Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bucky the Deer

Having recently graduated with honors from the Bellville, WI Hunter Safety Education Program, (I wanna give a shout out to my two new friends from class, 7th graders John & Kevin), I was eager to get out and learn the art of taking down a deer.

The week following the graduation ceremony (which was eerily similar to an actual academic graduation with a line of students that were given a rolled up piece of paper-proof of completing the class-plus a new blaze orange hat, key chain, patch, and gun lock, followed by handshakes from the 4 course instructors (one of which was legally blind, but that's a different story for a different day)), I was talking with Tom, Camp Gray's Maintenance Man, about how little I knew about field dressing, skinning, quartering, etc. Tom didn't seem too concerned with my lack of knowledge, and he told me if I was fortunate enough to get a deer during the upcoming special 4-day hunt, he'd walk me through everything.

Well, as fate would have it, that same evening, I was heading back from a delicious barbecue dinner at Famous Dave's, with 4 pals from Camp. It was a cool, autumn evening, with the fall colors about a week from being prime. We were about a mile from Camp, when we spotted a dead buck (or so we thought!) in the ditch on Shady Lane Rd.

We continued on to Camp, but one of the guys in the car, Kevin, didn't seem satisfied with just leaving that guy laying out there. He wanted to go and at the least cut off his antlers. A couple of us didn't have anything else to do on a Wednesday evening, so Kevin, Sean, and I headed back out to go check on our new friend.

As we got close, we noticed there was a Sauk County Police Officer pulled over next to the buck, and as we slowly crept by, we could see that the deer was in fact not dead, but flopping and flailing about right there in the ditch.

We turned around and pulled up next to the officer to chat with him, and found out that the buck had been hit by a car in his hind quarters, and wasn't dead. Well, he wasn't dead when we first drove by, but the cop went ahead and finished him off with a bullet to the neck.

So, here was a perfectly good (albeit road kill) 5-point buck that had basically just fallen into our laps. We asked if we could cut off his antlers, but the cop told us that that wasn't going to happen. Well, logically, if a cop isn't going to let you cut off a road kill deer's antlers, you should probably just ask him if you can take the whole darn deer, to which he responded, "If you guys really want it, you can have it."

Initially, we decided against it, and headed home, but after discussing it further, (this was basically a free "field dress teaching tool") we borrowed Bill's truck, made a phone call to the police dispatch, picked up the deer, took him into town to get him registered, and then finally found ourselves standing over him near the Camp Gray burn pile.

We had tried to field dress Bucky earlier on the side of Shady Lane Rd., but a handful of cars kept stopping to see if we needed help (that's Wisconsin for ya).

No surprise to any of you out there with hunting experience, but apparently when you field dress a buck, before you can start cutting him open, you have to remove his manhood. Being my first experience, I was justifiably concerned. Also, because this was my first experience, I was given the "honor" of lopping 'em off.

As you can imagine, this didn't come easy for me. Ultimately though, I knew what had to be done. So, with much laughter surrounding my every move, I stepped up to the plate, and you know what? I don't care if I sound a bit boastful here when I say this, but I think I hit a home-run.

The rest of the night was a blur. We finished cleaning him out and hung him in Tom's maintenance shop. The next evening we went to work skinning and quartering him. After nearly 6 hours of work, we had roughly 60 pounds of delicious venison.

What's the moral of the story here?
Always have your new blaze orange hunter safety hat close by for pictures.

Yeah, check me out. I'm a hunter.

"You want me to cut off what?"

If you want some d-lish deer jerky, come by Camp in a couple weeks.

1 comment:

Jeff and Rebecca said...


Welcome to the blog world! How can you not blog with such wonderful stories as that. But come on, really, a home run?...