So I was listening to NPR yesterday on my way home from school. I was still set on the Michigan station I turn to when WFRN gets fuzzy. They were talking about how overabundant the deer population in southern Michigan is and the fact that they are raising the doe limit to try and control the population. It got me thinking… I like venison, I think going hunting would be an interesting experience… maybe I should find someone to take me hunting this fall! I almost went as far as tweeting about it.
I put it out of my mind, knowing that I’d probably never actually do it. Then ten minutes later, as I was entering White Pigeon, WHAM! Something large and fast was slamming into the front corner of my car. I didn’t even see him till he was hitting me. The deer wheeled away from my car, bounded once into the brush, flipped head over heels and collapsed. Mean while, I screeched to a halt, trying to catch my breath and let my brain catch up with my eyes. Luckily there were no other cars nearby and after a couple deep breaths, I pulled up into a shoulder that started a few yards ahead.
I walked back and found what I initially thought was a doe and quickly determined it was completely dead by giving the carcass a shake with my foot. A man came walking down the road attracted from the trailer park across the road by the screech of my tires. He checked to make sure I was ok, and pointed out that the deer was actually a young buck. His antler buttons barely sticking out of his head. I mentioned that I’d be interested in finding out Michigan’s rules on road kill. He pointed out the state police station a couple hundred yards away.
I drove there, thankful that my alignment seemed fine and the only apparent damage was a dented in and torn bumper with a small connection piece missing. I contacted 911 via a communication box outside the station and she told me a cop would be there soon. I waited about 20 minutes, making a couple calls and twittering to start tracking down someone who could process the buck for me. The cop showed up and documented the accident. When he was done I mentioned my desire to keep the deer. He contacted his partner for advice on where I could take it, and if it was worth the effort given the time the deer had been dead and the temperature. He issued me a permit for taking the deer and gave me directions to a guy who worked out of his home just north of Sturgis.
At this point the deer had been dead for a little less than an hour, but time was of the essence, because ideally, the deer should have been gutted right away. I had everything I needed to deal with the deer except a way to get him into my trunk. He wasn’t that big as deer go, but still, more than I could handle alone. I knew I couldn’t wait for someone to come up from Goshen, and I didn’t have a number for the butcher, only an address. I had two choices, I could let it go and just drive home, or I could ask a stranger to help me. I decided to stop by the shopping center half way between the station and the deer and randomly decided to go into the Manchino’s. Serendipitously, the manager was a large friendly guy who, though clearly surprised by my request, was willing to help.
We quickly got the deer in my trunk, wrapped in my massage blanket which, luckily, I didn’t mind ruining. I couldn’t tell how much damage was done on the underside of the deer, but there were no external wounds on the side I could see, and he didn’t bleed much when we lifted him. Then I was on my way to Sturgis. When I was almost to the guys house, I came across a road sign with his number and gave him a call, really hoping he was home and would be willing to take the job. Then it was just a matter of giving him the buck and my info. It must have broken it’s neck or had major brain trauma because there was very little external damage. I washed my hands in the guy’s bathroom, warding off four rowdy dogs and was on my way. The whole episode took about an hour and a half.
Anyone have good venison recipes?