Dave's Place: The Missing Links

When there's no deer, there's no sausage.

Field & Stream Online Editors

After busting on my brother Dan's ineptness last week (see "Dan the Man"), it's only fair that I reveal my own. The deer season is done here, and I am deerless. As you may know, this isn't the first time I've failed to get my deer. Until now, at least, the only consequence of an unfilled tag has been the tangible fact of an unfilled freezer. But now that I've gone two seasons in a row without getting one (for the first time, I might add-just for the record-not that I'm counting), I've noticed a few intangibles popping up.

For example, for years Robin and I have talked about getting a chest freezer to accommodate all the venison that used to crowd our small kitchen freezer. A few days ago, I saw one on sale for $116. When I told Robin about it, she said, "Are you sure we need it? I mean, there's no point paying $116 if all we'll ever have to store in it are vegetables."

I didn't think much of this at first because Robin has an unusual genius for insulting people without meaning to. But a couple of days later I was putting a coat of oil on my deer guns before putting them away for the year when my brother P.H., who is not a hunter, stopped by for a visit. He looked at the two muzzleloaders and three rifles on my desk.

"Boy, I didn't know you had so many guns," he said.

"These are just my deer guns," I answered.

"No kidding?" he said. "Do you really need them all? I mean, how many guns does it take to kill a deer?" Then, although he denies it, I could have sworn I heard him add under his breath, "Or should I say not kill a deer?"

Later that same day, my sister Barbara called me, and the subject of my not getting a deer came up. "You know," she said, "I should introduce you to my friend Joel. He just started hunting this year, and he got his first buck last week-a forkhorn, I think he said. Maybe he could help you get one next year."

And it came up again more recently at dinner with my brother Dan and my sister-in-law Mary, both of whom are quite fond of venison sausage. Dan, in fact, has a very fancy sausage maker, which in most years he brings to my house to help me turn part of my deer into links. In return, I send him home with a few white packages.

"I guess we won't be making sausage this year," Dan said.

"Nope," I answered.

"I've been thinking, Dave," Mary chimed in. "We both know Dan's never going to get a deer, right?"

"Well, you never-"

"Get real," she insisted.

"Okay, probably not."

"And how long has it been since you got one?"

"Two years."

"Hmm," she pondered. "So, how much do you think we could get for that sausage maker on eBay?"

Apparently, a deer hunter is only as good as his last two seasons, which means I am now tied with Dan as the family's worst deer hunter.