Consumption Of Deer Meat Promoted
Inside the Outdoors, December 10, 2010

When I recently read in a popular outdoor magazine that a poll was taken and the general public said that the news media did not promote the eating of venison, I thought I’d make it perfectly clear in this week’s column – EAT THE MEAT! How is that for starters?

I have always been up front with that idea especially emphasizing the “Harvest for the Hungry” program. Here, hunters tell the deer processors to donate their killed deer to the food banks so that the meat is consumed by the needy.

Venison is a tasty meat and low in cholesterol. In a sense, one could say, it is raised “cage free,” so, according to those watching the types and kinds of food they eat, deer meat should be high on the list of preferred meats, especially this time of year.

I have yet to figure out why restaurants don’t buy venison to be cooked and resold as main dishes. Maybe because trout are raised on farms, and deer and wild – that is one of my conclusions. Some places should consider it maybe as a seasonable item.

Anyway, I have heard over many years of writing this column that poachers will harvest deer just for the thrill of killing something and then leave the animals behind. Anyone who gets high on something like that, if caught, should have his driving privileges revoked indefinitely. Poaching is a crime. As I’ve said before, God is talking notes.

The talk of the town anymore is to see what hunter can come up with the deer with the biggest rack. From what I hear, there are some animals in our midst with eight to 12 points and bigger racks, but does that make the animal anymore of a trophy than one with smaller horns? No. Try telling that to a kid who just got his first deer that his animal doesn’t really count because of the size of the rack difference.

I’ve heard also heard it told that a trophy deer isn’t a real trophy at all unless its rack is outstanding. That’s not the case at all. I’ve seen many racks hanging in people houses that weren't that big at all. When I approached the hunters, they would always tell me the same thing – “Oh, that was my first deer.” There is a certain amount of pride and humility all wrapped up into one sentence. Usually, they will direct my attention to other deer heads hanging on walls throughout the house. All of those racks seemed to be just a little bit bigger. Do you suppose they went to the trouble of having those heads mounted to give the housekeeper something more to clean, or did those deer come with bragging rights that accompanied them?

I remember when I had my store, often hunters would come in and we would talk hunting and fishing. I don’t know why anybody would talk hunting with me, because at that time I didn’t know diddly-squat about the sport.

I recall one gent, in particular, who told me he had seen some fairly large bucks up on top of the ridge somewhere in a blueberry patch. Each day he returned to that locale, the buck was a little bit bigger and so was the rack. He kind of got sucked into this daily return routine, hoping that the following day he would find the animal that had that super rack that would be outstanding on his wall. On the final day that he returned, he waited patiently for the “trophy of all trophies” to show up. In his mind, he had it figured that this was the day. There was only one problem that materialized – no deer showed up at all. I guess there is a moral to the story. Go for the meat. The deer with a fairly large rack may just be worth its weight in gold, so to speak.

One more bit of wisdom. If you, the hunter, are so sure you are getting your first deer of the season this year and have already purchased a deep freezer to store the meat, because of last year’s successes, fine. But, don’t buy a freezer first, and then plan on harvesting a deer. You just may be stuck with an empty unit that could occupy something else!

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Received a report from the Pennsylvania Game Commission that David Price, 46, of Cresco, Monroe County, harvested a bear in Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe County, On Nov. 15. The field-dressed bear weighed 742 pounds, which equals an estimated live weight of 875 pounds. However, for official big game records, the Game Commission only recognizes skull measurements based on Boone and Crockett/Pope & Young scoring methods. For more details, one may want to check out the Pocono Record website.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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