The deer and the real horror

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I’ve spent the last couple weeks processing venison. Last night the liver was boiled for dog food and there’s a batch of jerky marinating in the fridge. A steak was eaten yesterday, not bad, a little tough because it was an ‘older’ deer probably between 2.5 and 4 or so years of age. As I’ve learned on YouTube aging deer either by sight or jawbones is not always an exact science.

Sunday before last was spent walking around a friend’s property with an old friend in hand, a Thompson Center Hawken Rifle of the caplock variety. Over the years I’ve used its .45 cal patched round balls several times to transition deer from the fields and woods to my freezer.

But transition seems like such a politically correct term, kinda like ‘harvest.’ What we hunters do is kill and I’d probably still enjoy the hunt and kill even if I didn’t eat the meat. Yes I’d find someone who wanted it. More on all this later.

My favorite form of hunting is called ‘still hunting’ what many would think of as stalking. It’s more interesting than trying to sit in the same place for hours and much easier to fight off nap time. The changing leaves and comfortable temperatures make for my favorite time to hunt.

There’s a magic in the woods this time of year that seems to float somewhere in a dimension between the colors and fall wind that once in a while reveals one of winter’s icy fingers feeling around for what damage can be done.

The years I have time to hunt very much I use the first Kentucky muzzleloader season to scout and hunt at the same time since I usually don’t notice much buck sign before then. Scrapes are beginning to appear and rubs are easier to see because of the falling leaves. Plus deer have transitioned from grass and browse to fall mast like acorns.

So Sunday before last I got into the woods about 9 am. An early riser I haven’t been in a long time, plus I’m no longer convinced it makes that much difference, especially at certain times of the year. While a teenager I’d ride my motorcycle 5 miles in 20 degree weather and climb up to the stand while the stars were still in the sky to take a chance on seeing what was then a rare sight, a Kentucky whitetail buck during gun season. No more.

After walking and sitting for 4 hours or so and seeing a fawn and maybe a tail flash through the woods and several squirrels who seem to know when they aren’t on the menu that day I ate lunch and headed up the hill to watch a field or where ever I decided, or the feeling, intuition or my ‘deerdar‘ took me.

The field had no spot that I felt gave me command of the entire scene so I decided upon a dirt road in the woods that went down a ridge that had yielded an 11 point buck during modern gun season two years ago. Noting a scrape on the road and a large downed tree near the trail that would give me a view of the road and large oak trees below it I decided that’s where I would set up my ambush.

The move over to the tree was just shy of dead waking because the leaves were now as dry as potato chips. I cleared out a place to sit putting down an old military poncho as a ground cloth and cut off some undergrowth so it wouldn’t catch on my rifle and make more noise as I slowly swung it toward any prospective trophy. About two minutes after I finally got to sit still came the sound of something moving through the leaves along the side of the ravine below me.

It was a buck I had waited a lifetime to see, and maybe kill, with the rifle I had bought when I was 15 years old and maybe a chance to do better than the bad shooting on the buck two years before. No ‘monster buck’ maybe, possibly some kind of record according to a fellow deer hunter but enough to spend $275 or more to mount? Probably not on my current budget.

For several minutes he stood facing me, happily eating acorns. He only stood still once, raising his head for a few seconds after I had moved slowly to raise the rifle towards him, but he went back to his feast. The shot from the front was too risky with my degraded eyesight at that distance for fear that I might simply wound and never find him in the sumac thickets and post logging and ice storm undergrowth that cover much of that farm.

So finally he turned uphill and moved a few feet, stopping where I could see him between the trees. My 20/40 vision in my right eye made me take longer to place the sights than it should have and I probably aimed a little high to miss the weeds and tree limbs between us. The gun boomed and the smoke from the black powder masked the scene but I could still see the buck turn and bound away.

Then his noise of running turned to what sounded like a crash and a thud, only a few feet from where he had been standing but he was still out of sight. As I struggled to keep my composure and clean and reload my rifle I was nothing short of tickled pink but with the knowledge that the deer snorting at me from farther down the field line could be him, laughing at the old hunter who can no longer shoot straight.

Finally at the place he was feeding there was no blood, which is not uncommon with a round ball, which usually does pass through the body of the deer. So following the direction he took I saw his body laying in some small Oak trees. Then the real work began.

All this is related not to only tell a deer tale and brag a little, which is done with the acknowledgment that I just happened to sit down at the right place at the right time after seeing large tracks and scrapes and a large buck in the area the year before and killing a similar size animal two years before in the same patch of woods.

Deer hunting is 80 percent preparation, research and skill and presence of mind and 99 percent luck. Most hunt for years or a lifetime and never kill an animal of any real size. Many years I didn’t hunt at all or a few hours at most so I’m not the committed trophy hunter many are.

A much younger trophy hunter than I underwent his own right of passage recently. Maybe it won’t be the only time he takes an animal of such stature but for sure it won’t be the last time our blood domestic enemies attack someone for doing what for humans should come naturally.

Our ancestors were probably scavengers before they were real hunters, maybe depending on what the latest official version is from the world of anthropology. But it is undeniable that for hundreds of thousands of years our ancestors took to the field after what was for them survival, not just sport or an addition to an over stuffed sometimes deadly diet.

We must stop apologizing to our blood domestic enemies for what we do for that gives them credence where they have nor deserve none. They are like a teacher I remember in high school who said, after hearing some of us discuss our hunting excursions that she didn’t think she could kill anything, “Well maybe a chicken.”

“You mean you could kill one of those cute fuzzy chicks” I asked her, not having even at that time much patience for mindlessness. My early political education had come from Outdoor Life magazine which on occasion would report on the efforts of ‘anti-hunters’ to save Bambi.

Lately we’ve been enjoying another kind of season. Well not really. Some people hate election time so much they go out of their way to miss it entirely which is probably a good thing. We don’t need any more stupid willfully ignorant voters.

But as a moth to the flame I’m drawn like any good Marine to the front. A couple of my Saturday afternoons this fall have been spent ‘campaigning’ for republican candidates for the Kentucky House of Representatives.

As always we cannot guarantee what any candidate will do once they are in office. But Take Back Kentucky and many others are looking for Liberty leverage in this growing police state. I only spoke with a handful of potential voters, hearing everything from the mindless drone of “I’ve known him all my life and couldn’t vote against him,” to “I’ll vote for him if he shelters me during the Ebola zombie apocalypse.”

Much is at stake here and so few see it. That’s the horror of it. From the horror of internet trolls threatening a kid who did something to be proud of, learning the basic skills he’ll need some day to fight for his Liberty to the constant battle to force our governments to acknowledge what we already posses to the evidence that we should already have a militia force in place to deal with evil like this to the fear that still controls many to the point that they have to come up with a politically correct label for what is our right, duty and responsibility to do.

I’ve been reading the last book of a series on the War for Southern Independence. In this book the arrogant misled Yankees can’t understand why the southern men fought so hard against the northern invaders who were threatening their homes and their Liberty. That’s what war is, not just the confusion of combat but the incomplete understanding of what brought it about in the first place. Ours will be no different and it will be forced upon us ready or not.

“Death by violence, death by cold, death by starvation – they are the normal endings of the stately creatures of the wilderness. The sentimentalists who prattle about the peaceful life of nature do not realize its utter mercilessness.” – Theodore Roosevelt in his safari diary.

FK – So much for the idea that wild predators only attack the weak or kill quickly.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, after years of sightings, has finally acknowledged that these big cats can sometimes be found in Kentucky. Supposedly one has been seen within a couple miles of my house within the last couple years. So the predator can become the predated.

An animal killed by a kinetic energy weapon usually bleeds out pretty quickly if the lungs or heart or major arteries are damaged/severed. A brain or spinal cord hit will put them down immediately as seems to have happened here:

FK – Too bad all kids don’t have real parents who see the necessity of teaching them reality:

What to teach your kids

This is the ‘presence of mind’ part:

  • Ches

    This is great writing. Congrats on your venison. Well written and interesting. Ches

    • Barry Bright

      Thanks Ches. Good hunting, whatever your game may be.