Thoughts from a deer stand: Reflections on the outdoors during opening hunting season
By Ken M. Blomberg
Once again, it’s time for my annual musings from the stump report to you from my deer stand. Random thoughts as I ponder away the hours watching deer, songbirds, eagles, hawks, turkey and whatever other critters pass by my nine-day perch along the creek.
It’s day three of deer camp and there’s five deer hanging in the woodshed. I’d have selected a picture of our harvest, but second guessed that decision after a couple of rants by readers in the past objecting to images of dead animals in public forums like newspapers, magazines and online forums. To that I say, in the words of Aldo Leopold, “There are two spiritual dangers of not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
You need not own a farm to know that something must die in order for other creatures to live. Our family, and those of more than half a million other hunters, thoroughly enjoy the venison brought home from the nine-day gun season. None of my children or grandchildren were shielded from the fact that the venison steak, hamburger and stew came from the deer that roam wild on our land. They learned early on that domesticated cows, pigs and chickens from the farms gave up their lives so fast-food restaurants could serve them up on the fly. And along the way, they witnessed the butchering process of both wild and domestic animals. Indeed, important facts of life.
Speaking of meat, did you ever spend any time wondering about beef jerky? I did this week on my stand. At $37.28 per pound, I decided it must be made from prime rib. The package I had in my backpack was labeled $6.99 for 3 ounces. Made in Wisconsin, it was made from sliced and shaped premium cuts of beef, tenderized and flavored with secret ingredients before smoking. Promoted low in fat, low in calories and high in protein on the front of the package – its salt content was hidden in the nutrition facts on the back. The 3-ounce serving I ate in five minutes yesterday packed a walloping 2,310 mgs of sodium. I wonder how much sodium is in a 16-ounce prime rib? And I now know, pound for pound, a prime rib dinner at the best of restaurants costs less than beef jerky.
The neighbor’s rooster was crowing across the road from my stand. He brought back pleasant memories of the chickens No. 1 son raised years ago behind our house. The boss, however, hated the crowing of the roosters at dawn during the summer months when the windows were open. But this week, her windows were closed tight. And for me, it was a welcome diversion each morning as the sun rose over the eastern horizon.
Speaking of the sun, we know of course the sun really doesn’t literally rise. Watching the sun in the east I realize once again the sun is stationary as the earth spins. The earth, tilting on its axis, shifts Wisconsin farther from the sun’s warming rays as winter creeps in. It’s us – the earth – that spins once a day and revolves around the sun once a year. Seasons come and go – days start and end – all based on our position, either facing or with backs turned towards the center of the solar system. When it’s cloudy, like it was opening day, we trust the sun is there as daylight arrives. Day two’s colder temperatures were tempered by direct solar rays on the side of our faces. Day three blessed us with a “red sky in the morning” – and left us wondering, did sailors take warning?
By the time this column reaches your eyes, the deer gun season will be coming to a close. Based on the first three days, it will go down in our family history as a great success. I hope the same goes for the rest of you and ends on a high note. Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.