Walker gets his deer, and so does his dadDecember 4, 2020
By LARRY LAGRANGE
Last fall, I asked a local deer hunting family for their success stories. I enjoyed reading the kids’ writing, and if you had a chance to see it, I hope you liked it too. This year, my 10-year-old grandson Walker gets his chance at telling the tale of his successful hunt.
Walker and his dad, Aaron worked on prepping for the opening morning. Walker’s 20-gauge’s scope was sighted in, and he gained confidence shooting at targets. His dad wisely had him wear headset-type ear protection, which cuts down on the jerky trigger problem. He was told once more that the area to aim for is just behind the shoulder where the heart lies, though Walker knew that already. He understood that he needed to dress warmly. Sitting in a tree stand before daylight in mid-November can be chilly or downright brutally cold. The tree stand is right behind their house near Spencer in Owen County, which makes the hunt much more convenient. The stand holds two people, so dad sat alongside figuring not to shoot unless Walker had already scored and something really big came along.
Here’s Walker’s story.
“We got up at 6:00 and left for the stand. It took at least 15 minutes to get dressed with all the layers. We got to the stand with about 30 minutes of darkness so we didn’t disturb anything. Once we were able to shoot, it was about 15-20 minutes before we saw anything.
“A doe was walking down a hill by us, but we didn’t shoot it. Five minutes later, a buck came right by the stand and I decided to shoot it. It ran for about 30 yards, and then it dropped dead. We decided to wait for a while to see what else might happen. We waited for five more minutes and then a bigger buck came by the same hill the doe did. My dad shot it and it just dropped dead. After that, the doe that had come by started to snort and ran out of a thicket and stood right by us. We decided not to shoot that one either, but it stayed there for 20 minutes and then started to leave.
“After we got ready to field dress our deer, we discovered that I had shot a six-pointer and my dad a nine-pointer. We took them to the processor and we got to see a lot of other deer that people were bringing in. We got to pick the things they will make the meat into including meat sticks, hot dogs and brats, ground venison, and steaks. It was a fun day!”
Walker kindly donates his deer to us, and we enjoy the hormone-free meat. We use the ground venison to make tasty hamburgers, tacos, chili and spaghetti topper. We have stew meat for stew and soups. Our other choice is tenderloins, which are excellent fixed on the grill.
Marinading the meat overnight helps the flavor, but if the deer is young enough, the gamey taste is usually not an issue.
Some research uncovered these facts about our Indiana deer, from an article by John Allen in Huntingburg:
The settlers found deer abundant when they first came here, but overharvest led to nearly a complete decimation of the herd. The last known wild deer was killed in Knox County in 1893. From 1934-1940, our Division of Fish and Wildlife released a group of 296 on state and private land. Dubois County received 28. Brown County got the most with 80.
The animals were transported here mainly from Wisconsin, but some were purchased from Michigan and other states. Their breeding success rate led to the first deer hunting season in South Central Indiana in 1951.
A deer’s antlers are not sure indicators of age, but rather the animal’s overall health. A four-year-old buck may have a bigger rack than one twice his age in poor condition.
Antlers fall off each year between January and March. New ones come out at once, but remain soft until late summer when they harden and are polished on small trees and bushes.
With proper preparation, kids usually enjoy hunting. If nothing else, target shooting is a lot of fun.
Maybe there’s a youngster in your life who would appreciate the opportunity to learn how to shoot.
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