Take care of your deer this shotgun season

Steve PollickThe Ohio slug-gun deer season is upon us and with it is this plea to please take good care of your deer.

Just yesterday, I drove home 700 miles from the western upper peninsula of Michigan, an invited guest to a deer camp in that state’s rifle-season. On the long drive down I-75, our crew watched dozens of pickups zoom past en route home, about one in three with a buck on board. Strapped uncovered on one of those familiar trailer-hitch platforms.

Every time I saw one of these road-roasted bucks I winced. Gadzooks! What are these hunters thinking? The platform strapped bucks invariably were coated with all manner of road slop – dust, spray, goodness knows what. And they slowly were being “smoked” by exhaust from tailpipes of diesel or gasoline engines. Yuck.

Is this an ethical way to treat a kill? Will you wonder if guests at these hunters’ venison feasts during the coming year will wonder why the meat tastes so funny, so gamey? You owe respect to the animal you have killed. Otherwise, shame.

We are amused now at the quaint foolishness of the traditional, back in the ‘30s and ’40, of strapping a deer to a front fender, right next to the heat of the motor. Slapping a deer on a platform off the hitch next to stinking exhaust is no better.

Too, field-dress your kill as soon as you tag it. Temperatures next week are supposed to be moderate, upping the need to cool the carcass as quickly as possible. If you are not going to have the deer processed nearby, pack a couple of bags of ice in the body cavity to speed to cooling. For good-tasting venison, proper and ethical field-care is everything.

And for pete’s sake, put your gear on the trailer-hitch platform, not your deer. Make room in the pickup bed for the buck. Your diners, and your dinners, will thank you for it.

Categories: Ohio – Steve Pollick

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