Update 1/6/2014: Ah, yes. The unrepentant, snarky, republican-in-training that I used to be. I disavow this entire post. What an asshole. I was 19 when I wrote this. I’m 23 now. Let me just say that I will never directly, intentionally harm another living animal as long as I live. The only reason I leave this up is to prove to myself that I’ve progressed past this point of senseless dickishness. I didn’t need to eat that deer to survive. Complete waste of a life.
. . . and I liked it.
So I’ve been hunting twice before in my life. We never got anything, so this time I was bound and determined to get a buck. Need to eat me some of that deer jerky!
So this time we I finally got one. We were driving down from the top of a mountain when a bunch of deer went running across the road. There were probably 4 doe, and then the driver spotted it! It was a buck! We all hopped out of the vehicle with our rifles, ran up the hill away from the road (you can’t shoot your deer right from the road; it’s illegal). There were three people with guns. My padre, my bro-in-law, and myself. It just so happened that the buck was right in front of me (probably a thousand yards or so 😉 ) standing super still in a bunch of quakies. My heart was thumping like crazy.
We hadn’t ever seen a buck during hunting season, and this time I had one right in front of me! I raised my rifle, looked at the buck through my scope, aimed right above it’s front legs, squeezed the trigger, and . . . I didn’t know what happened. My Dad asked if I got it, and I said I didn’t know. He looked super disappointed, and if my heart were beating at a normal speed, I might have felt disappointment too. I felt pretty good about the shot, but I never saw the buck fall or run, so I couldn’t verify the kill. I dropped to my knee and started looking through the scope again. There were like two doe that were staring right at me – still! I double-checked that they both didn’t have antlers, waited for them to run, then we started walking up the hill. Just when I thought I had let the buck get away, my friend started pointing and yelling that I had got it! No kidding!?
About ten feet in front of me lay the injured animal. I won’t lie, it was pretty rough. I felt sort of bad, but I’ll spare you the details. A couple shots and a few minutes of excitement later, my deer was dead. I’ll spare the gutting part too. Not very cool, but hey, somebody’s gotta do it – somebody like my Dad. lol. Thank goodness that my bro-in-law and his brother had been watching YouTube videos on the proper way to gut a deer, cause I would have been screwed if I had to do it alone. My Dad did the dirty work while my bro-in-law, his brother (my Mallard business partner), and I assisted.
It was dark by the time we finished and we took the fresh kill to the meat processing place. Gross. I wasn’t prepared for that crap. Yeah, I’m a pretty big wuss if you haven’t figured out by now. Usually businesses are fairly clean, orderly, and normal, right? Well, that’s not how meat processing places are. There is blood all over everything (including the floor you walk on), and people lugging in their dead animals. Pretty gruesome. I’ve never seen any of the SAW (or whatever they are) movies, but I felt like I was in a torture chamber. Not very cool, but hey, somebody’s gotta do it, right?
We went back a few days later, and for a little over $100 bucks bones dollars my dead animal had been turned into neat white packages of meat. Pretty spiffy.
Fast forward a couple weeks later (to today): I just pulled out three of those white packages, sliced them up, and mixed them with a jerky marinade. Tomorrow I’ll put the marinaded jerky slices in the jerky dehydrator that I purchased from Amazon!
So the night we get to our hunting destination in Southern Utah, we head up into the mountains to find the perfect meadow. A perfect meadow would mean a patch of grass out in the middle of some secluded area, with a watering hole, and fertile soil for the bucks to fairy-prance around in. At least that was our vision. The perfect meadow should also have a perfect sniping perch in the mountainside right next to it, right? Well, that’s what we found – at least that’s what we thought.
This is a picture of the crew overlooking the meadow from the mountainside:
This is a picture of the Watering Hole and meadow that we had all scoped out.
This was the perfect meadow. It had a watering hole in the middle of it, and a perch on the mountainside right next to it so that we could peep the thirsty monster-bucks the morning of the opening of the hunt. Before leaving our sniping post, we decided that we would return the following morning at 3:00 AM so that we could take our trophy by surprise.
Yawwwnnnn. We wake up, I eat a granola bar, some jerky, and we jet to the mountain! Yippee! After the bouncy, vomit-inducing drive up the mountain, we parked and prepared to hike to our perch. The preparation involved me eating another granola bar, and firing up my hardcore $3.00 flash light from the local ALCO (wtf is ALCO anyways?).
The sky was beautiful cool (because manly, deer-huntin’, blood-thirsty men don’t say beautiful, right?). There were tons of stars and they were crazy bright. I figured my chances of seeing a UFO were far greater than ever seeing a buck to shoot at. (pessimism rocks!) We hiked the mountain, got in position, froze our junk off, and waited. And waited some more. Then some more. Finally the sun came up, and we figured this would be prime time for a bite! At least that’s how it is in fishing, right?
About an hour after the sun came out, we had our ByNocks (cool way to say binoculars) focused on the meadow, and the watering hole that would be sure to bring the monster bucks from miles and miles away to sip from it’s glorious elixir of life. A few hours passed, and we wondered why no deer were coming. Had they drank their fill the night before? Was the water source contaminated? Had the squirrels and chipmunks alerted their larger counterparts of the impending danger that wait for them on the adjacent mountain?
Then it hit us. What we thought was the damned watering hole was, in fact, a 8’x5’ patch of dry mud! That explained a few things. Probably 10 or more hours later, we decided that we had been played! Bucks are far too sophisticated to be outsmarted by a bunch of humans. We were beat. We figured that the fetchers pawed up the ground to look like a watering hole, and waited – pointing fingers and laughing at us – in the nearby woods. Whatever.
So basically we waited up on the mountain overlooking the meadow all morning, and ended up leaving empty handed. Then that night on a completely different mountain, the story above happened. Go figure. 😉