67. Deer Hunting (For Sport or Supper)

8 Feb

Photo by Kevin Chang
Flickr Creative Commons

At swank Seattle restaurants, venison is a delicacy, complete with delicacy prices ($25 to $45 per entrée). Southern fine dining establishments rarely feature venison for one simple reason: deer meat is FREE. Ok, I reckon you have to factor in the cost of a shotgun, some camo gear, a deer stand and possibly a four wheeler. But after those one-time investments, you can enjoy all the venison you like at no additional charge.

Of course, most Southerners don’t hunt simply for the meat. Would you rather A. crawl out of a warm bed at five a.m. to go and climb up a deer stand and freeze for hours hoping to get lucky or B. go to Kroger and buy a t-bone? Right.

So what is it about hunting that appeals to Southern males (and, yes, even some females)? The thrill of the chase? Well, no, you generally sit and wait for the deer to come to you. The camaraderie? I’m told you’re not allowed to chit chat so as not to spook the deer. Does it really come down to the joy of killing animals? Isn’t that how most serial killers get started?

Diana: Goddess of the Hunt. >br> Photo by Wally Gobetz
Flickr Creative Commons

Best I can figure, deer hunting is about bragging rights. As if the number of points on the antlers of a man’s felled deer directly correlates to the size of his unmentionables. I mean, you don’t often hear about someone shooting a 5 pointer. No, they’re all aiming for 10 or even 12 pointers.

Also, there’s the matter of taxidermy. What deer hunter doesn’t aspire to display his trophy deer head for any and all to admire? Some even go so far as to use the poor creature’s paws as a gun rack. Hmm…collecting trophies of one’s victims…isn’t that another well-known serial killer trait? Or am I the only one who watches far too much Law & Order?

In hunting circles, a boy’s first kill is a rite of passage similar to a bar mitzvah…with a lot more blood and a lot less dancing. At the very least, the blood of the animal is smeared on the kid’s face. Some folks even go so far as to encourage the kid to drink the blood or take a bite of the heart. If this sounds barbaric, well, that’s because it is.

Photo by lobstar28
Flickr Creative Commons

Speaking of barbaric, when I worked as photographer for a small town Mississippi newspaper, I was tapped to shoot pictures of recently departed deer alongside a happy hunter. Usually, the deer’s tongue hung out of the side of its mouth, which I always imagined as a belated eff you. And in case you are wondering, yes, the newspaper occasionally ran the photos if it was a slow news week. Like there’s any other kind in Crystal Springs, MS.

Some argue that deer hunting is necessary to thin the herd. Sadly, that’s true. Ask anybody who’s smashed into one of Bambi’s kin as it unexpectedly dashes across the road. And if you live in the South, you know at least one, if not a dozen, folks who’ve experienced that particular trauma. But, hey, even if your car’s totaled, you still get free venison. And you wonder why everybody in the South has a deep freeze

Are you a hunter or more of a gathering type?

6 Responses to “67. Deer Hunting (For Sport or Supper)”

  1. 2blu2btru February 9, 2011 at 7:11 am #

    I love venison (even if I had to check I spelled it right)! I had a friend in college from Texas, and he cooked it every way you possibly could for us–deer jerky, venison burgers, venison meat stew, venison chilli–and I ate it whenever I got the chance. Even in Michigan we had a school program featuring Native American culture, and they brought venison. I was in first or second grade and it was the first time I’d tasted it. I’ve liked it ever since.

    As for hunting, it’s not my thing, but I could prepare a hunted animal for eatin’, LOL.

  2. girloutofdixie February 9, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    I have to admit that I’ve never cared for venison. I know that you can supposedly get rid of that “gamey” taste, but I’ve never encountered any non-gamey game.

  3. bayoubyme February 10, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Your humorous remarks about “Isn’t this how serial killers get their start?” shows how long you’ve been out of the South. That thought doesn’t even cross a hunter’s mind down here!

    By the way, I’m in the South after having lived in Portland for four years. I’m waiting for a post of things Southern people like–sunshine.

    Was it hard for you to adjust when you moved from sunny to rainy and gray? It was for me, but I’m back in the sun now–glory!

    • girloutofdixie February 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      I lived in Southern California for about 7 years before I took up residence in Seattle, so I’d kind of had my fill of sunshine. I’m one of those disturbed folks who actually enjoys gray and drizzly. (But not if it drags on too long like last year…) The contrast makes me truly appreciate the sunny days of summer.

  4. Julie February 11, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    When I was growing up, we never used the word “venison”. It was always “deer meat”, as in “If you’ll pull me some of that deer meat out of the freezer I’ll fry us up some deer steaks.” Deer meat chili is always the most popular version of the dish at the church chili supper.

    • girloutofdixie February 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      I don’t think I’d heard the word “venison” until I moved out of the South. I reckon seeing “deer meat” on a menu might frighten folks off. Kind of like how they call veal “veal” and not “baby cow.” Although oddly, no one seems to have a problem with “lamb.” And baby sheep are way cuter than baby cows…

Leave a Reply to 2blu2btru Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: