Vension in the freezer

Vension in the freezer

My old “Fred Bear” compound bow must be 30 years old. It has put many pounds of venison on the table here on Lightnin’ Ridge, but due to something called a frozen shoulder I cannot pull the thing back as easily as I once did. So I bought a crossbow at the local Walmart sporting goods counter for about $300, more than I ever paid for a shotgun or rifle! Some are five times that.

You do not have to practice much with a crossbow. It has sights that can easily be adjusted and it shoots a short arrow with tremendous power. I sat in my tree-stand the other day enjoying the slow coming of fall and I must have watched two small, young deer feed around me for 20 or 30 minutes before I saw a buck coming through the woods quite a distance away.

He was just a fork-horn, just what I want for my freezer. He came in grunting, and paid particular interest in one of the youngsters only about 30 yards from me. When she jumped away, he followed, and with my sights on him I had a broadside shot at 40 yards. I wouldn’t have taken the shot with my old bow, but I squeezed the trigger on the new crossbow and the buck leaped forward behind the fleeing yearlings. I figured I got him, but I didn’t know until I heard him fall back in the woods a ways. I had centered his heart, and the arrow went through him. He was dead in only seconds.

It was too warm to let him hang, but I skinned him and quartered him quickly, and had all the meat soaking in cold water overnight to remove blood. The next day I got the best loin steaks and ham steaks in the freezer quickly, and cut a good quantity of stew meat and hamburger meat off the ribs, neck and shoulders. Much of that hamburger meat will be ground up and mixed with ground pork to make jerky. There are times when I am eating that jerky that I wonder why I do anything else with venison. Gee whiz, it is good!

I intend to kill two more deer this fall and two only. They will not be “trophies.” That will give us plenty of venison in the freezer, lots of jerky, summer sausage and steak. No meat processors will get any of it, I will do it all myself. If you aren’t doing the same, you are missing something about deer hunting.

Before the deer season, this advice for anyone who kills a really big buck: When you call it in, if you answer the question the MDC asks about number of points and diameter of the antler, you might well be targeted by agents. They want them, and they get them! I will have a story in my next issue of Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal about the confiscation of big buck antlers by agents. One agent has a shed full of valuable confiscated antlers he calls his “retirement fund.”

Those antlers have a great deal of monetary value, and believe me, none are destroyed as hunters are told. When they ask about the size of your antlers, tell them they are only average. Keep it off Facebook and the computer and the local newspaper. Otherwise, your deer head may be confiscated for some ridiculous, made up offense. More about this next week.

I hope all you Democrats and Republicans will forgive me, but it is my opinion that in Missouri, It seems that those who seek public office from either side are a sorry lot. I may be alone in this, but I wonder why decent, average men no longer want to run for public office. But I do not blame them. It seems that such offices, whether state or local, are only available to those who crave and have power or money or both. They exist for themselves and their enrichment.

Men like Lincoln and Roosevelt, didn’t do that. There is no one like them left amongst us. Down to earth, common sense people without great bank accounts aren’t about to jump into a sewer. Such men still believe that someday all men must stand before God and answer for what they have done and how they have used their lives. As for president, we need to forget voting altogether and turn that decision over to the voters of California and New York, with help from ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN. The electoral college will always decide that and our votes mean nothing.

Here in the Ozarks, we are going to have to live with what those folks want. And they want nothing to do with the principles our nation was founded on. Where we are as a nation is easy to see when you acknowledge that this paragraph cannot be printed in many of the larger newspapers that use my column, because it will offend the political crowd, and does not go along with the new news media.

But deep in the woods, there is a refuge from all that. There our Creator still can be seen and felt, and his voice is strong if you will listen. I am not sure most men today can say that if they are living according to the dictates of Wall Street.

I am amused by the arguments over “global warming.” Maybe the name should be changed to “man-made, slow moving, natural disaster.” But it is real, whatever you want to call it, and there is not a chance of ever reversing it. It is just too late. Arguing about it does little good; what is coming is coming and it is too late to stop it. The problem is, there are too many humans beings on a planet, which is always going to be the same size.

There are too many of us – and no one wants to acknowledge it. There is no answer to those increasing numbers when you have a defined space for growing populations of men, and limited space for the declining and degraded soil, water, timber and clean air to make those numbers happy in a modern world.

I have studied nature too long to believe that if indeed this earth survives and continues to spin perfectly around the sun, that the increase of concrete and pavement will not come to a screeching halt someday. Most of us old-fashioned Ozarkians believe that someday a disaster like we have never dreamed of will take the great majority of populations from the earth in all corners. We don’t worry because we figure we will all be gone by then.

I am not so sure that day is very far away; I know something awful is coming but I don’t know what. I can feel it when I am in the woods or on the river. But it is best to just leave it all in the hands of God and live out the remainder of my years enjoying what he has created. I am grateful to be so far from the herds of people who seem trapped, good people who are subjected to the corruption of modern day government on all levels.

The best of life is making our existence here on earth beneficial to those few people we can reach and help. “The least of these” as Jesus called them. In doing that here in the goodness of the Ozarks, we just have to ignore what we see today in our elected leaders, in our judges, in our justice system. Sitting in the woods watching a small stream trickle by and listening to the kingfishers and pileated woodpeckers as leaves fall and squirrels forage for acorns, it is much easier to do that. When you mix with that giant herd of humanity arguing about global warming, it isn’t so easy. I pity those who have no escape from that.

Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email My website is larrydablemontoutdoors.

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