Dave's Place: Roadkill Winter

The season beat me down, but a stranger came to the rescue.

Field & Stream Online Editors

I was just thinking about my deer season.

Let's see.

I put in my time at the range. I put in my time in the woods. I hunted farmland; I hunted the big woods; I hunted rub lines, scrapes, feeding areas, bedding areas, and travel corridors.

I walked for miles, waited for hours, made mock scrapes, left scent trails, followed fresh tracks, froze my butt off, and got strep throat. Those of you who read my last column know that I also slipped in cow manure, fell on my face, and lost a shoe.

For my efforts, I saw several does I couldn't shoot because I spaced on the doe-tag application deadline; I passed on a spike and a forkhorn; I saw three good bucks that refused to offer me a decent shot; and I never once took a shot at a deer.

Then, about a week after the season's end and just as I was beginning to come to terms with the horror of spending a winter with no venison, I was relaxing on the couch, soaking up the warmth of the woodstove, when the doorbell rang.

It was a stranger. "Do me a favor," he said. "I can't get my cellphone to work. So would you call the cops and let them know that somebody hit a deer just down the road there."

"Gladly," I said.

While I made a beeline for the phone, my wife, Robin, popped her head into the kitchen.

"Who was that?"

"Deliveryman."

"What's he delivering?"

"My venison."

An hour later, I had a spikehorn hanging from my apple tree, all of its meaty parts in fine shape. A day later, I had steaks in the freezer. A day after that, homemade sausage.

Last night, Robin was finishing up a phone conversation with her mother. "Well, we're just getting ready to sit down for dinner...."

"What are you having?" her mother apparently asked.

"Roadkill," Robin said.

True enough, it's going to be a roadkill winter for us, but I'm not complaining. In fact, it has since occurred to me that compared to hunting, this is a much easier way to get your venison--not to mention considerably less expensive.

On top of all the preparation and hard hunting I did this past season, I plunked down a bunch of money on two new rifles, a new scope, and a fancy tree stand. If I'm smart, next year I'll just buy a police scanner, and instead of waiting in the woods and freezing my butt off, I'll wait on the couch and enjoy the heat of the woodstove.

Of course, I'm not that smart.