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.*
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.
Maybe because I have the wrong kind of boots?
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.”
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.
Big Fatty Thing.
Possibly a butt.
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.
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