Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Herd Management (Or HUNTING)

There are pictures - be warned.

We processed 4 more deer. My freezer is officially stuffed. It's a great feeling to have so much food waiting for us. Oh, and a brand new freezer so we should have no problems with losing anything this time!

Ode to the deer that shall feed us - and OH DUDE to Mr Snuffy himself. The man that is so awesome at making so many of these cuts taste more like food found in fine meat markets all over the world. That man knows his stuff. Summer sausage, Italian sausage, Savory sausage, smoked sausage not to mention the regular cuts of cubed steaks, back straps.... Our family will be well fed.

First a nice strapping young buck - I believe this is the deer that we erroneously thought was a barren doe. We do get barren does and they need culled from the herd. I took one last year - but this year it turned out to be a strapping buck with a bad temperament for fighting. He broke one antler off entirely and the second antler was shattered and only had about 2" left. This is my son's second deer - and the first deer that he took by himself. It's a pretty big step, and a VERY big responsibility. One that I know he's a bit young for, but so far he has done well.

This very small doe was taken late on a warm morning.

And this older doe has served our herd well.

While it was a bit of a shame to see that buck didn't get to fully mature, it was a good lesson for my son. Mistakes are easy to make. He'll be more cautious in the future when he takes an animal. One thing that he sees during the management of the land and herd(s) is the continuous cycle and how difficult it can be. It's taken us a full 8 years of hard work not only putting out food for them, but plowing the fields and maintaining water sources and protecting them from predators (as much as possible) as well. Our initial herd was a minimal 2-3 does and whatever buck would wander onto the property. Holding them was near to impossible, especially the bucks. Now we see them (20-30) every trip and know without fail that they are raising their young here. Our fields now also hold fowl, and with good game management we've also come up with a system to feed the pigs - AND keep them away from the deers main food source as well. Very important. Turkey have moved in as well and provided us yet another food source for the Spring. It's been a rough road but one worth traveling and we are so glad that we've been able to share our management skills with our son and now our daughters as well.

The people that owned the property just 10 years ago over hunted it, over farmed it and nearly decimated the land entirely. They left it with trash piled everywhere. It took a full year to remove the trash alone. We still find odds and ends of trash here and there (in the deep woods) each trip. We have reclaimed the land for the wildlife and for ourselves! I am so glad for this. Our entire family is now benefiting. I'm able to give meat to my brother and to neighbors who are in need. To my parents who purchased the land but are unable to keep up with it, and for friends who say 'Eww, I wouldn't eat deer' and then gobble it down. :-D (I really love that part!)

Top off great hunting with good farming and WOAH NELLY! I'm in love. So my resolution for 2012? To set my goal for retirement and get some plans in place for the land. Nothing more. Nothing less. Live cleaner - Live towards my goals. :-D

'Till next time!



  1. I didn't know you had so much land. It sounds like you're doing a great thing with it all. We're hunters too, but we have to use other peoples property. You're very blessed. It's good to read that you're taking care of what you have.

  2. Prior to this we had to lease or pay to hunt. It really makes us appreciate the land that much more! :-D