Just letting you all know.
I think it's a sign my family's getting older and older, or just not hunting, or something. No one got a deer on the first or second day, or at all that I've heard of. And I know the PA deer population is exploding and has been for some time. I never got one. I had a chance a couple times. My brother and I were right down behind the house at joining of our feeder crick with Seeley Creek. I didn't have my mind in the hunt–I often didn't–so my brother tapped me on the shoulder and pointed across the water to the steep sidehill covered in pine. A buck was skittering his way down among the pine needles and rocks, a couple doe close behind. I can't remember what I was hunting with–probably my brother's 12-gauge– but I remember drawing the bead down behind the front leg and waiting for the buck to stop at the bottom before he took off again. I waited and waited, in the way time turns like molasses before the shot, and realized I couldn't do it. I didn't want to do it. I liked venison, a great deal, but not enough to shoot and kill to get it. So I didn't shoot. My brother winked at me when I brought the barrel down, but didn't say anything. He didn't shoot either, but he has his own reasons for that. I don't know them.
As penance of a sort, I haven't eaten venison much since then. Though I do love the memory of seeing the deer hang from the apple tree overnight, and then butchering the cold carcass on the metal dining room table, seeing my dad or my mother slide the knife into the meat on either side of the spine, and how the backstrap would go straight into the frying pan with some butter, maybe some flour–I don't remember exactly–and then out on a communal plate, even while our hands were still bloody, and even though the carcass wasn't nearly done.
I have bad memories too, like trying to force the shot-meat and the gristle into something identifiable as hamburger, which meant through the hand-grinder attached temporarily to the kitchen counter,and often coming close to breaking the thing. That was my job, to grind.And grind. And grind some more.