Oh. Deer.

When I was born, my family lived here, in rural Arkansas. Shortly after that, my Dad joined the Army and away we went. I spent around 9-10 years on Army bases, then we moved back home when I was in the 5th grade. This is important to note, in light of what I’m about to tell you.

I’m not against hunting; I’ve just never really been interested in it. There were no “youth hunts” on Army bases.

The first post-hunted deer (I’m trying to save your sensibilities here, people) I saw was in the back of my uncle’s truck, and I was about nine. I cried. I petted its nose, and whispered prayers and apologies, and wouldn’t speak to anyone the rest of the day. (I TOLD you guys, I’ve ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS.)

I didn’t come in contact with another deer until I was about 17. This time I was running in the dark and ran INTO the carcass of the deer, which was hanging from a tree in our yard. I feel like that’s something you really ought to mention to people. “Hey, there’s a giant dead thing with horns around back.” Or something.

Anyway. So I’m not a complete moron about guns. I like to target shoot. (I am good.) (Well, I’m okay.) (I’m not terrible, jeez!) I just don’t really even think about deer season except to tell the kids to wear orange if they go in the woods.

Well. I know that my 13-year-old hunts and fishes with his dad and grandparents at their place. Long as he’s safe, have at it, right? They know what they’re doing, my son loves it, so it’s cool.

Then last weekend I got a Very Excited call from my son–he’d shot his first deer. I was really proud of him and it was awesome to hear the story of his amazing shot and how much fun he’d had. It really was. It’s always great to see him joyous and happy. Then I hear, “You better get ready for a lot of deer meat headed your way ha ha ha.”

Ha. Ha. Ha.

To me, this meant, “I hope you have room in your freezer for a few prepackaged select cuts of deer meat.”

So I said, “Ha ha ha, well, okay, but I can’t eat it and I don’t know how to cook it, so send instructions! Ha ha ha!”

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Then I get a text as they are on their way to bring Thing 2 home.

His Gram: “A lot of meat & the head coming your way. The head needs to be hung up high in a tree. I’m sorry, he wanted to bring it home!”

Me: Oh shit.

Her: “The meat needs to soak in plain water overnight & then packaged & frozen then I will find you a couple delish recipes.”

Me: OH SHIT.

Her: *laughing her ass off* SORRY! Who knew he would get one?! HAHAHAHAHAHA *laughs forever.*

Me: Oh…shit.

So, at this point, my main concern is that my husband isn’t home, it’s dark, and there is a HEAD on its way here that I am going to have to somehow, someway, get up a tree.

To prepare for this, I put on my boots and paced, thinking furiously. I came up with zero ideas. None.

20151116_201208

Maybe because I have the wrong kind of boots?

Anyway.

They got there and my son was all, “LOOK! LOOK AT THIS! DO YOU WANT TO TOUCH HIS TONGUE?”

And I was all, “That’s so awesome pleasepleasegetitawayfromme.”

Then they were like, “So, do you have any rope?” and I was like, “OH! Good idea! Yeah! Rope!” Then I ran in the house, did a few circles chanting “rope, rope, rope” and then went back outside to do the same thing out there.

Thankfully, Thing 2’s Papa is a Good, Good Man and he found something that would work AND found a tree (not the tree by where I drink my coffee, THANK YOU SO MUCH) and he and my son hung the thing up. I basically just stood there, wringing my hands and nervous talking.

THEN comes the transfer of the meat. Thing 2’s Gram was snickering at me. SNICKERING at me! It was a loving snicker, but a snicker nonetheless.

They have a big plastic tub, presumably full of meat. When I saw it, my eyes lit up. I had visions of never opening that tub. Then she said these horrible words: “I need to take this with me.”

Shit.

We trooped into the kitchen for the big reveal. My son started pulling meat out of the sack like he was some sort of, fuck, I don’t know, a hunter I guess.

Once the sink was full of meat and my son was done shoving body parts in my face and his grandma was almost done laughing, I received my instructions for the next day. How To Package The Meat.

The following morning I was dismayed to find the deer still in the sink. There are no such creatures as Deer Fairies, in case you were wondering. I prepared myself for the job ahead.

By “prepared myself” I mean “looked everywhere and found nothing in which to wrap this meat.”

I had to improvise. In my defense, I WAS NOT READY FOR A….I don’t even know what this is called. I’ve got A LOT of learning to do before the zombie apocalypse, I’ll tell you that.

Anyway. So I used three coats of plastic wrap, two of wax paper, and then wrapped it all in duct tape. Seemed legit to me.

Because he told me it was a tenderloin. I think.
Because he told me it was a tenderloin. I think.
20151109_092453
Big Fatty Thing.
Possibly a butt.
Possibly a butt.
Really Big Thing
Really Big Thing.

I really want my son to be happy, and if he likes to hunt and fish, that’s great.

But I’m making a rule RIGHT NOW that I am not ever, ever, EVER duct taping a deer’s ass again.

Ever.

About Steph

I like words. I suspect I would like sanity, but I really have no way of knowing. I can be reasonable, but not often. View all posts by Steph

35 responses to “Oh. Deer.

  • Meredith

    Oh. My. Gawd. You are killing me with the deer fairies and 75% sure this is a tenderloin. You rocked it, girlfriend!!

  • Michelle

    OMG…I have NEVER said, “I can’t even” and I can’t even..

  • What was I doing?

    Yea, there is no way in HELL that I would have been able to handle that happening in my house. Way to go!

  • andi

    This is actually the best thing I’ve read in months. I was laughing out loud and just like Michelle, I can’t even…

  • Mental Mama

    Wow, I think this actually trumps my shitty break up this weekend. 😀

  • Marianne

    I have never been happier that I have a girlie-girl. I live in Alabama, so everyone around me hunts…but my husband’s number one prey is whatever is most current on Xbox and it has never occurred to my daughter to hunt. However, because there are so many hunters in the area…I know of 2 different places that will process deer for you. You need to locate something like this near you.

  • The NotsoSuperMom

    First thing first: Fucking KICK ASS boots, dear.

    And then….the hunting thing. I. DON’T. GET. IT. EITHER. I grew up in South Jersey and there were some guys that hunted but not a ton that I can recall. Now I live in South Central PA and they get 2 DAYS OFF school for this shit!?! Seriously. I mean, to me, it’s like a personal thing–a family thing–why do my kids get off from school? So bizarre to me.

    Oh, and with regards to the hanging deer carcass: our former neighbors hung a deer from their back deck to–well, to do whatever it is you need to do to a post-hunted deer before butchering it, I guess. But thanks for hanging it off your back deck where my kids can watch it dripping and drying! Thankfully they no longer live next door.

    Great post. I guess duct tape really is good for anything…

  • Spoken Like A True Nut

    Should’ve waited to read this until my coworker went on lunch, because I am killing myself trying not to snicker aloud in the office.

    I need to start labeling things the way you do so that a laugh is always just a freezer away.

  • Rae Hilhorst

    I thought I was going to be horrified reading your post, I wasn’t I was fascinated x

  • Paulette Banks

    You are ever so welcome in my home. If you need to hide, escape, get the fuck away from fresh fallen deer meat. It smells, it bleeds, it’s awful!!! Stick to your rule! Let Giggling Grandma fix the damned meat. Assure your son she’s such a good cook. I think she thoroughly enjoyed your distress. Her son may be a good man, but watch out for her.
    Your running into a deer carcass hanging from a tree one night was so funny, but had to have been awful.
    Thank you for making me laugh this evening. I do so look forward to your writing. Don’t stop. It will help keep you alive. Paulette

    • Steph

      Giggling Grandma! LOL! That’s hilarious. I actually get along with her more than I do her son- my ex-husband. A WHOLE other story, lol. Anyway, thank you so much for the invite! Love your whole comment. ❤

  • Just Plain Ol' Vic

    Hahahaha! I can so identify with your story, since I will be hunting with my son over Thanksgiving. However I spare my wife (and myself) a lot of trouble because I found a local processor for any deer we bring over.

  • Catherine

    I can’t image, but you described it quite well. I think there are people you can pay to package a deer. What happens to the deer head after it hangs in the tree (can you tell I’m not married to a hunter).

    • Steph

      Well, thank you! And my mom told me that I should’ve taken it to a processor…I didn’t know there was such a thing. As to the deer head…I HAVE NO IDEA! I’ve been scared to ask.

  • Lindsay

    Ugh! I am so sorry. I grew up in a hunting family too….
    Thank you for the laugh…and shudder.

  • Tempest Rose

    Aw man. My stepdad lived to hunt and fish. Therefore, my mother lived to hunt and fish. (I know she fished before him because my Grandfather and Uncle — and now Cousin — were boat Captains. [I don’t know why I’m capitalizing so many words that don’t need capitalization.] But I don’t know where she stood with the hunting experience / affinity.) So anyway, since they lived to hunt and fish, I was required to live to hunt and fish. (Also, yes, I’m saying LIVED, not loved. They took it to the next level.)

    I think they started training me when I was about 10. When I was 11 I was entered into fishing tournaments (and being jipped out of first place and shoved into second because the adults weren’t paying attention to who caught what, but of course it made sense for the male cousin to have caught the biggest fish) and illegally shooting targets in my grandmother’s backyard and silently pointing out animals for my mother to kill. I would spend late, late nights sleeping in the middle seat of my stepdad’s pickup truck while they went driving down random trails, scoping out the action, and be woken up to them flooring it and telling me to not tell anyone because purposely hitting a deer with your vehicle (especially to keep, in a hunting manner) was highly illegal.

    Somehow, someway, by the time I turned 13 and was able to legally do all the things I had already been doing, I had finally convinced my parents that their insistence of me participating in fishing and hunting with them had made me despise the sport(s).

    Did I mention I was a vegetarian through all of this? My mother, wonderful woman that she is, would literally make three different meals a night — a vegetarian one for me, a meat and carb-loaded one for my stepfather, and one for her that matched whatever diet she was on at the time. However, that didn’t stop me from being present when my stepdad hung, blood-drained, and skinned the deer in our garage, or when my mother did the same to squirrels in our kitchen. I have a vivid memory of me picking up a poor, empty squirrel carcass with my bare hands and making it dance all around the kitchen.

    Also, slightly random, I loved foxes. They were my favorite animal. So for one birthday (between 10 and 12) I got a complete fox hide. From the nose down to the tail, just skin and fur. I had a deer head in my room that I named Brian (from the Backstreet Boys) and used to decorate with fake spiderwebs and/or Christmas lights, for the holidays. They were obsessed with dead animals.

    My fiance loves to fish. My son loves the idea. I want nothing to do with fishing or hunting ever again for the rest of my life. I’ll eat every type of seafood, and try any kind of meat. But don’t expect me to have any part in catching, killing, packaging, preparing, or cooking it.

    This was really long. I should make an actual post out of it. Thanks for the idea! Haha

  • Mama Rahma (Yes...it rhymes)

    I just laughed so hard at this post because I could envision myself having the same reaction. Thanks…

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