Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Great Outdoor Weekend - After The Shot

What happened after Day 3 of my wonderful three day, hunting and fishing weekend! You can read about day 1 hereday 2 here, and day 3 here. In case you have not been following my story, I took a three day weekend to hunt and fish around Martinsville, Va. I hunted on Saturday and Monday. On Sunday I fly fished the Smith River. My in-laws live in Martinsville, so it was a cheap, easy trip.

Just to review, my last post left off with me killing a doe that had its hind foot caught in a barbed wire fence. It is an amazing account. My hunting partner, Pastor Buck met me at the kill site. We had to cut off the deer's foot to free it from the fence. By the time we had accomplished this, night had fallen.

Thank God for friends and headlamps! Without either I would have really struggled to get this deer out of the woods. Pastor Buck graciously carried my climbing stand back to the truck as I began to drag the deer out. Buck recommended that we drag the deer to a low area near the truck to gut it. He was afraid that, while I did nothing wrong, the land owner of the adjacent property may come over to question us, as were were right on the property line and the deer's foot was still stuck in the fence. Fortunately, the fence was not damaged in any way.

I always use a safety harness when I use my tree stand. One of the fringe benefits of this is that my safety harness has a built in deer drag. You wear the harness like normal and loop a strap that is attached to the back around the deer's neck. Even though it was mostly up hill, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to drag out. Buck came back when I was about half way to the truck. With two people it was quite easy. The 400 yards up hill, through the woods back to the truck was not bad at all.

It had been 17 years since I field dressed a deer. I'm so glad Buck was there to talk me through it! He had a Butt-Out tool. That, coupled with my gut hook and razor sharp Buck 110 folding knife made gutting the deer super easy. After just a few minutes I was done and the deer was in the back of the truck.

I had to be at work at 6:00 AM the next morning and I live four hours away from Martinsville, so I left immediately to go home. We quickly transferred the deer from Bucks truck to my truck. I have a 125 quart cooler. To both of our amazement, the large doe I killed fit in it with no problems. I was even able to fit two 20 pound bags of ice in with it! I am a real stickler about keeping my kills cool, so this made me very happy. The deer was on ice within an hour of killing it.

It is hanging way to close to the wall
I got home at 11:30. I was riding an emotional high and was hopped up on caffeine, so I decided to go ahead and skin it before I went to bed. I ran into a little problem with this. I had made a skinning station in my shed with a pulley system attached to a ceiling beam. The problem was that I placed the pulley too close to the wall. I could not freely spin the deer around. The skin came off easier than I expected, but I am going to move the pulley out so it is less frustrating next time.

Makes me hungry every time I look at it
Here is a little tip that will help your marriage: Don't let your wife's white toy poodle in with you while you skin a deer. A dog is a dog, white poodle or not. Dogs are attracted to yummy blood. My wife's white poodle was a red poodle before I noticed what was happening.

I placed the skinned carcass back in the cooler and took a long shower. I looked like something out of a low budget horror film and my poodle looked worse. I got to bed at 1:30.

After work the next day I butchered the deer using the book "Gut it. Cut it. Cook it." as a guide. We like roasts, so that is what I mostly made. All of the scraps will be ground. I vacuum packaged each roast individually. It took three hours, but was a lot of fun. Very little was wasted due to my inexperience, which made me very pleased. I figure we will get about 30 meals out of this deer.

Deboned, cut into roasts, ready to be vacum packed!

There was a lot of work after shooting the deer, but it was a lot of fun and much easier than I expected. I went to bed the evening after I killed the deer exhausted but very satisfied.

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