The Hunter’s Lament

December 17, 2010 2:14 am0 commentsViews: 43
Share Button

It is something that happens almost every year around this time. Someone who doesn’t have any idea 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 some to you,” but then I realized what’s involved in taking a deer 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 Albrightsville, 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 the .35 Marlin Lever Action equipped with a 3-9x Redfield Widefield Scope. This is a ‘brush gun’ by the design of the bullet, which is 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 almost $30. I’m not even going to discuss the archery aspect of preparation because it’ll only get me madder.

e1C393LLU27A0374.medI go to the range a few times to “sight in.” I go to my hunting area at least twice to scout the trails, set up a blind and study, with binoculars (another $60), the area and the animals that frequent it so that when the time comes, I generally know something about my chances for success.

Hunting season comes and I may go out a couple of times before I actually ‘bag’ a deer that meets the requirements for harvest set by the Game Commission. 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 (don’t want to give your position away) and sitting in the cold for hours in the hope that a deer will come within range of your rifle and abilities 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.

A few days later you get the call to come get your deer meat (about 40-50 pounds if you got a nice one) and you take it home and put it into the freezer you purchased that can hold that much meat (another $200).

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