Took my second deer this afternoon, a decent sized spiked buck. I glanced out the back window and spotted a single deer alone. Since I shot the first doe, just about the only deer I have seen are the tiny button and doe that were with the big doe. They come every morning and every night. It's as if it is there way of saying "hey, this corn tastes great, sure would be better with mom". I can almost here their conversation. We have named them Nibbles and Snack after I mentioned that they are barely big enough to be a hundred calorie snack pack. Luckily, if they are big enough to shoot next year they won't be recognizable.
My youngest kid had a doctors appointment at 2:45 and I shot the deer at around twelve so I had to move my but to get this thing skinned gutted and in the cooler, before I had to go to town. I never imagined myself driving my daughter to the pediatrician moments after cutting off an animals head. Fortunately I was able to use the arbor at my wife's aunt's house to skin it which makes it a lot easier. They have a nice winch hooked up allow the deer to be raised to a good working height depending on what your doing. Even still for me it was definitely and experiment in speed skinning. I have seen videos of people skinning the deer by hooking the skin around a golf ball, tying it to a truck, and yanking it off, but that actually seems like a hassle. You still have to do most of the cutting and pulling it off isn't that hard if you can raise the deer high enough.
I did cut myself when I mere moments from being done as I cut the neck off and I did get stung by a bee, but I managed to get the deer skinned, gutted and in the cooler with a few minutes to spare. I was very happy to not open any of the intestines or stomach in the process and overall for my third deer skinning it went pretty well. There is definitely a fair bit of work involved, but I am starting to enjoy it. I kept the skin and head in the cooler and hopefully I can scrape the hide tomorrow.
This last weekend was the beginning of open hunting season in Tyler county. From a tree stand out behind the house I shot a medium size doe. The shot went right in behind the shoulder where I was aiming but came out at an angle and punch a hole in the stomach. Not terribly happy about that, but I was happy to kill something and put up some meat. The deer was with two small bucks not legal to shoot yet. When I shot the doe they ran off with it as it headed into the woods to die, but the funny thing is that about twenty minutes later, before I went out to track down the doe, they came back and kept eating. That is how docile and dependent on corn the deer in East Texas have become. The shame is that hunting should be one way to get out of the corn based agriculture system, but with everyone here pumping corn out of feeders they are almost as corn feed as the beef from the store.
Now I know why indigenous people go out in hunting parties. This thing ran about forty yards out in the woods through thick saw briers and berry vines. We had to hack through the thickets with a machete, following the blood trail, in order to locate the doe. Since my wife had surgery she can't lift anything and I had to carry this thing back to the cleared area by myself. I thought I was going give myself a hernia trying to carry her. I tied the front legs together and the back legs together which made it a little easier, but I could see how having someone to hoist up the other end of a pole would make this process easier. Once I got to the power line I could load it into the wagon. Most guys here like to ride haul there deer in there four wheelers, but it takes a real man to use a Radio Flyer.
After we got it back we took it to my wife's aunts house to cut up. They help show me how to skin and gut the deer since I have only done it once before. This time I actually managed to get avoid throwing up, although my stomach did twinge a little when I had to stick my knife through the ear in order to tie on the deer tag. I really have no idea how much this deer weighed or how much meat we will put in the freezer from this one. I have three more that I can take this year. According to the hunting rules here I can take one more doe and two more bucks. The bucks either have to have one unbranched antler or have a rack with a spread of more than 13 inches. I am not looking for a trophy, so I will go for small deer with unbranched antlers unless something huge wanders up.
While not really sporting the whole thing seems like contest to see who can sit the longest and wait for deer. After a few hours my ass was killing me and I was ready to be done. The real work though is getting it out of the woods and cut up which is a good deal of work especially if you don't know what your doing. Unlike most people in Tyler County I don't own any camouflage clothing. This is all I have two camo bandanas I got from Wal-mart for two dollars. Mostly they just helped keep me warm and the bugs off my face. I did later change from my early morning black shirt to a olive green shirt, but most of the deer could clearly see me. Even the one I shot stared at me for around a full minute before it rambled off down the path to its demise.
Hunting really doesn't seem like the appropriate term for this process. I watched this show about some guys in Africa who would chase down an animal. They would all scout around until they found an animal they could separate from the herd, then one guy would chase after it. He would just keep chasing it until it collapsed and died from exhaustion. That sounds like hunting. I guess it is possible because the person can carry water and drink while they run, but the animal won't stop to drink while it is being chased. By possible I mean, possible for a guy who is in the kind of shape one gets into when your hungry enough to chase down your dinner.