OMG! 2023 deer season might have just changed

Kingcreek

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at the center of my own little universe
I have a great relationship with a landowner farmer. I deer hunt some great land that his family owns and some that they rent.
My lease is paid with deer sausage, beer, and good will. Last winter I cleaned up a storm downed tree on the edge of the timber and got it off the crop ground for them. I am the only one allowed to hunt their ground.
Today I was out putting up a couple tree stands. When I drove by their new quarter million dollar equipment “shed” I saw vehicles and the doors open and I stopped. The farmer and his father were there.
Grandpa asked me what I knew about those landowner permits when you have too many deer. With what I know and they know it seems almost guaranteed they would qualify for control tags, usually handed out in blocks of 10 or more where crop damage is occurring. Any firearm, even night vision or thermal is allowed. This is a legacy farm operation with multiple properties in 2 counties.
Grandpa said all he has is an old shotgun and can’t walk or tolerate the cold. “Is that something you’d be willing to help us with?”
Uh sure!
I told them I am a former competitive rifle shooter with some rusty skills and some not rusty rifles and precision ammo. Grandpa said “you’re a sniper!”
I said no but my rifle coach was.
If the DNR sends somebody out and they approve they hand them a stack of control tags to do whatever they want with. A tree nursery or apple orchard get them easily. Crop farmers if the deer herd is causing enough damage. There are lockers in the area that get paid a fee from the state to process for food pantries but I think I can also keep whatever I want. It is likely they could get at least 10 tags for each of 2 of the farms were we have seen herds of 20-30 or more deer.
My lucky day? Maybe!
 
Sounds a lot better than trying to cull invasive feral hogs that you can't seem to shoot fast enough...


Glad the meat will go to good use, and I'm sure you'll end up with more than you can use. I have found that frozen meat tends to lose it's viability after about the 6 month mark, no matter what it is. So unless you're trying to feed the whole neighborhood, I think there should be plenty.
 
Oh yeah, then you are all set if you are vacuum sealing.

I was talking in terms of regular freezer bags and no special processing.
 
I have found that frozen meat tends to lose it's viability after about the 6 month mark, no matter what it is.
I haven’t found this to be the case, but maybe your pallet is more distinguished.

Edit: he clarified, makes sense now, disregard.
 
I was in a similar situation for a couple of years, back when I lived in Maryland. I had a friend who had a farm (not far from Washington DC), who had so many deer, she couldn't raise anything. She had a couple of people hunting her place already, and had listed them on her depredation permit, but they weren't shooting enough deer, so she invited me in. Over the next two seasons I went hunting 12 times and shot 11 deer. It's nice to know you can shoot a deer any time you hunt.
 
Congrats!

I've done this years ago on a 1000 acre farm north of here. Gorgeous property, prime deer habitat. Farmer wanted as many does gone as possible. The guys that had permission to hunt the place set a quota tat hey thought would keep the farmer happy and at least thin them out some.

It's fun.. for the 1st couple, then at some point it turns into work.

We were shooting 10-15 does a day during the late season. I'd fill my 5 doe tags in a weekend, my personal record is 4 out of one herd and the 5th an hr. later, all on a SAT afternoon. We used a couple guys in towers/stands then a few more slowly pushing towards the stands. We'd shoot them, GPS in the position and retrieve them after dark. The objective was to kill as many as we had tags for during shooting time. It was "harvesting" more than hunting. Size didn't matter, as long as it didn't have visible antlers it was a "keeper".

Then we'd take a flatbed trailer full to a spot on a hill, lay them out and dress them while wearing headlamps. Once that was done, we'd hang them in a barn. I'd get home sometimes at 0100 covered in blood stinking of deer.

The next weekend we'd get a bunch of folks together and commence butchering deer, for the entire weekend... The good part was most of the people helping butcher and wrap were laid-off construction guys and their families so the meat was taken care of. We'd all leave with a couple coolers full of meat. But it was work.

This thankfully only lasted 6 years for me, honestly after about the 2nd year I was dreading the annual call. Then the farmer passed away and his son took over and leased the whole shebang to out of staters.

Two valuable lessons I took away from this:

No way in hell would I ever become a butcher
Only shoot deer that are easy to retrieve
 
I have run damage permits more than once on my farm. At first you think it will be fun to get some extra time and meat before hunting season. My record was 3 does out of a group of 4 shot offhand at around 150 yards. I can assure you by the time you strip the backstraps and quarters off of 3 deer in late June heat at dusk with mosquitos buzzing you it turns into work pretty quick. I would put each deer quarters and backstraps into a gamebag and put it in the garage fridge to cool until I had a chance to grind them up.
 
I have run damage permits more than once on my farm. At first you think it will be fun to get some extra time and meat before hunting season. My record was 3 does out of a group of 4 shot offhand at around 150 yards. I can assure you by the time you strip the backstraps and quarters off of 3 deer in late June heat at dusk with mosquitos buzzing you it turns into work pretty quick. I would put each deer quarters and backstraps into a gamebag and put it in the garage fridge to cool until I had a chance to grind them up.
One sultry summer evening, my wife and I were at a tavern in Florence, SC, enjoying a few Sierra Nevadas, when the bartendress walked over and said there was a phone call for me. It was a farmer friend, wanting to know if I wanted a deer he'd just shot in his soybean field. So I drove over to his farm and retrieved the deer; the night was South-Carolina-hot, and the deer was covered with hundreds of ticks, which were flowing off of the now-deceased animal like a stream of army ants. So I took it home and skinned and quartered it. Yeah, it turns into work pretty quickly.

I will say, though, that I do like not having to worry about the high price of meat at the grocery. That's one think I miss about living on the coast.....abundant venison, and easy access to it.
 
Cull shooting gets onerous after a bit. My record in one day was 23 hogs. We were not saving the meat. The fun starts to wear off after a certain number.

I helped a farmer in South Africa cull off springbok once. I killed 8 and I think the total was 64 for the day. While I enjoyed the privilege of the experience I was ready to be done by days end. IMG_0598.jpeg
 
Yeah the more I think about it and read the posts from folks with experience, the less it sounds like hunting and more like work.
If your farmer will allow you to do one at a time like mine did, it's not bad. Cleaning 4 or 5 deer in one day feels like something one should get paid for.

Maryland had a program called "Hunters for the Hungry", which allowed hunters to drop deer carcasses of at processors for the purpose of supplying meat to homeless shelters and food kitchens. You should check to see if your state has a similar program, as you wouldn't have to do the cleaning or processing yourself then. If you decide to go that route, I'd suggest hunting in the mornings, so that the processor will still be open when you want to drop the deer off.
 
As I remember it, Maryland program requires the deer to be field dressed before drop off.

For Me, its kind of like a prairie dog shoot. It's fun at first but I quickly tire of just killing stuff. Add in the necessity of cleaning and butchering, and it's just work.

Let me HUNT every day of the season and KILL on the morning of the last day.
 
Congratulations! Sounds like you found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Funny how things turn out when you least expected. I just finished the last of my venison breakfast sausage this morning and am down to about 8 pounds of venison . Glad deer season is a couple of months away.
 
Yeah the more I think about it and read the posts from folks with experience, the less it sounds like hunting and more like work.
It is, but if you can machine retrieve and dont have to fully process its not bad.
I used to do all the control shooting and processing on our shrimp farm. At first it was fun, then it was work, and eventually i got good enough at the worky bits that it was mostly just fun again. Felt good always having meat to give away also.....tho even shooting 2-3 a night I couldn't keep up during grad season sometimes.

I shot primarily at night with a 22 and a spot light. If they were smart enough to stay out of the light they lived, if not they got popped. Processing after dark was alot easier for me
 
I sold one freezer but still have 2. I also vacuum seal everything with a commercial grade vac sealer. My meat is good for a year or more. I do all my own processing and make bulk breakfast sausage and smoked summer sausage and jerky.

My hunting buddy has a Foodsaver. We've eaten venison that was vac-packed and deep frozen that was 2 or 3 years old. It was just fine.

(This was ground meat that we made into chili. I can't speak to something like chops or steaks.)
 
My hunting buddy has a Foodsaver. We've eaten venison that was vac-packed and deep frozen that was 2 or 3 years old. It was just fine.

(This was ground meat that we made into chili. I can't speak to something like chops or steaks.)
As long as the bag doesn't break its seal, it's good practically forever, frozen this way.
 
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