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Meat for the Freezer

 

The author and his doe.

The author and his doe.

I don’t get nearly as excited as I used to about deer season. Once upon a time, I hunted all day, every day, though the 9 days of rifle season, hoping to find a trophy buck. In recent seasons, my hunts have lasted a few days. The main goal now is to put a little meat in the freezer.

It’s not that I’m too old to hunt that hard, although some will grin as they tell me I am. Life simply got in the way. And I suppose I’m evolving as a hunter, something I raised an eyebrow to as I was younger, wondering why or how someone would change from the “biggest/mostest” to “just happy to be out” mentality. Now I know.

I would still jump at the chance to hang another trophy deer on the wall. But on this year’s hunt, I was more hopeful we could find a nice buck for my little brother, Mike, to hang on his. We saw one that may have been worthy, but it was on the wrong side of the fence. We both settled for a mulie doe. And we’re both perfectly happy with that.

There are few things I like more than hiking through canyon country, trying to spot a deer before it spots me and then sneaking in close for a clean kill. Mike and I both did that last Thursday, when the temperatures were in the teens and the wind was howling. The ice pellets stung when they hit our faces and the bitter wind watered our eyes when we stood on a ridge top trying to glass the next hillside. And I don’t care how many people think I’m crazy: I had a ball. “Are you having fun?” my girlfriend, Theresa, asked. “Heck yes,” I replied. “I got to sneak up on deer today.”

And for that, and the venison that is now in my freezer, and so many other things, I am truly thankful.

Here’s hoping you have plenty to be thankful for too, whether you got your deer or not.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 -Eric Fowler

About Eric Fowler, Regional Editor

NEBRASKAland Regional Editor Eric Fowler was born in Hastings, graduated from Ogallala High School in 1988 and earned his Bachelor’s degree from Chadron State College in 1993. After six years as a writer and photographer with newspapers in Chadron and Scottsbluff, he joined the Commission in 1998 as Publications Editor and has been a member of the NEBRASKAland staff since 2001. He has won numerous awards from the Association for Conservation Information for writing featured in the magazine. Fowler enjoys spending time outdoors with friends and family, including his son. His passions include hunting waterfowl, upland and big game, fishing, especially in the Sandhills, hiking, camping and watching the sun rise or set anywhere in Nebraska.

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