I didn’t grow up hunting or fishing, although I did eventually do a bit of both with my high school best friend and his Dad. Caught some fish back in the day, but never took a deer. After retiring and moving back South, my neighbor (who grew up locally and spends a lot of time in the woods or on the water) has been getting me back into both.
I saw two does on opening day of the ’21-22 season, but didn’t have a good shot, and never saw another deer that season. The ’22-23 season started out okay – saw a couple does on different outings, but missed both as they were on the run. That’s about the time a couple at our church offered to let me hunt their 20 wooded acres, at which point my luck changed for the better. I saw deer on all three of my first outings, but I either didn’t have a good shot, or the deer was on the wrong side of the fence line. Finally, while sitting in a tree stand, this little buck came walking by not 10 yards away. My neighbor drove out and showed me how to field dress it, and then how to skin and quarter once we got home. Due to my neighbor getting sick, I ended up having to watch online vids to see how to cut it up, and Beth said I did good!
I went back the next week and took this little doe. The first shot didn’t put her down, but she only ran off about 20-30 yards and then stood still, giving me a chance to finish the harvest. I did everything myself this time, from field dressing to butchering.
The final harvest of the season was about ten days later, when I took this 2-3 year-old doe. I thought I missed her, but when I walked down to where she was when I shot her, I found blood and followed the trail about 100-120 yards to where she had succumbed.
My neighbor showed me how to ice down the quarters for 3-5 days; the technique works well, as the meat has not had any gamey taste at all (no brining or any other treatments other than ice, then vacuum-sealing the cuts and immediately freezing them). I’ve also been careful to remove all traces of fat and silver skin.