December 2017 - Deer Stalkers Almanac
- Tuesday, 28 November 2017
There is no better time to harvest an animal for the dinner plate than at Christmas.
“From the place where we are right flowers will never grow in the spring. The place where we are right is hard and trampled like a yard”. This is one of my favourite quotes, originally penned by Yehuda Amichai the phrase simply points to the inclination amongst many to confine themselves to well-trodden arguments and beliefs that they fail to question.
Whilst I undoubtedly have my own stubborn beliefs, it seems to me that a belief in the conservational benefits of shooting is one such thought that many will not allow to take root. None the less with the shooting world coming under increasing pressure to justify itself, it is a truth that we must continue to sow.
One of the most important ways that we can do so, is through insuring that we eat what we shoot. This is something that deer stalkers are very good at. I would estimate that almost all shot deer enter the food chain in one format or another, and as most deer stalkers know, venison is lower in calories and cholesterol than almost any other cut of red meat, it is also rich in B12, B6 & B3. Despite this, throughout most of the year it is undeniably a hugely undervalued meat, however, as Christmas dinner approaches the incentive to provide an alternative to the traditional Turkey is high on most people’s agenda, add to this its perceived seasonality and a well-placed haunch of venison can represent a perfect alternative and opportunity to change a few entrenched opinions.
Of course, for the recreational stalker, the sheer logistics of breaking down and butchering one of the larger species of deer can be off putting, and this is why, I find that the smaller species of deer often prove very popular for those wishing to take away what they shoot. It is a happy coincidence that during December, stalking for the diminutive CWD and Muntjac is at its very best.
One of the reasons for this, is simply that for much of the year these deer are simply lost from sight in the understorey, and so during the winter months, with the ground cover all but gone, these small deer are somewhat easier to spot. Secondly for CWD, December marks the rut, and as with most rutting males the distraction and allure of females, means that the deer become more visible and easy to stalk, and therein lies another reason why December is so good.
What ever deer species is available to you, there is no better time to harvest an animal for the dinner plate than at Christmas and I encourage you, for the good of our sport, to do so.
Finally, we finish our monthly films on a high this year, with a two-part film compiled during the Capreolus Club’s trip to the highlands of Scotland. I hope that you’ll enjoy this two-part Scotland Special, to view these films follow this link: short-films Nov '17
IN Season in England & Wales: Roe Doe, Fallow Doe & Fallow Buck, Sika Stag & Sika Hind, Red Stag & Red Hind, CWD Buck & CWD Doe, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Doe.
OFF Season in England & Wales: Roebuck.
In Season in Scotland: Fallow Buck, Fallow Doe, Roe Doe, Sika Hind, Red Hind.
Off Season in Scotland: Red Stag, Sika Stag & Roebuck
(Peter Jones - Editor)