Monday, November 19, 2012

A Hunting Story

Previous kills

Through the many years that we have owned this property there have been many deer killed here. O Wise One no longer really hunts the bucks for horns as so many do in this area. He hunts very close to the house and gardens and likes to take out young does for the table only.  

Horns hold little appeal to him any more : )

Yet the herd remains large and strong. We wage a constant battle with these animals over land and food. They tend to prefer to graze my gardens, blackberry bushes, fruit trees and  asparagus beds if allowed the chance. It is a constant struggle for domain. Some years we win and some years we lose. I cringe to think of the dollar amount attributed to loss of crops and fruit trees over the years here on this land. 

Appropriately we are working on our fourth deer in the freezer. O Wise One went hunting the other morning and killed his doe. After the doe was down he walked back to the house to get the 4 wheeler and trailer to haul the doe back to the house. It took about 30 minutes. On returning to the carcass he was too late.  The coyotes had found it. 

Coyote damage to deer carcass

In the half hour it took him to return to the animal, indeed the coyotes had already found an easy meal. This was in daylight ( early morning) and less than 500 feet from my garden. The coyotes managed to eat the rear of the animal but we were still able to salvage some of it.    

Venison Tally To Date

19 roasts
16 bags deer steak
12 bags stew meat
38 pounds of venison burger

We are at about 110 pounds of pure venison (no bone) in the freezer. Cleaned well, trimmed of all fat and membrane and frozen in vacuum bags. Deer season closes tomorrow but an additional doe season will re open in just a few days. He will attempt to get one more specifically for jerky and to make sausage and then we are done. 

O Wise One will be killing the Thanksgiving turkey tomorrow. How's that for fresh ? 

Then the two big guys above will be the next thing to butcher. One for us and one for my oldest daughter and her family. 

That should pretty well take care of the freezer. With homegrown and butchered chicken, turkey, rabbit, venison and pork in the freezer this should fill our meat needs for the coming year. With everything produced right here on this farm. 

Indeed we have much to be thankful for this coming holiday and everyday. Healthy and plentiful food raised responsibly on a small scale. Not for profit but for our consumption only. Not always cheaper than supermarket food .... by the time we purchase grain, but definitely better.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter   


  1. Your freeze will be full of food for the next year.

  2. "I cringe to think of the dollar amount attributed to loss of crops and fruit trees over the years here on this land."

    You also should look at the amount of free meat (deer) you harvested from the land. There is a little give and take in everything in life. By the look of all the antlers it looks like you are probably ahead. I don't mean to be negative but there is another side to the story.

    1. You are absolutely right and I will not disagree in any way! Through the years we have harvested hundreds of pounds of fresh venison for the freezer from the animals that roam this farm. The problem is that on the good years ( plenty of rainfall, mild winters and warm springs.. etc) the herds tends to get too thick sometimes. You can always tell on these years because the deer population becomes incredibly destructive(more than usual). There is where the coyote and mountain lion serve their predatory purpose. We have an abundance of coyote because we have an abundance of deer! Checks and balances ! This is why we rarely hunt the coyote depending on it and hunting to keep the deer down. With the bad economy though we see a huge increase now in those hunting for the table. Do you know that during the great depression the deer were almost wiped out of the state from hunting them for food. Then they were reintroduced.

  3. It's how I grew up and was raised on our farm living off of the land and live stock ! I used to hunt and fish with my dad when I was a teen. Nice hunt . Have a wonderful Thanksgiving !

  4. Good for you!!! Have a great Thanksgiving!:)

  5. I want to thank you for all the information you share on this blog. It's almost like an encyclopedia for farming, canning, gardening, and simple (absolutely wonderful) living. After looking at the way in which you trellised your grapes and blackberries, I was wondering how long your arbors have been in place? Do you have any additional pointers for someone who is fixin' to set up three or four of the trellises for our berries and would like to use the same system? I’m hoping to avoid having to redo the trellises in a couple of years. Thanks so much!!!!!

    1. First of all thank you for your kind words. I am hardly an expert on anything but like to simply show what works for me. What works on my farm, in my soil and in my area and growing zone. I am so glad that it helps people. To answer your questions about my arbors, they have been in place for 6 years. You can look at the size of the trunks on the grape vines and see that they have been there awhile. I think that eventually the bottoms on the steel posts could rust out but I am unsure as to how long that would take. I would imagine they will last much longer than wood posts. It is very important when the grapes are trellised this way that they are trimmed well in late winter so that the ones under the trellis get light.

      We grow Doyle blackberries and allow them to reach the top of the trellis and then cut the top out of the vine to encourage it to bush out.

      Thus far this system has worked great for us, is sturdy, locally available and relatively inexpensive.

      Good Luck....CQ

  6. you do have a lot to be thankful for and the best part is you know it! That is a lot of deer antlers, I have to show my grandson this photo, I know what you mean about the coyotes moving in fast, we had that happen on my grandsons kill last year, the deer jumped the creek and died on the shore across from my grandson, he had t go down stream to cross and by the time he got there the coyotes were on the spot, thankyou for sharing today,

  7. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all, CQ. ♥

  8. I Am wondering what you do with all the guts and stuff from cleaning so many animals (like 34 turkeys or all those deer). We are soon going to butchering some old hens and wonder if we should try to bury it all or put it in a big bag for Veolia! Thanks for your input.

    1. Livers, gizzards, hearts and such are a rich protein source and are saved and cut into small pieces and cooked down and added to grains and veggies for the dogs. The bones first cooked down for broth then and only then are they discarded along with the guts far from where my small house dogs could find them. Far back in the woods they will be scavenged by coyotes and such. We have buried them a time or two to enrich the soil but most times they are placed far back in the woods to be scavenged.


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