Tree stand celebration

My husband got his archery deer Saturday morning. It was also the opening day of pheasant season.

South Dakota buck

It’s a whitetail, in case you’re itching to know.

South Dakota buck

He called me when he had his buck, and I sped over to snap shots.

I kept asking, “Drag him over to the light!”, “Great! Now over to the cornfields!”, “Go a little further this way!” Clearly someone else does all the dirty work for me when I hunt, because I didn’t even consider it weighed over 300 pounds.

Seriously, I get all the glory when I show off the horns on one I harvested, but don’t do any of the gutting, heavy work. I am such a girl (and I mean that well). A girl who is glad to be married to a man who does it for me. If you have ever been part of the gutting process … well, you’d understand.

Not to mention in late November’s opening morning of rifle season. We wake up in the calm of early morn during South Dakota winter temperatures, layer up in camo, throw on an orange beanie and head out to hunt. It doesn’t take long before I am hungry, cold and hungry. My sweet enthusiasm turns into the likes of a sow bear startled with her cubs. I … need … food. I … eat … you … now. Fortunately, my husband is great at the “just one more look over this bluff,” and I fall for it every time. He is saved from certain death again.

South Dakota man

Where is he? His camo has made him invisible!

Back to the story. As I was on my way home, he was hauling the buck in his pickup to Deer Camp for some showing off to fellow hunters. It is important to go through the back-slapping, point-counting, score-predicting tradition. Along with the harmless provocation, like, He’d a been better next year, boy!

Men love that stuff, apparently. For some, it’s in their blood.

As for me, a warm home, good food and undeserved bragging rights is in mine.

I know hunting may not be something you appreciate. As much as I dislike offending people, I gotta keep it real. This is our life.

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31 thoughts on “Tree stand celebration

  1. I gotta say that I’m not a fan of hunting, primarily because around here there’s no need for it and they’re just hunting for the sake of hunting. Hunters here are killing off what few deer, etc. we have left in a very unsportsmanlike way, and the animals suffer with shots that are not clean kills. Some end up wounded and have to survive with the resulting disabilities. These hunters take them for trophies, not food, and leave these poor carcasses lying there without heads. This I find very distasteful and cruel. It sounds different where you are, though, and it’s interesting to read about hunting for food, the way it’s supposed to be. And I’m sure out there in the grand open spaces, with your obvious respect for the land, you’re not depleting the area of its natural animal resources.

    • Unfortunately, there are those who shed a negative light on hunting through illegal and unethical killing. For others, however, hunting is a tradition, a way of life and a skill that is celebrated by the creation of new memories and formed bonds. I am sorry your area doesn’t see it this way.

      • I think the reason we’re down on hunting is because of what you and I both pointed out – the negative light created by those who kill randomly and inhumanely. And as I said, they’re not doing it here for food, and we don’t have an abundance of wildlife. I do understand the difference, though, which is why it’s interesting to read about it from your perspective. I can respect the ways of the country life…and prefer it.

  2. I cringed a little when I read the bit about “gutting” I’m with you, I couldn’t do it, I came across a dead mouse on my walking trail a couple of weeks ago, and I had to move its poor little body, so that the dogs didn’t try to eat it, it freaked me right out, it was all I could talk about for 3 days. I know I’m such a wuss!

    • Well, this all depends. A person can have up to so many tags, depending on the following: landowner, county, west river, east river, muzzle loader, bow, rifle and type of tag (any deer, buck or doe). So, in a sense, someone could have up to five tags – more or less. Which means someone could harvest up to or more than five deer. Fortunately, the Game Fish & Parks determines this, and they are well aware of what is needed to be harvested to keep highways/roads safe and controlling population. People need to apply to gain preference points, and the higher the points, the more likely you will get a tag for the season. This year my husband did not get a muzzle loader tag, because he had one last year. And because so many people are now applying for that particular tag, it may take a while before he gets the tag. Hope that helps you out.

  3. Wooohooo! Congratulations! That is a beautiful buck! I was the same way when my husband (then boyfriend) harvested his largest deer. I know this sounds like we hunt for trophies but for us, it is our main source of food. If we happen to have a large buck run under our tree stands I guess you could say, it’s a bonus but not a requirement at all. Last year we raised our first two steers for food. Until then it was very seldom that we would eat anything but deer. In fact, the smell of beef tends to bother me. Whereas, for most people, the smell of deer bothers them.

    I still haven’t gotten my first deer…hoping this will be the year!! (I say that every year but really, I think this will be it) I have had to assist my husband in the gutting and recommend you keep your feet planted firmly and let your hubby do the work! Especially if it’s a gut shot! We are women, hear us roar!! Good luck to you! Keep us updated on any other harvests. Oh, and your tag process is interesting…a bit different from Illinois. However, we have an over population problem.

    Raising Daiseys, I too wish your area was more dedicated to the true need for hunting and had more respect for the land as well as natural resources. We also process our own meat because we want to know where our food comes from and be assured our children aren’t eating meat filled with dye and preservatives. It is also a very lean meat since it does not contain the marbling you see in beef. I also wish you luck and hope that things improve!!
    Jenny aka Backwoods Mama at TheMagicFarmhouse dot com.

  4. wooooow! now I live in a city (always have) and I have no idea of country life or hunting – but your pictures are … deadly!
    “simple life” eh?
    actually the title of your blog intrigued – and I stumble into action!

    now I may not agree (or like) what you have to deal with on a day to day basis, but you keep us posted anyway!

  5. We live in Central Missouri where the whitetail population is very large. I don’t hunt but every male in our family does and we use it for food. Not our main source but it supplements our beef in the winter. It is lean meat which helps people with high cholesterol. We also have a program called “Share the Harvest” where we can donate deer to food pantries that has been inspected by USDA and really helps them with meat donations.
    While the women don’t usually hunt, it is up to us to help gut, dress, and process the deer. And that is probably the main part of living the farming life, everyone pitches in and does their share or whatever is needed to get the job done.
    Thanks for telling the true stories of life on the farm.
    Mylene

  6. Great buck!!! Congrats! Bowhunting truly is a way of life, it takes more discipline, patience and dedication than any non archer or hunter could imagine. There is no better example of conservation and love for the outdoors than hunting. I always love seeing people enjoying the outdoors with loved ones, and not to mention closing the deal with archery equipment! That’s great, congrats again!

      • LOL! I would hate for anyone to think I’m crabby so I changed to the combine at harvest…now I look like an ornery little devil! I’ve certainly NEVER been been ornery…well, not recently, uh, alright I can not tell a lie…I have not been ornery at all today. ;0) At least not yet!….hahahaha! I just changed it to a pic of one of our heifers, can’t wait to see what I am next! Thanks for the help!

  7. That’s a good buck, congrats to you both. And you are correct, it is just in the blood of many of us. It is a challenge, good eats, and you simply have to, once in a while, let out that inner caveman that modern life keeps cooped up.

    • Unless you’ve been raised on it, it’s not the best, to be honest. But some people prefer it over beef. I think it’s a little gamey – you can tell what it eats, versus cattle-fed beef 🙂 We donate the burger part of it, but save the loins and everything else to marinate. We love that!

      • Gameyy… yep that’s definitely my type of meat. I think I would like a country style deer stew one day, for sure! P: Or maybe some seasoned deer meat with a pocketful of rice.

        P.S. what do you mean by “burger part of it”?

      • Like with cattle, grinding and packaging up the leftover parts of the deer. The cuts you can make into steaks, loins, etc., but deer burger, like beef burger, is what you can use to grill burgers or make Hamburger Helper. It’s a less fatty meat, but like I said, an acquired taste. Not everyone appreciates (myself included)! Hope that helps.

      • We have found that butchering our deer ourselves, and deboning, as well as getting rid of as much of the silverskin as possible, gets rid of 98% of the gamey taste.
        Anything we’ve had professionally processed has been gamey, and left that nasty film in the mouth. Since Hubby and started doing the butchering ourselves, nothing.
        Nice looking buck!

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