Recently one of my Facebook friends posted a photo of a dead deer in the back of pickup truck at a stoplight with a caption that said something like her appetite was effectively suppressed for the day.
Her post didn’t bother me. Some people can’t stomach the sight of a dead animal – particularly a fuzzy warm deer – and some just don’t like the taste of venison.
To each their own.
What does bother me are the reactions that always follow such a post, especially during the deer hunting season, by uneducated folk who feel the need to spout their opinions even when they weren’t solicited.
For example, one of the first comments was by a woman from Texas who said she could smell the testosterone from there.
So, miss Texas, what you’re saying is all deer hunters are He-Man woman haters who hop into their pickup trucks each fall with their machine guns and head into the woods hell bent on gunning down innocent deer so that they can feel more manly?
Okay. Tell that to my 15 year-old daughter who has been deer hunting since she was 12.
I blame that sort of attitude on Walt Disney and his stupid movie “Bambi.” Here’s a reality check for you if you think life is like a Disney movie: deer can’t talk and they don’t even know who their parents are six months to a year after birth – if they live that long without being hit by a car or ripped apart and eaten alive by a pack of wolves.
Further, I’ve seen hundreds of deer in the wild over the past 30 years and not once were they walking along with a bunch of other forest creatures singing and dancing while planning ways to outsmart evil white male hunters.
Mostly, the deer I’ve seen have been doing a couple of basic things each time I’ve seen them including running, walking, eating, peeing and pooping.
Oh, and let’s not forget what they do best – running into traffic.
I mean, really, they are the only animal you see consistently standing on the side of the road (the most dangerous location they could be in) eating when they have miles and miles of forest and field in northern Minnesota that is unoccupied 10 months out of the year where they could be doing that.
If they were really smart like Bambi and all of Bambi’s talking friends, wouldn’t they be saying things to each other like, “hey Bob, I heard Dolph just got flattened by a semi when he was eating over there last week. Maybe we should go somewhere else. ”
In all seriousness, I respect the deer I hunt and do my best to be an ethical hunter as most others who take part in the season do as well. And I can practically guarantee a dead deer in the back of a pickup around here was treated with way more respect and dignity than any cow that’s been slaughtered for your double cheeseburger.
Which brings us to the reason I and most other hunters hunt: For the venison we feed our families.
I get that some people don’t like the taste and that’s fine. I don’t like potato salad. I’ve never even considered putting it in my mouth because to me it looks like vomit.
But you don’t see me on the internet every Fourth of July calling out those who eat potato salad as violent, testosterone driven maniacs.
Frankly, I really don’t care enough about you or your palette to feel the need to put down your food intake.
So why do non-hunters care so much about venison that they constantly have to look down on those of us who enjoy it and paint a picture of hunters as evil human beings?
I think it’s because people today just want their side of the argument to win no matter what.
Fact is, venison cooked properly is every bit as awesome as the most expensive beef steak you’ve ever had. That I can guarantee you from experience.
And it’s a heckuva lot more nutritious for you.
According to recent article in Outdoor Life, first deer are leaner than cattle. They have less fat.
The author of the article said three ounces of lean beef contains 247 calories and 15 grams of total fat. Three ounces of venison contains 134 calories and only three grams of total fat.
Perhaps most importantly, venison contains about one sixth the amount of saturated fat that beef does. Venison also has more protein: 26 grams to 23 grams in beef.
According to the article, the only category in which venison loses is cholesterol: 95 mg to 76 mg in beef.
Then there is the cost part of it: I have six people in my family. If we decide it’s steak night (from Betsy the cow), that’s going to be a big bill.
A deer license is $31. Two deer in my freezer lasts us a year.
Plus, my family does it’s own field dressing and butchering so we know who handled the meat and how it was handled.
That’s worth the price of admission right there.