CacheCrazy.Com: From Field to Finish

Friday, December 7, 2012

From Field to Finish



This past Saturday afforded me an opportunity to spend the day deer hunting here in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania.  The previous days had been colder and, despite a warming trend, a nice dusting of snow still covered the ground.  I was anxious to get out and enjoy my time in the woods.

I took my post just as daylight broke.  The snow and morning sun gave the surrounding trees a bright glow, but it was still chilly in the early hours as I waited for deer to pass.  After about two hours of not seeing any deer (plus I was getting pretty cold by then), I felt that the day required a more aggressive approach.  So I took a silent walk through the thickets while scanning for movement out ahead.

Walking, stopping, looking. 

Over and over and over.

Then there he was.

The buck bounded out in front of me the way bucks do – a trot more than a run with tail raised in warning.  I shouldered my rifle, and several things went through my head in a matter of about two seconds – he’s not running fast… you’re going to get a good shot if you wait for it… you can’t shoot at his back… he’s turning now… be ready for it… there’s the opening you need… safety off… hold steady… there he is… there’s your chance… NOW.

The deer dropped immediately and I instinctively chambered another round.  I knew, however, the shot was fatal so I returned the firearm’s safety to the on position, retrieved the spent cartridge, and approached the deer.



As I unloaded my firearm, I was pleased to see up-close the unique rack on this Penn’s Woods deer – a four-by-two six-point!  While certainly nothing for the Pennsylvania record books, this feature gave him character and of course was a trophy to me regardless.  I knew how excited my young girls were for me to bring home a buck, and I couldn’t wait to get back to show them.  Still, moments like these shouldn’t be rushed, so I made sure to slow down and bask in the success of my hunt.  As is my ritual after every successful deer harvest, I quietly recited the words from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.  A friend hunting in the area came by and took several pictures before I began the process of field dressing the deer.  He then kindly helped me drag the deer back to the truck.


Lost on many hunters is what I call “the full experience” of hunting.  Whether it’s pheasants, turkeys, deer, whatever, I skin and fully process all of the game I take.  This is not as difficult as some believe and it is very rewarding.  When I met my wife, all of this was new to her.  After many years of me doing it, though, she not just accepts it, but understands and even appreciates it.  To my kids, it is just part of life, and someday I hope they’ll appreciate having this knowledge to use and pass along.  After skinning and halving the carcass, I let the meat hang for several days to cool and set-up before butchering.  



Once again, I am thankful for a successful hunting season.  For many of us, it's a way of life.

1 comments:

BigAl said...

I'm probably not the first to congratulate you, but I'll say it anyway; Congratulations. That is a job well done. I, like you, really enjoy being out in the woods doing just about anything. But I especially like hunting. It's nice to know of someone else who uses the entire deer, or other game, for their benefit. I know my wife really appreciated the fact that my son did get a buck. We processed it and even tried something new this year; we canned some of it. I can't wait to try it. If we get anymore we'll can some of that too. I spent some time out there this morning, but didn't see any deer. Well there is still tonight, and of course there is tomorrow too. Thanks for a great story about your day in the field. I hope you fill all of your tags.

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