Deer and December

I love December, my wife Julie not so much. As far as I’m concerned December brings time at the deer camp with my family and my friends. As far as Julie’s concerned I’m either away at the camp, or I’m at home wishing I was at the camp.

It’s not that I don’t like to spend time with my family, or fish bass tournaments, or film TV shows with my sponsors. I do, especially the time with my family. It’s just that deer are the ultimate quest in my book. If I could explain it better than that, I would. I can’t. It’s something in my soul that never seems to grow old. Unless you have that something you can’t understand it.

Years ago I was lucky enough to buy into a hunting partnership with a half-dozen other guys. We own some land we hunt and a cabin to stay in while we’re there. We can take our families and a small number of guests with us so we aren’t isolated from them. It’s a really good deal.

During December I pretty much stay at the camp except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This year I stayed home long enough to go ice skating with Julie and the kids on the day after Christmas, but the next day at dawn I was off to chase the deer. Some of my family went with me.

In my defense, we’re going to take a snow skiing vacation in February. I’ll post a couple of pictures when it happens. You won’t have any trouble spotting me. I’ll be the one on the mountain wearing camo.

We have a number of harvest permits we issue through our camp. Some of them are for trophies and some for meat. They’re issued based on the sex, size and age of the deer. This year my boys, my dad and me all got to use our trophy permits, and we killed another 25 or 30 deer during the same period of time. Not a pound of the meat will go to waste.

We keep most of the does for our family. We have them processed into tenderized steaks, deer burger and summer sausage. We eat a lot of deer meat at my house, and the way we have it packed it’ll last two years. If we have anything leftover when next year’s hunting season starts, it’ll still be good. I take the summer sausage with me to tournaments. It’s great to chew on for lunch.

Most of the bucks are given away to friends or to needy families.

It’s funny, you know, as I get back into fishing I realize that it’s easier for me to stop fishing in the fall and start hunting than it is for me to stop hunting in the winter and start fishing. That’s a heck of a thing for a bass pro to say, isn’t it?

Next week we’re going to talk about Rule No. 1 in bass fishing. It applies to casual anglers, serious anglers and tournament competitors all the same. Follow it and you’ll catch bass. Ignore it and you won’t.

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