It’s That Time of Year

Now that it’s December, my normal workday ends at 4 p.m. Not because it’s dark. It stays light until nearly 5:30. But everyday at four now I stop work to go deer hunting.

But to be fair, I don’t think that means I’m working less. I consider deer hunting part of my farming/homesteading work. I don’t hunt for trophies and I don’t particularly enjoy it. It’s not a hobby and I don’t do it for fun. I hunt deer for food and to help manage the deer population here (which is far above what nature can reasonably handle).  Hunting is a natural and normal part of homesteading and a sustainable country lifestyle.

We haven’t bought any meat for over 10 years. The only red meat I’ve eaten during that time has been venison, which is delicious and healthful. It’s the ultimate in free-range naturally-raised meat, and I hunt in a way that doesn’t needlessly stress or pain the deer. With a few deer, fish from our pond, the extra roosters we have to cull and some of our pork, I have all the meat I could possibly eat–and all from right here on the farm.

On really cold days I don’t look forward to sitting still for an hour or two, shivering and waiting for deer that usually don’t show up. But I like being responsible for feeding myself, and it’s good to know that the animals I eat live natural lives and haven’t been tortured in some factory before ending up on my plate.

 

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21 comments on “It’s That Time of Year

  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Sending warm(deer-attracting) thoughts for your wait on the run. [Break a leg?; ]
    Meanwhile, with a modern twist: Lady Gaga & Joseph Gordon-Levitt http://youtu.be/ZtoW4aV-CIc

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    • Bill says:

      It’s normal to be shivering cold this time of year, but honestly I haven’t been shivering much this year. It’s nearly 60 right now and we’re forecast to hit 70 later this week.

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  2. shoreacres says:

    I’ve got a processor lined up, and a hankering for some venison sausage and backstrap. Now, if I only had a deer… I hope you get a good one, and don’t have to shiver too long.

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    • Bill says:

      There’s no pressure now, as I’ve already put away 3. Cherie says I can keep one more but if there are any more after that I’m giving them away. I have a couple of friends on the waiting list and would be glad to add you if you weren’t so far away. Hoping someone comes through for you.

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  3. I too consider hunting part of Homesteading, you do feed the deer all year and with the price of beef these days it doesn’t make sense not use this food source.

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  4. avwalters says:

    Not this year–we already have too much (figuratively speaking) on our plates. But next year…we may well decide to hunt. We are debating using a bow–neither of us liking the noise factor with a hunting rifle. And I can see myself returning to sport fishing (which I did a lot of, in my youth.) Currently almost all of the meat we eat is organic. (We make an exception for our Canadian source for gluten-free bacon.) We see the transition as being in part, health driven, and also reflecting that we don’t want our dollars to support actions we find reprehensible. Sadly, most of the meat industry these days falls in that category.

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    • Bill says:

      I became a “farmitarian” when I knew that my conscience was otherwise going to require me to become vegetarian (as Cherie is). It’s easier now to find ethically produced animal products, but I’ve stuck to my farmitarianism.

      I’ve never hunted with a bow but I know many who do. I’m not inclined to it for a couple of reasons, but it does have its advantages.

      Liked by 1 person

      • avwalters says:

        My main objections to buying a hunting rifle is noise. I already have hearing loss, and I think of the neighbors.

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      • Seeking Joyful Simplicity says:

        I like that term “farmatarianism”. Just curious, how many deer do you typically put away for the year? And I wonder if you could sell venison? Where I used to work in Front Royal, VA, there was a group that donated their extra venison to the homeless shelters. Not sure how that works, since everything is so regulated for safety (ironically, since our current food industry is so unsafe.).

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      • Bill says:

        We usually put away 2 or 3. Cherie is a vegetarian, so it’s all for me and that’s usually more than enough. At least one of them I have made into summer sausage, which I like to snack on. It’s not legal to sell venison, so that isn’t an option. We can however donate the meat to our local food pantry and I’ll do that if I take many more.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. BeeHappee says:

    I could have gotten a couple beautiful bucks for ya yesterday morning, they were just 10 feet away.. As I pulled the camera shutter release, I kept thinking, it could have been a trigger, and that thought still does not sit easy with me. My 4-year old on the other hand, cannot walk through the woods without endlessly plotting how to get a rabbit or a squirrel or a mouse with his sharp stick (which he calls a bazooka). Nobody ever taught him hunting, it is just in the genes.

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    • Bill says:

      I hope I never get comfortable with killing an animal. I take it very seriously, whether the animal is a deer, a pig, a chicken, a dying animal I have to euthanize, or a predator. But I resolved that unless I became a vegetarian, that’s a responsibility I didn’t want to delegate.

      The pressure is off this year since I’ve already taken enough deer to last me till next year. I’d like one more, then after than (if nature should permit it) I’ll be giving them to friends or to the local food bank.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We have a dear friend (pun intended) who travels to PA every year to bow hunt for deer. He didn’t get any this year. A few weeks after returning home, he got one off his back deck. 🙂 He does it for a food source as well.

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  7. Zambian Lady says:

    Wow, what a good life you seem to lead. I look forward to the day I will be able to produce most of my food, but know that it won’t be any time soon with the direction that my life is headed. Out of curiosity, do you also attract deer using feeding troughs?

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    • Bill says:

      We enjoy this lifestyle, but many (probably most) folks wouldn’t. If you’re feeling the call to produce your own food, I hope a way opens for you to do that. 🙂

      We don’t bait deer. It’s not legal here but I wouldn’t consider it fair anyway. Of course, they don’t need a feeding trough here, since they treat our gardens like their own personal salad bars. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. EllaDee says:

    When I was a kid living in the country your lifestyle was quite the norm. Interesting how times have changed in less than 5 decades… supposedly life is better but in some aspects, such as this I’d disagree.

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