes, but it was too late.  The buck's head swung around and hit the side of the car and slid off to the opposite side of the road where he died instantly.

We stopped at once to make sure that our vehicle was OK.  We rarely see police in this area, but within two minutes we had a state patrol pull up behind us.  She asked if we were OK, we were, and then went to make sure the deer was dead, it was.  We asked if we could take the deer with us.  Roadkill is free for the taking with a tag in Ohio.  She wrote us up a deer tag for a FIFTEEN point buck.

The boys dragged it across the road and hefted him into the back of the van.  He was really heavy and it took a lot of heaving to get him there.  We had used the mini-van to take our goat to visit her boyfriend in this car, so the back was ready for  animal hauling.

We hauled the deer home and gutted it... after taking a number of photos.

We left the deer to age in a tree for a few days.

Then Paul and I went to work to butcher it.  Paul helped me get the skin off.  

He used the "golf ball, rope, and car trick to get the skin off.  You take a golf ball and tie a rope around the ball covered with the hide. Then you attach the other end of the rope to a car and gradually reverse the car.

Assuming that one has cut the fur loose along the limbs properly, the hide just peels right off as the car backs up, very slick!  You do have to be careful to not stand opposite the deer during this process, because when the hide comes off the deer rockets forward as it rapidly releases.

I did the rest of the butchering of the deer and processed all the meat.  The buck was most likely about 7-8years old and weighed about 250#.  The meat has been tender and tasty.  We could only use one side of the deer, because the other side was so bruised by the car.  For those who wondered, the car is fine.  We had to replace a headlight and the plastic grill is slightly cracked up, but that was the extent of the damage.  The mini-van is really not worse for the encounter.

Here is the rack of the deer.  The antler is broken off on one side.  It came off when it struck the car.  It had 15 points and 1 dropped tine.  Obviously, it is atypical.  It scored a little over 130.

I have decided that I will not ever have to go deer hunting!  I already have my trophy buck!!!

( My nephew is going to mount the antlers for me. I will post a picture when it is completed.)

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