Venison Stew

Editor’s Note: Although D&DH seldom publishes articles of a humorous nature, we thought we would make an exception in this case so this great memory could be shared with fellow online readers.

When Dan and Sarah got married, my daughter asked friends to send their favorite recipes and she compiled them into a wedding present. Dan is an avid fisherman who once expressed interest in hunting. Here is my contribution:

Find a hunter safety course you can complete in the spring.

Sign up for hunter safety course.

Complete the hunter safety course and secure the related certificate of completion.

Go to town hall and purchase a hunting license. Don’t forget the certificate.

Go to the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website and apply for an “any deer” (doe) permit. Choose Wildlife Management District 21 as first choice. The others don’t matter. Choose a random number for them. There is a deadline for this. Don’t miss it.

Go to Howell’s Gun Shop in Gray and choose the weapon of your choice. Tell them Frank Meader sent you. A .270 is adequate. You do not need a cannon. They will throw in a free trigger lock. Don’t forget bullets. Buy an orange vest and orange wool cap.

Practice with rifle until reasonably accurate at 100 yards.

Wait until November first. Hope for cold weather. If it is warm, the deer will sleep all day. Do not hunt when it is warm. It’s not miserable enough.

About an hour before sunrise, take route 114 from Gorham to the intersection with route 35 at the southern tip of Sebago Lake and continue on 114. About 2 miles on the left is the Boundary Road. Take it. After about 1.5 miles, go left on Oak Hill Road. About .5 miles on the left you will see a place to park. Park. Say hi to Norm and his boys. Ask them where they will be hunting and promise them you will not shoot them. Walk in and find a comfortable place to sit. Walk in and to your right and up hill at least .5 miles.

Sit quietly and only move slowly to scan the woods. Watch how the light changes the view of the woods as the sun rises. It’s pretty cool.

Try not to get anxious if you hear a noise. You will never hear a deer make any noise. They seem to glide silently through the woods. Weird.

It’s cold and really early and you’re tired. Fantasize about catching a hint of movement out of the corner of your eye. In an instant, your adrenal glands dump huge volumes of adrenalin into your bloodstream and your heart pounds. You start to tremble and it’s not a shiver from the cold. You freeze. You catch the movement again. It’s a deer!

Begin to hyperventilate, then tell yourself to stop hyperventilating and relax. Yeah, right! Raise your rifle and take a bead and try not to tremble so much. Stay cool! The deer slowly makes its way towards you, alternating between browsing and looking around.

Deer have very poor eyesight. They will not see you unless you actually do jump out of your skin. Very curious. The deer comes closer than you ever thought it would, and it still doesn’t see you, even though it seems to look right at you.

Silently thank the deer for its place in the circle of life. Squeeze the trigger (if you jerk the trigger, you will miss this and the next 5 deer you shoot at!).

The next part is too gruesome for Sarah. She is spared from reading it. It’s an ancient guy thing. It’s buried deep in our DNA. We can’t help it. Really! Recover from the fantasy. Six hours later, walk out of the woods cold, sore, hungry and dejected and drive to Hannaford, buy some stew beef, go home, and make stew. Sell your gun.

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