Deer season is upon us – the firearms portion, that is. Here in Missouri, the full season only lasts 10 days. Then I think there’s another 10-day season for doe, and then another for muzzleloaders. Archery season is long. But firearm season: 10 days.

Now I’m all for hunting as a skill; archery requires this of a man. But we could really use the meat, and archery is less of a sure thing than my Ruger 7mag. So yesterday morning, as the firearms season made its grand entrance, Taylor and I stealthily entered the woods to see what we could bring home.

The weather was merciless – in the 40s, somewhat windy, and cloudy (so no warming sun). I sat at the back of our property (a rectangular 43-acre strip of rugged rocks and hill-country and creek beds) in a 12-foot deer stand we had commandeered (someone apparently used to hunt out here, and they left a few tree stands for us) and repaired. I arrived at the stand at about 6:15AM, bundled up, camoed out, and all geeked about the possibility of a kill.

For the first 3 hours, I saw absolutely nothing save a few annoying squirrels and birds, and a trespasser using a trail on our property to get to a hunting spot on another property (where he allegedly had permission to hunt). Flashback to The Most Dangerous Game.

It was sickeningly cold – the sun offered me no warmth, but only a dim light in the oak grove where I sat. For the first couple of hours, shots rang through the valleys as other hunters claimed their kills. Then the shooting tapered off, and I sat in shivering silence. At around 9:15AM, I had nearly resolved to give up for the morning, and head back to the house. But I remembered that Taylor and I had agreed to stay in our stands until 11:00AM, or until we shot something, and I could just hear him saying “You know as soon as you left your stand, a monster buck came walking right up to where you’d been.” So I let patience have its victory, and renewed my determination to get a deer.

No more than 15 minutes later, a 9-point buck walked into the clearing where I sat – maybe 50 yards away. I checked his antlers through my scope (Missouri law forbids shooting a deer that doesn’t have at least 4 points on one side) – everything looked good, so I quickly lined up a shot and pulled the trigger.

He jumped, and began to run; I wondered how I could have possibly missed him. I chambered another round. But he only traveled about 20 yards before he fell, rolled over a couple of times, and died. Success.

Then came the misery. In my inexperience, I was neither knowledgeable enough, nor equipped enough to field dress him before dragging the carcass back to the house to skin and muscle him out. So I lugged all of his big body through the woods, up and down hills, across creeks, up the far-too-steep hill to our house. Not far into my trek, Taylor found me and came to my aid. Together we finally brought the old boy home.

After a quick online brush-up on deer-cleaning procedure, I veritably got ‘er done. We cleaned, sliced, and packed the meat, while Tool-Cat chewed the extra scrap bits.

Thanks to our good God for a great day, a word of patience, a kill-shot, and a freezer with plenty of meat in it.

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14 Responses to Deer

  1. Sister says:

    yeah boy! Good thing you gave it 15 more minutes!

  2. Anthony says:

    Oh my gosh, you’re like… a man. Do you poop in the woods, too?

    In all seriousness, a really interesting post, as I have never even fired a weapon, let alone killed and cleaned my own food.

    City-boy: Impressed.

  3. Robin says:

    Wow. What did Taylor get??

  4. Claire VonderMehden says:

    Perhaps now that Tool Cat has had a taste of something killed, she will power up and become the beast fate has declared for her.

  5. Adonius says:

    You mean Taylor didn’t have to come slit its throat for you?! I’m impressed, Brother. I’m wondering why you didn’t try to figure out how to gut him BEFORE you went hunting, but I’ll let it rest. No I won’t: you’re ridiculous, and a pansy-boy. Anyway, nice kill. See you in a week!

  6. Travis Brown says:

    the firey look of blood lust in the first picture is great! Glad y’all were sucessful. If it were me I would kill, clean and cook the deer in one fel swoop with a good ol’ fashioned Goukakyuu no Jutsu (link for explination provided)>>>>>

  7. Friend Mouse says:

    What a wonderful experience! I wished I could have been there to share in the fun! A quite note-worthy accomplishment, Nathan. You’re going to enjoy that meat for a good while…and so nutritious!

  8. Ben says:

    That’s awesome. SXN-8: we kill things

  9. Christina says:

    Nathan- I have to say that I’m a bit scared of you after seeing the pic of you and your prize. Congrats on such an amazing first-time-hunting story!

  10. Dave Safstrom says:

    Reading the Ozark House before work… Nickel Creek on the headphones.

    I miss you bro.

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