Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hunting Season


Good morning, ya'll. Sorry it's been so long since I talked to you but I have had a bit of a brain drain. Didn't have anything to say and daddy always said if you didn't have anything to say just be quiet. Now it's not often I find myself in that situation but it's over. Now most of you might think she never has anything to say so why does she keep talking. Well, that's a good question but being as Tootsie was my mama and Ella Mae was my grandmother, I usually can rattle on about most anything so welcome back to my Net Porch. Sit a spell and have a cup of hot coffee with me.

It's finally feeling like fall here in South Georgia for it's a little chilly here today but just wait for it will be warmer up in the day. By tomorrow I may be able to wear my shorts again and I don't ever put away all my shorts in the winter for I have worn them on Christmas day down here. It's great and I love it. I don't have many winter clothes just all-the-year clothes. It sure saves money.

When fall comes, hunting season comes also. Deer season is in so you best wear a bright orange vest if you go to the woods or you might get shot. Just kidding for most of our hunters are responsible hunters. Hunting is learned at your daddy's knee and many of us begin hunting as children. Daddy used to take us rabbit and squirrel hunting on our farm as children. When it got dark he would put on his cap with the little carbide lamp on the front and off we went up in the pasture. The rabbits would be eating up our fall garden and we considered it "fair game." The rabbits eyes would shine when the light from that little lamp hit them and then daddy would shoot. Now don't think poor rabbits for they would eat a whole garden up if you let them. They are voracious little rascals.

Mama would fry it, make gravy and serve it with grits, rice or mashed potatoes and it would be so good. She would also cook the rabbit in chicken broth and when cool make rabbit salad like her chicken salad. This was also great eating. If you didn't know it was rabbit, you thought it was chicken but then everything tastes like chicken, right? Sometimes she would freeze the rabbits and squirrels and combine them with chicken and make good brunswick stew. The combination of the 3 meats gave it a great taste.

He would also take us down in the woods at the back of our place to go squirrel hunting. We children were not carrying guns but we would go and try to be real quiet which was almost impossible for me and Arvin. When we would talk we would get "that look" from daddy and we would button it up quickly. As Arvin and Sam got older they would carry their BB guns and then move up to the shotgun. Daddy taught us all the safety rules and was usually with us and that is how it's done in the South.

Hunting for us was not only a sport but also a way to provide some food. The rule at our house was if you shoot it you eat it. Mama could make the best fried squirrel, smothered in gravy and eaten with grits and biscuits. Homemade fig preserves were put on the biscuits and those grits with that gravy was delicious. She would fry them, put them in the pressure cooker with the gravy and serve them up for us to eat our fill. Haven't had any since I left home but I remember how good it was.

Of course you didn't eat squirrel until we had cold weather but you didn't hunt them in the summer anyway for this was the time for them to eat up all our pecans and get fat. They are huge scavengers and will eat up all your profit if you have pecan trees. I was talking to a young friend yesterday who lives on a pecan farm and he said they could eat most of the crop if they didn't control them. Now they don't eat them but they know people who do so that good meat doesn't go to waste.

Deer is my favorite wild game to eat. Daddy didn't go deer hunting and we didn't eat much if any as we were growing up but we learned to like it when we were married and in college. Roy would go deer hunting with friends and when they would kill one it would mean meat on the table. One or our friends had access to meat cutting facilities and would cut it up and package it for the group and it would be so good. When you are married and in college you eat most anything that doesn't eat you first for money was tiiiiight. That is when I learned to cook it and we still enjoy it.

Roy doesn't hunt now but we have a butcher where we can buy it. Hunters who don't want the meat are only part of it take it to him and he cuts if up and packages it. He first gives all he can to homeless shelters in the area and then sells the rest at his cost. His deer sausage and ground deer is so good but my favorite are his deer chops. Cook those in the crock pot and they are wonderfully delicious.

Down here in the South most of our hunters are responsible hunters and it is not only a sport but the meat is enjoyed also. I have several women friends who hunt with their husbands and enjoy the sport. One of these friends is a Southern Lady from inside out, a great hostess, wonderful cook, great mama and wife but likes to deer hunt. You would never guess this by knowing her but she is a good hunter and goes often. Many or our "Southern Ladies" like to deer and bird hunt and also know how to cook it up for their family to enjoy.

One of my friends decided that if she was going to have any time with her husband during hunting season she was going to have to learn how to hunt. Her husband didn't think she would like it but got her outfitted with gun and gear and took her to the woods. He put her in a deer stand and told her what to do and then went to his deer stand. He had just gotten settled when he heard the sound of a shot and he thought there she goes just shooting the gun at nothing. Thinking the gun had gone off accidentally he hurried back to her stand and she pointed to a nice, big buck she had shot. With amazement he looked at the large deer and at her with amazement and disbelief. "Did you hit him with that one shot"?, he asked and with a big grin she said yes.

Now to end the story that day, she shot another one later and the husband did not see any deer. and that was rather humbling for him. Her first day and she gets 2 deer and he got zip. She is not the only one I know who goes hunting with their husbands and enjoy it. Now my idea of a good time is not sitting in a cold deer stand but it's a great idea for those who do.

Now those of you who don't hunt and are animal lovers don't get your panties in a wad or throw a hissy fit. We are not killing Bambi or his mama but only the bucks. There are a gracious plenty of them running around in the woods and we have hundreds of wrecks each year where they jump out in front of your pick up truck or car and cause big damage. I saw one in my back yard last week or rather I saw his big white behind as the ran back in the woods. At times we see can see several dozen in our home county in Alabama so don't get all uptight with me.

To wrap up this rambling I will share one of my deer recipes with you. The secret to good deer meat is that is cleaned by someone who knows how and that it is cut up by a good butcher. If this is done well it is good meat and is very low in fat and high in protein. So here is my recipe for you to try. If you just refuse to eat venison you could also use tenderized beef steak.

Deer Steak

1 lb. tenderized deer steak
about 1 cup plain flour
Cajun seasoning salt or Creole seasoning salt - to taste
Pepper to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 large onion roughly chopped
2 cups red wine or beef broth
2 cups red wine
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Mix the flour, seasoning salt, pepper and garlic powder together. Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture and brown in a frying pan with about 5 tbsp. olive oil. You may have to add more oil. Place the browned steaks on a rack and saute the onion in the oil and drippings. Add the wine or broth and the Worcestershire sauce to the onions and be sure and scrape the drippings from the bottom of the pan. Put the steaks back in the gravy, cover and simmer until tender. Take about 45 minutes if the steak has been tenderized.
This is good served with rice, grits or fettuccine.

Hope you enjoy it.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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