The Hunter’s Lament

November 2, 2017 9:46 pm0 commentsViews: 73
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Non-hunters don’t realize all the effort and expense in getting a deer from the woods to the dinner table…

It’s something that happens nearly every year around this time. Someone who doesn’t have any idea of what is involved in deer hunting asks, “Can I have some deer meat?”

I used to say “Sure, if I get one I’ll give you some.” But then I realized all that’s involved in taking a deer from the woods to the dinner table.

I started hunting when I was 12. My father would pay for my hunting license and provide me with the 30-40 Krag that I carried every year into the woods up in Hickory Run State Park in Allbrightsville, PA. He got me the clothing, the practice, and the benefit of his guidance in the habits of deer —this very wary and intelligent animal.

Now I do all of this myself. My rifle is a .35 Marlin Lever Action equipped with a 3-9x Redfield Widefield Scope. This is a “brush gun” by the design of the bullet, an excellent choice for the brush country of Pennsylvania.

Several weeks before the rifle season starts (and I also hunt during archery season), I get out to the rifle range and sight in my rifle to make sure it is accurate to at least 100 yards. The rifle cost me about $250, the scope another $125. Bullets are about $30 for a box of 20, and the Hunting License for a resident hunter like myself, with archery stamp, is about $30. [Editor’s note —this article first appeared in 2012; any prices in the text may no longer be current.] I’m not even going to discuss the archery aspect of preparation because it’ll only get me madder.

I go to the range a few times to “sight in.” I go to my hunting area at least twice to scout the trails and set up a blind. I study, with binoculars, the area and the animals that frequent it. When the time comes, I generally know something about my chances for success.

Hunting season begins and I may go out a couple of times before I actually “bag” a deer that meets the PA Game Commission’s requirements for harvest. This means getting up at “Oh Dark Thirty,” driving up to the Pocono Mountains, hiking into the woods under cover of darkness and often by only the light of the moon (you don’t want to give your position away) and then sitting in the cold for hours in the hope that a deer will come within range of your rifle and your ability to make a good shot that will result in a clean kill.

Then it’s time to gut the deer, drag it out of the forest (which could take hours depending on where your blind is), drive it to the butcher and pay the man another $75-$90, depending on where you go.

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A few days later you get the call to come get your deer meat and you take it home and put it in the freezer you purchased especially because it can hold a lot of meat —for another $200.

Did you say you want me to GIVE YOU SOME MEAT?! ■

 

G.Alan Fink is a hunter and master photographer from Levittown, whose work has been published in 16 countries and won numerous awards.

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Look for The Lower Bucks Leader every month at stores, offices and community centers throughout Lower Bucks County.

Call 215-499-5535 to find a location nearest to you.

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