Grilling venison

Farm Forum

My wife must really like venison. I say this because she has grilled no fewer than eight deer.

And by “grilled” I mean “violently smushed with the grill of our family sedan.” In terms of cost per pound, the deer meat thus acquired was more expensive than unicorn nose hair. It would have been cheaper had we lived on slices of white French truffles that had been gold leafed by the Keebler elves.

I find this troubling, mainly because my wife has a much better deer hunting success rate than me. And she wasn’t even trying! That just isn’t fair.

It’s been a few years since I’ve gone deer hunting and it’s been a few years since my wife has smoked a deer with her car. Maybe there’s a connection. Maybe we and the deer have reached an uneasy truce. In any case, deer hunting no longer seems like a matter of defending life and property.

Getting set up to go deer hunting involves substantial commitments. It begins with the acquisition of the proper firearm, a process that commonly entails visiting a sporting goods store where an enthusiastic salesman will wax eloquent for half an hour on the topic of caliber.

You finally interrupt him and say, “I just want something that can drop a deer!”

This excites the salesman even further and causes him to launch into a detailed dissertation about all the different kinds of ammo that are available. Terms such as “feet per second” and “foot pounds” and “grains” are bandied about. You nod as if you understand, even though you have no idea how the main ingredient in breakfast cereal has anything to do with deer hunting.

And buying a gun is just the beginning. You’ll also need special hunting togs and special liquids to mask your odious human odor and other special liquids that will make you smell like deer. If you’re out in the woods alone and have soaked yourself with “doe in heat” scent and drop something on the ground, you’d best not bend over to pick it up. Just think “buck in rut” and you’ll know what I mean.

In addition to the material commitments, there are several psychological factors. Bagging a deer isn’t just a matter pride, it’s also a way to prove to your wife that all that money you spent on all that hunting stuff wasn’t a total waste.

A good example of this is our friend Gene. One fall, Gene brought down a humungous buck clear out in the middle of a slough. After field dressing his trophy, he began the Herculean task of dragging it through a vast expanse of tangled, high-as-an-elephant’s-eye slough grass.

“At one point, I tripped and fell,” said Gene. “And as I laid there panting and exhausted, I thought, ‘If I were to have a heart attack and die out here, they wouldn’t find my skeleton until spring. But at least they would know that I got my deer!’”

Spoken like a true deer hunter!

I was riding along with my wife the last time she grilled a deer. I can attest to suddenness and total randomness of such an event. In less than a millisecond there was a flash of antler and buckskin and the “whomp!” of exploding air bags. We pulled over onto the shoulder, looked at each other and exclaimed in unison, “What the blank was THAT?!”

After determining that the car was still drivable, we limped it into the nearest gas station and summoned a constable. Still thoroughly shaken and stunned, we waited in the parking lot for the deputy to arrive. Some random guy came up to us and started talking.

“You folks hit a deer?” he asked.

His powers of observation were astounding! All he needed to reach the correct conclusion was the caved-in fender and the shattered grill and enough deer hair in the headlight bezel to construct several teddy bears.

“So,” he said after the appropriate amount of commiseration, “You guys gonna go back out there and pick up the deer?”

We said no, that we’d already had enough of that particular animal. He could help himself to as many servings of the cervid as he liked. After the deputy had finished with us, he and the guy went off into the night to find the dastardly deer that converted our sedan into a subcompact.

I think my wife should get her next car from the folks who design vehicles for James Bond. Because she could really use the front-mounted, radar-guided Hellfire missile option. And in a very large caliber.

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