In NSW we have a season for Red,Wapiti and Fallow deer. It opens on march the 1st. This is a great time of year to chase these three species. The breeding season is approaching and the deer have been putting on condition for the upcoming rut. During the rut the males are full of hormones like testosterone which can alter the flavour and tenderness of the meat. They also won’t eat much so will be skin and bones by the end. If we take them well before the rut they will be in top nick. Upon butchering an animal at this time of year you will notice the amount of fat on the carcass and internal organs.
A couple of good keen mates were keen to hit the hills and obtain some of this premium venison for their chest freezers as our supplies usually run low over the summer months.
Alex and I headed to the block on the Friday evening. Ian was going to arrive the following morning.
Alex and I awoke early, geared up and began walking in the dark to a high point so we could look over the surrounding country. As the light appeared we saw several deer that were looked over but found not suitable for taking today. At this time of year we will try and target cull animals. Animals that we don’t want breeding in the upcoming season. This can be due to reasons such as age or deficient antlers.
We kept pushing on. Upon arriving to the high spot we eagerly peered through our binoculars. Some prime Fallow deer appeared in the long grass below us. We both assessed them and noticed their beautiful shiny coats and big bodies. Signs that the growout had been a good one. They were gently sparring telling us the rut was approaching. There was one there that caught our attention. He was at an age where his antlers should have been better developed. He was missing an important tine and had no palming on his antlers. We agreed he was going to be coming home with us. We waited till he presented his vitals so we could ensure a clean kill. Alex fired the shot and the deer dropped on the spot. Quick, clean and painless.
We waited till the rest of the herd left and made our way down to him. To ensure the best end product its vital the animal is cooled quickly. The deer was gutted and chest cavity opened up so air could circulate. Next we make a cut at the joints on the front legs. This is in turn threaded through the achilles tendon. The deer can then be worn like a backpack and carried a long way. This was a day we were in for a long walk.
Once the deer was back in camp it was cooled and placed in the 600l Icey Tek chest. We cooked a bit of breakfast. At that time Ian arrived full of beans to hit the hills. We calmed him down and put the kettle on. It was a few hours yet before the deer would be moving again.
Three hours before dark we left for a good vantage point. The sun was still high and we weren’t expecting to see much yet. We chatted, and admired the beautiful country we were sitting in. A few deer were spotted but not what we were after. The sun was getting low and it was looking like a long walk to chase one on an opposite hill until I noticed a couple of young spikers a lot closer. That was what we were after. To get the jump on them we needed to high tail it to the top of a hill, cross a ridge and on double back on them. This ensured they didn’t catch our scent and put us in a position above them for a good shot. It was Ian’s first deer so we were keen to see him succeed. We arrived in position and saw the deer still feeding. A plan for Ian was discussed and he moved in. I asked him to take both as a mate back home wanted a deer. After a perfect stalk Ian cleanly took both deer. Both young and in beautiful condition. He was over the moon. The deer were given their last feed. Some grass put in their mouths as a sign of repect and thanks.
We had enough to tie us over for a while so it was time to pack up and head home. We needed to get the carcasses to the cool room to be hung for a week. So far they are providing many great meals for our family and friends.