Another awesome weekend at Jay's cabin. Went up a few days earlier to test out working remote, since he does. Worked super well and pretty awesome to be working out of a cabin. Thursday night, I hit the Cyunna Mountain Bike trails for a hell of a good time, right after work. Friday night, we meet up with his buddy and the night turned into a pretty fun/crazy night.
Saturday, we were both hungover and had a super lazy day. Keeping an eye out for any deer in our area. Sunday came around, we got in the stands for of most of the day. Saw a few, but nothing worth the shot. Sucks because I wanted to see the process, but still nice to see how ya can't win every time. Still took a few shots of all the fun.
Jay called me saying, "just shot a doe. You coming up?" I was just about to sit down with a banker to close my shit Fargo accounts, after work. Handled all of that, called Jay back, and decided to head up. But first made a quick stop home to pack a bag.
During the field dressing process, Jay's first time solo, I fainted. Not fully sure why, but I would say it was probably due to the smell. Jay accidentally nicked the intestines at the start. I was bent over for a solid 30-40 minutes holding the flashlight so he could see what he was doing. Maybe my legs were locked out or something, but I could feel my body slowly faded away. Almost like I was slowly sinking into water. Wanted to tell him I was going to faint but was lost for words. Next thing I know Jay is like "What the hell Pete, you alright?" Both laughing, I stepped away to get some distance and fresh air, but still shining the light for him. He finished up and we dragged her out of the woods.
One of our goals, we have talked a ton about, was to butcher a deer ourselves. Yeah ideally it would be nice to have someone with us that knows what they are doing, but we watched a handful of YouTube videos. Plus, we both have a general idea on what needs to be done. Worst case, we would end up with more in the grind pile. Before we start, we need to get her hoisted up and let her finish draining out.
Next day, we had to wait till we both got off work to butcher. We knew it was going to take some time. During lunch break I decided to toss on his waiters and play around on the lake a bit.
Butchering time is here! But first, we need to skin the doe. Slice around the neck, down the arms, and down the chest. Then ya simply just start to pull down the skin, using your knife on any areas that get hung up. We noticed it would be nice to have it hoisted higher up to get more leverage, but we were pretty much maxed out on height in the garage.
Skin is off, now time to start to part out the different sections. Front legs, were the first to go, super easy to remove with no bones to saw through. After that, we removed everything from the neck, back straps, and moved onto the rear legs. Those took a little more work, but still was pretty easy to remove. After we had it all sectioned off, we started the cleanup process. Removing fat, tendons, bones, and silver skin (thin membrane layer, which gives wild game that strong game taste). This is around the time you really start to see all the different muscle groups and understanding the naming of the cuts of meat. We tossed everything we were keeping into a bucket, brought it inside to wash it (remove any stray hairs, blood, whatever on it) and package it. The downside to tossing it into the bucket, we lost track what was what. Had an idea, but just sort of guessed when wrapping to label it.
Overall, I have got to say this was a wild ride. From hanging out in the stands, getting the phone call, racing up, fainting in the field dress process, and butchering. I am so damn happy to have someone like Jay in my life. Someone willing to take me under his wing to learn about all things game. We are both learning as we go, but have the same end goal. Obtaining our own all natural wild caught tasty food. We are tired of shit wrapped in plastic sitting on the shelves in a grocery story. We would rather catch fish and hunt game to feed ourselves. Plus, processing all of it ourselves too. People have done it for thousands of years before us, we are tapping into our natural way of of life. We just need more practice. This really opened my eyes for a new passion, skill set, and overall humbling experiences in life. Nothing beats biting into a tasty piece of food you earned. Knowing you obtained it in the most humane way possible, with a clean, quick death of the animal. Most animals suffer hardcore before they die in the wild. I have seen some pretty messed up shit over the years hiking in the backcountry, heck even in urban parks. I still have a ton more to learn before I pull a bow back or a trigger myself. This was a fantastic way to get my feet wet and make sure this is something I really want to invest into. It is! I will become a hunter!