We harvested this doe today and we are processing the meat ourselves. We have hunted this land for 6 years now. We know these deer are drinking from the springs on the property. We watch them get fat on all the acorns that cover the forest floor. At this point we know where and how they move. Without seeing the deer drama that unfolds under the moon light, we can piece together the story and the hierarchy in their ranks by studying the tracks and scrapes the next morning. Now, we even can take a good guess on where they will be through out the day. Its grounding to have a relationship with nature in this way.

Notes:

-  The smoke is by far the best method we have discovered to keep the fly’s and wasps away from the meat as you work on it. We load hickory chips and oak leaves in the smoker. After the deer has had enough time to hang we do a quick wash in smoke then set the smoker underneath the work area. While the smoker rests, a small stream of smoke continually flows around the meat. This allows you to focus on the job and not worry about swatting at wasps with a knife in your hand. This method works great in the field. Just keep any heat from the meat… just a cool smoke.

-  Nothing goes to waste. Our chickens will turn those little pieces of meat on the bones into big beautiful eggs.

We marinate the venison backstrap in olive oil, sweet onion, salt, pepper, poppy seed, and a tablespoon of organic curry. It’s in the marinade for 3 days. Before it goes to the grill for dinner we take it out if the fridge in the morning. Ideally, the meat has acclimated to room temperature before cooking. We get the grill up to 500 degrees and cook it on one side for 5-6 min, then flip and cook for 4-5 min. We let it rest for at least 12 min before cutting into it.

- the meat can hang, skinless, above freezing and below 40 degrees. I have never had the conditions to do it ideally. Usually I let the meat hang for 24 hours. Tip: bring two ratchet straps. As soon as the dear passes, field dress, hang her upside down, and cut the jugular before the body gets cool. This is ideal to get the blood out while it is warm and can still flow. The look, texture, and taste of the meat depends on what you do in the first moments after you kill.

In closing:

From the hunting perspective, there is the, what seems to be always unfolding, interconnection with the wind and moon phases that guides us to the moment we see the deer. When one arrives to that moment it sets the stage for a challenge which forge actions that are unique to that person, that time, and that place that can never be duplicated again… or reversed. Its artful, if you open yourself to it. It may be one of the few ways to connect to the 10,000 generations it took to get us where we are today. In that light, we feed ourselves and our children the way “they” did… Non-GMO, free range, no antibiotics, natural.