I had a whole post for you yesterday, but it vanished suddenly with a clumsy click.
It was about a walk we took last night, and how we sighted the prints of a big deer. It was about how the shadows on the snow fell all dark and silent and blue—and how surreal it was to realize that such a big animal lived so nearby.
It was also about the hunt—how we imagined we were stalking it for real, what it might actually feel like to track and kill a deer. Of course, I've never even held a bow, but it was fun to pretend. He took us through swamps and briars and open woods, and finally down an old dirt road that led nearly to the back of our house.
We were amazed he had come so near—a friend was just telling us there isn't much to hunt around here. He says he goes instead to upstate New York, where he finds many more bucks. He says it isn't that you can't find a buck here (the progression of bow to shotgun to powder that starts in October and ended last week certainly gives enough time) but that he'd feel badly, taking one of so few. I'm not convinced they're so scarce, but our tracking adventure made me wonder, made me feel their presence at least.
Oh! And I was telling you about the venison jerky—it would be a shame to forget about that. The same friend who shot the bucks in New York gave us a bundle of his venison Slim Jims to taste. They were a bit softer but still chewy, salty, and not gamy in the least. He had a recipe to share, just in case we ever get that deer. And you can make it with ground beef—a tasty, tasty treat.
10 pounds ground venison meat (the same recipe also works for beef)
jerky seasoning to taste (he gets his from Cabela's)
2 cups vermouth
2 cups brown sugar
Combine ground meat, jerky seasoning, vermouth, and brown sugar in a large bowl, making sure to keep everything cool. Pack mixture into a jerky gun or sausage extruder; it will come out in sticks. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 4 hours, until the sticks have the consistency of Slim Jims. They will freeze well, or you can let them cool and stick them in the refrigerator to enjoy within a few weeks.