Pennsylvania Game News - March 2012 - 52
DON’T WAIT until next deer season to resharpen knives. Putting a keen edge back on the blade is part of the dayafter-deer-season ritual.
looking for all season, on the one shelf I hadn’t searched earlier. I reorganized and restocked the plastic bags that are our kits for use after a deer is shot. Inside went the dragging rope rewound on wooden handles, a new pair of surgical gloves for field-dressing, a replacement heart-and-liver bag, ties for securing ear tags, a pen for filling out tags and a backup pen. Our knives had already been cleaned and resharpened, so that was a step saved. Boots. I’d used two pairs during the season, but almost got away with one. The last several days had finally turned cold, and I broke out an insulated pair that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten muddy. My husband had also used two pairs, and I told him I’d clean his as well, and he smiled approvingly. I emptied the pockets of our wool hunting pants and found what had been weighing them down so much. An accumulation of workman’s hankies, expired hand-warmer packs, candy wrappers and uneaten candy, car keys and loose rifle cartridges. Live rounds I returned to the box marked “.30-06,” bullet-end up, while the spent shells were placed dented primers up, to be reloaded. While I was at it, I examined the pants. Both of ours were in a sorry state, which showed how hard we had hunted. Buttons
missing, cuff hems torn out by thorn brush, crotch stitching ripped by stepping too high over logs with our pants riding low. We have fluorescent orange material sewed onto the pant legs for extra visibility for safety, and this year it got shredded. I’ll have to replace it, but only after I coldwater wash our britches to remove accumulated mud, briars and deer blood, the wages of field-dressing and dragging. Back in the kitchen, I trimmed up the heart and liver from my most recent doe. This wasn’t a season for bucks for us, but last year the day-after found me doing the detail work of cleaning the skull plates on the big 8-points my husband and I had shot, so they could be put on plaques and hung on the wall as mementoes. If I had chosen to process my rifle-season deer myself, I’d also be working on butchering, slicing up steaks and chops, and cutting meat off the bones to be ground for hamburger. I spared myself that time-consuming chore this year by getting it done commercially. My husband, finished with the guns, downloaded the “hero” shots of us and our hunting friends with our deer, which we had taken with our digital cameras in the field. He busied himself making prints to mail to them, while I fried the heart and liver for dinner. It was either cook them that day or freeze them, and they’re best eaten fresh. As I folded or hung up our nowclean hunting clothes, my husband began the next step in our ritual: phone calls. “How was your deer season?” he asked each person he talked to. “What’d you get?” I knew that only when he hung up for good for the evening would our day-after officially be done.