Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Butcher of Crescent Flats

You can probably guess from the photos that the hunt was successful. It wasn't easy for the orange-coats - All four of the shack hunters struck out the first weekend. It was cold with a little bit of snow and lots of wind. They tried a lot of county forests and walked their legs into good condition because of the extra pounds of clothing and boots and guns. The TV kept reporting a good harvest but it wasn't happening to our hunters. Thanksgiving came and went and then on Friday afternoon, Bing backed the truck into the driveway and we thanked God for the beautiful eight point buck he landed. It was down in a steep gully in the woods and he asked me to come along and help get the buck up the hill and to the truck. It was eye opening to me to see what the hunters are faced with. The forest is not neat and well pathed and to get down to the dead buck we had to carefully pick our way over the rocks and fallen trees and snow covered branches. Every time I heard an echoing gun shot, I cringed and wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. Luckily Bing could drive the 4Wd truck into the woods and to the top of the gully. He took a thick rope that he keeps in the truck for logging and pulling cars out of ditches, down the hill and tied it around the buck's neck. My job was to guide the cadaver up the hill as he pulled with the truck - the idea was that we didn't want it getting caught on branches or crags or logs sticking up - well, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I've always had a habit of asking my guardian angel for help - and sure enough - my angel came through. The deer slid along beautifully around any possible impediments and I struggled to keep up with it and look like a guide. We hoisted it onto the truck and took it back to hang in the garage. The next day Bing and Bernie and Doug helped skin it and quarter and debone it and then it's up to me to butcher it into the various cuts of meat. Well, this old city girl learned to butcher from no one so I don't know too much about what I'm doing but we've always been real happy with the end products and no one complains so I'm happy with the job. Actually, when I was thinking about writing a blog about this, it made me examine how I feel about butchering and I was pleased to find that I love it because having that beautiful gift of rich lean meat made by God to nourish us is great. The one thing I know is that it's important to get as much of the fat and sinew off the meat to take away any gamy taste and I think that's true because our family always loved venison as much as beef. In the butchering picture, that's the meat from the nubbin buck that Bernie shot in the last minute of the hunting season on Sunday. The biggest bowl has the scraps that I've already cut away and the two bowls on the left are stew meat and meat to be ground into hamburger. I also cut the pieces into steaks and roasts and then package it for the freezer. Bernie's buck is done now and I'll start ours after we get the Christmas presents for Oregon into the mail. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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