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Jason Akers entry - a story about venison  RSS feed

 
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"What are you doing tomorrow night?" Mikey asked me.

I said "Nothing planned, what's up?"

"Phil and Travis both got deer last night. You want to learn to cut meat. Stop by at 6:00."

In a feeble attempt to control my excitement I let out a shrill "YES!" as I slammed my palms on the stainless steel counter. Mikey is my butcher, we had become quite friendly over the past couple years. Always chatting about meat, cooking; Anything and everything. I had become friendly enough to the point of getting invited to his garage to hang out and drink a few beers. Or to help him with his Jeep restoration. Well, really to drink beer and watch everyone help Mikey with his Jeep restoration. Mikey is the salt of the Earth and his friends are no different. He doesn't hunt anymore as he has no real reason to; He does the butchering and gets paid in meat and help with projects like the Jeep. His freezer is always full of venison and he hasn't fired a shot in decades.

When I arrived the deer were on the floor in the corner. Having butchered a whole hog from pasture to plate a few months prior, it was less of a blow psychologically. But when you're still new to seeing that large of an animal, deceased, up close and personal; It's very powerful. It's a combination of guilt, sadness, confusion and wonder... rolled in with euphoria, compassion, intrigue and hope. To me, that is the trade off. Killing an animal is not supposed to feel good, killing should feel horrible. What should feel good is what immediately follows the death and what is done with the animal. To share a meal with loved ones, to educate children (and adults) about the natural world, to create tools and art from the hide and the bones. To honor that animal with every inch of it that you can and have it live on forever through your memory and story. That is the very least you can do. All these guys feel the same way and I wanted to learn hunting from no one else.

Travis and his son strung up the deer and they employed the 'golf ball method'. For the uninitiated, the neck of the animal is stripped of the hide down to the shoulders. A golf ball is then placed on the fur side and a rope is tied very tight around the flesh side, making sort of an anchor. Imagine a tow hitch on a truck; Which the other end of the rope is tied to coincidentally. From here timing and communication become paramount. One person eases the truck out of the garage as another stands by the carcass and guides the hide off. To de-glove a 150lb. buck took approximately 15 seconds. It was incredible. The reason for doing this is to keep the hair off the hide. It's obviously quite timely as well. With the hide off; Now it's food. Even though the head is attached the second you see almost 100% exposed flesh and bone, it's food. I walked up close to it while everyone was aside, sharpening and chatting. I peered deep into it's eyes and said a little something. I gave it a pat on the shoulder and thanked it for it's gracious bounty and looked forward to seeing him on the other side.

The next few hours were some of the most memorable of my life. Breaking down an entire deer, feasting on the backstrap cooked over open flame. Telling stories, reflecting and reacting. Days like that are reaffirmation of why I'm alive. If you've never had venison or think you don't like it -- I can say with near 100% certainty that you were given poorly cooked meat or it was stored improperly before slaughter. The flesh of a deer tastes of Earth and wind. I can't quite explain it but wild meat is simply unmatched in flavor as well as experience. The guys were kind enough to send me home with a few chunks of top round and some sausages out of the freezer from a previous harvest.

I will reflect deeply and fondly upon that evening for the rest of my life.



 
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Taxidermists and butchers are artists with knives. I love watching them work.
 
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J Hampshire wrote: The next few hours were some of the most memorable of my life.
Breaking down an entire deer, feasting on the backstrap cooked over open flame. Telling stories, reflecting and reacting. Days like that are reaffirmation of why I'm alive. If you've never had venison or think you don't like it -- I can say with near 100% certainty that you were given poorly cooked meat or it was stored improperly before slaughter. The flesh of a deer tastes of Earth and wind. I can't quite explain it but wild meat is simply unmatched in flavor as well as experience. The guys were kind enough to send me home with a few chunks of top round and some sausages out of the freezer from a previous harvest.

I will reflect deeply and fondly upon that evening for the rest of my life.



We went away from a hunters life to love go back to it!

I also deeply appreciate what you share about the so precise knowledge that is necessary to do very simple things...
And some think that only technology deserve this sort of respectful appreciation?!
 
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Thank you for sharing this story. I hope someday to have such an experience.
 
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