First deer! And some questions...
Got my first deer ever last night! Still aching from packing her out... I start to see the attraction of a 4-wheeler (though they bug the heck out of me). She dropped to the shot on a steep slope, where I had an interesting learn-as-you-go self-taught field dressing lesson. THAT's when you need a mentor! Actually went pretty well, considering it was 20 degrees and I was doing it by headlamp. All I left was gutpile, ribs, skin and spine so I felt pretty good getting out of there. Until the multiple trips to the car I felt good, that is . AND, this jerk kept driving up there in his truck during my hunt this week, ruining the area. Granted, it's a forest service road technically. But he was hunting too! Ho looked incredulously at me saddling up predawn one morning and said "hey you mind if I drive up there? Are you seriously going to walk up that? I'm just gonna drive up and see what's at the top in case there's any shooters". All he had to do was pop open a beer to complete the stereotype. It's a steep, noisy, rock-strewn road. I haven't been the least surprised to see new tracks each day from him on that road having come home empty... the first time I timed it right to miss him I scored! Even our deer here don't sit still for a low-gear truck roaring up at them.
Anyway, some of her pals kept hanging around watching me dress her out. It sure beat a mountain lion putting the sneak on me, but it was a little unsettling. I occasionally would sweep my beam around to make sure it was just deer I was hearing. They came about 30 feet from me and stayed most of the whole time! Is that unusual?
And when dressing out, I kind of improvised. The slope I was on made it kind of hard esp. for a newbie; I had to run cord to a tree uphill to hold her legs. Anyway, rather than "coring" out the rectum/vulva and tying them off, I ended up just leaving that in place and sort of boning the hams off of the pelvis, leaving the femur in the meat. Basically I followed the pelvis and muscle groups around, deboning, until I got to the ball joint. Separated that and had a hock. I didn't penetrate the bladder or the colon. Was that the hard way? Ill-advised?
When I spoke to the place I'll be taking it to be processed, she said that there's a charge for "cleaning" the meat if it's not clean. Also for skinning. By clean does she mean hair and dirt, or do I need to trim all the bits of connective tissue and whatnot from the meat?
Rib meat: after a few tries, I gave up. It was just too much work for too little meat. How do folks bone out rib meat?
Bees, brews and fun
in Lyons, CO