September 25, 2023

Deer Hunter’s Daughter

In honor of my brother and father’s February birthdays coming up, I’ve decided to say a few things about deer hunting.

I know some people get all up in arms about hunting. If those people are vegetarian or vegan, then I get it. I get your point of view and I respect you for having it. Vegans draw a hard line which legitimizes their choice.

But some folks are trying to save the deer, yet they’re eating meat that they buy at the grocery store. I don’t know if you have seen the movie Food, Inc. But you really should watch it.

I didn’t make it to the end of Food, Inc. because, point taken. Painful reality of how our mass produced food systems work, at the expense of a good and healthy life for God’s precious creatures.

The conditions that our American farm animals endure before being led off to the slaughter, prettied up, antibioticed up and packaged off for sale are utterly deplorable. All you need is a few scenes to burn the truth into your mind forever.

Let me break it down for you:

Feedlot animal = chronic, stressed life for the animal.

Stress = sickness and malnutrition

We eat feedlot animal. We get sick.

And at the heart of this system is some sort of anti-life force at work. Seriously. Just watch the movie or part of it. You will become aware of why free-range, grass-fed is so vital to humans, animals and the health of our planet.

This brings me to being a deer hunter’s daughter.

I would take the nutritious meat of a wild deer that has been running free the way that goodness intended, any day over the tragic life of a feedlot animal.

So yes. I’m a hunter’s daughter. And my dad had good sense, solid practices, respect for the animal and respect for the sport.

I don’t know what people think of hunters, but it’s probably not your vision of some reckless, gun-toting lunatic lurking in the forest.

Hunting season comes each fall. For most of us, it’s just a blip in the radar. For people like my dad and brother, this is their time.

So every autumn like clockwork, for basically my entire life, my parents would have a fight because my dad would make plans to go upstate to a cabin in the poconos, OR up in New York state, away from crowded civilization, with his buddies.

For their sojourn down route 80 or up the New York Thruway, each guy would bring something delicious, some type of home cooked meal to share… a few bottles of wine, and of course they’d have their hunting gear and their shotguns.

On the topic of food. Here’s one of the many beautiful venison dishes my brother has created from his catch.

The deer hunting ritual, as it was told to me:

My dad would spend hours sitting in a tree with his senses poised, waiting for movement… ears and fingers and toes growing numb from the cold.

To me, this sounds dreadfully boring. But it’s something that men have historically participated in… sharpening their eyes and ears for a clue that a delicious beast could be treading the nearby grounds.

Then you have the deer. Running free, living the life of a wild beast the way it was meant to be. Not trapped in a tiny, cramped stall, eating slop from a trough, making pitiful sounds and waiting for death before it even knows life.

No, the deer gets to live out its brief blissful existence– then, a single incident and it bleeds out and leaves this world.

We eat meat because our bodies need the nutrition. Protein, minerals, B12. When I was pregnant, I was told specifically to eat meat because vitamin B12 was critical for the formation of my baby’s nervous system, spinal column.

The basic tap root of a human takes shape via nourishment supplied by the meat of an animal. Think about that.

I eat a lot of plant-based meals. I’m not down on vegans. But I also have a great respect for the hunter, and people who voice their anti-hunter sentiments on social media don’t understand.

What’s the alternative to not permitting guns and hunting? Handing the need for population control of the local wildlife over to government officials to shoot up with birth control from a different type of gun?

(That’s what they do on the Chincoteague and Assateague islands where the ponies run wild, in case you didn’t know.)

So how does that make it better? They’re not letting the food chain’s natural order take care of things. Instead, they advocate something unnatural and unnecessary, not to mention inconvenient and expensive… and likely terrifying to the animals who live there.

All because of our own egotistical and greed-driven human compulsion to control literally everything on the planet.

This makes no sense. “Don’t eat those animals. Eat these instead. We will buy genetically engineered animal parts from China and you can have those. But don’t hunt. It’s wrong.”

Don’t eat wild animals. We’ll buy fish from Southeast Asia where they cultivate them on so-called farms where they are fed a diet of fecal waste and pesticides.

That seems much better than hunting for wild deer, doesn’t it.

To some people, the reality of a deer hunter’s existence hits a little too up close and personal. But it’s no different than buying meat in the supermarket. Someone is doing the messy work. If you don’t want to look, you don’t have to.

What are guys who hunt like?

Well, I’ll tell you what they are not like. My dad wasn’t passive aggressive, because the assertive part of his personality was allowed to flourish, at least partially via the sport of hunting.

For the most part, my dad’s manly hunter instinct was satisfied via this activity; male energy directed in a proper and productive way which brought food to our table.

My dad hunted deer for our dinner table but he did not ever conduct himself in an impulsive, unhinged or reckless way.

If I haven’t hit home hard enough with that one, let me reiterate. My dad’s male energy was directed properly. Think about this. Testosterone channeled for good. Mainly, feeding us.

But what about gun safety, you ask?

My dad was responsible with his guns. He kept them clean, he was tidy and organized with their storage. He didn’t  brandish his weapons. He didn’t use them to intimidate, and I mean never.

My dad had important gun rituals and respect around hunting guns. He didn’t show off… though he had appreciation for a finely crafted shotgun or whatever he used.

Here are some other things that my hunting dad did not do. My dad didn’t sit around at bars drinking and leering at women. He worked hard at his job and his outlet was hunting, a few weekends in the autumn he was away in a hunting cabin, hanging out with his buddies.

Spending the days traversing the woods, sitting in trees in the freezing cold, then coming back to make a big meal, hang out, talk and laugh with his friends. That has been my dad’s hunter life since his days of being a young buck himself.

My mother was resentful, as I would imagine many hunters’ wives are. But I’m sure some are not. Why do you want to always look at your husband’s boring face for the rest of eternity? I have to laugh at that.

You can view the hunter’s weekend as something to be angry about, or you can look at it as a delightful respite from the monotony of married life.

What about the tasks that get pushed aside for the hunting weekend? There’s always a workaround.

Sacrifice that Chuck E. Cheese birthday party to update the bathroom, or whatever you have to do to fit in that hunting weekend while still getting stuff done.

Say no to things you really didn’t want to do anyway, and yes to the things that will improve your life. It’s okay. You don’t have to do everything.

And when your husband comes home from his time away, maybe you are even glad to see him.

You can ask him what his adventure consisted of, and you can prepare a dinner made of the beautiful meat of a healthy, robust animal who lived a short but fulfilled life doing the proper things that animals should.

Things like running free, grazing on grass and nibbling the bark of trees, just being a deer. Not trapped in dirty, crowded housing hoping for sunlight to come through the barn window for a half an hour.

My dad taught my brother how to hunt. My brother was told he had ADHD as a kid. They didn’t use those letters back then, they just said he was hyperactive.

But it worked somehow. My brother is able to direct his so-called hyperactive energy, sitting in a tree waiting for a deer to come by, and do this for hours on end.

My brother grew up to be a good hunter, has caught many wild animals and gone through the ritual of having them butchered, packaged up, stocking them in his freezer, finding new recipes for venison and cooking and feeding them to us.

Here’s another of my brother’s amazing venison meals. His children have had the benefit of nutrient-dense, fresh caught wild meats since they first cut teeth to chew with.


One great way my brother uses venison is to mix it with regular pork sausage meat and crumble these together for sausage, with some seasoning. I’m sure he has a special recipe.

This is such a wonderful, healthy alternative to regular sausage that we all know isn’t good for your heart.

My dad never got too creative with his meat preparation, other than to hand it over to my mom to make something tasty out of it, and she always did.

One time the two of them tricked my grandmother, serving her “the most delicious pot roast she ever ate” and then later my parents broke it to her that the meat came from a deer.

My brother has really gone next-level with his venison recipes. I’ve told him numerous times he should make a cookbook, but you know how these hyperactive people are… 😂 just kidding.

But that’s why I’m here! ::Waves::

My brother has made venison jerky… the healthy alternative to Slim Jims! We’ve had his venison queso on a nacho platter, venison pot pie, venison stew and many more venison-based recipes.

Even I made a great cheese steak that came from venison, deer meat that a neighbor of ours shot.

It was a damn fantastic cheesesteak, and you knew that meat had far superior nutrition to a sad slab of undernourished cow that they injected with red dye to make it look good before slapping it on the supermarket shelf with a manager’s special price tag.

Again, my deer hunting father has always been responsible about his hobby, and it was a useful hobby. My dad and my brother hang out with hunters and fishermen. These men bring food to our table. It’s delicious, nutritious food.

It’s fresh, it comes from wild creatures living a proper free life, not stressed and sickly animals pumped with antibiotics and waiting for death which is imminent.

Please do not knock the hunter. If you are a wife of a hunter who’s unhappy, negotiate your own girls weekend in the spring. You’ve earned it. Go and take off with your gal pals, go to a spa, heck maybe even indulge in a trip to the shooting range.

Again, I learned from my dad that hunters don’t mess around. There are proper rules to gun handling. There are smart, necessary ways of being a hunter and practicing safety. There are ethical components to hunting to keep things fair and right.

You don’t hit a deer with your car, then take it home and eat it. That’s not part of the sport of hunting. It’s cheating.

Here’s a tip that I know first hand. Don’t bring your kids up to the hunting cabin during deer season. You will literally be inundated with hunting talk the entire time. 😂

Even so, I’m not going to knock the hunter. It’s a dying sport and skill but it should be preserved. Men who have guns for hunting are using guns the right way, the responsible way. This is what should be passed on to the next generations. Think about it.

And I can’t forget the women who hunt! One of my girlfriends is a skilled markswoman… and she has a clan of ladies just as enthusiastic about the sport as she is.

Your hubby, who’s sitting around for hours playing video games. Do you find him attractive when he’s doing that? I’m not going to judge people. We all play video games once in awhile.

But he’d be a lot cooler if he was hunting.

Dina Gio works as a freelance writer, web marketer and creator of WordPress blogs. Contact her via email for a project quote today.