Closing Remarks

Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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40 Responses

  1. Patrick Cahalan says:

    I’ve been meaning to ask: do you butcher the large carcasses yourself? Or is this a “trade for parts” sort of deal, or do you outsource on a cash basis?

    I’ve dealt with a pig before, and they’re big, but never done the whole job myself and dizam, it’s messy.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

      When I was a kid, I worked for a rural butcher who would take care of any of your large game for about $50-$100.

      Every winter, I would eat soooo much venison sausage….Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:


      In the past I have paid professionals to process deer for me, which hurts my pride more than I can say. I have also done it myself when I was younger but these days I don’t have a good setup at home (my garage doesn’t have a good place to attach the winch). These days one of my friends does it for me at his house in exchange for access to some of the land we hunt, since it is owned by my family.

      I also helped butcher hogs when I was in my teens. That was a 2-day affair with about a dozen people involved. Fun, but a lot of work. Report

  2. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    I gotta ask:

    What kinds of frog?

    What is squirrel like? Is it good plain, or is it one of those meats that is much better in a soup or stew?Report

  3. North says:

    Just call me pavlov. I took one look at that lil pic and my mouth started watering.Report

  4. Damon says:

    Growing up my Dad and I would butcher the deer ourselves. That was partially a result of having no one to butcher it for him I’m sure. Now he’s much older and takes it to a butcher. This guy will make anything into sausage too, and it’s pretty damn good.

    Summer sausage from elk or bison
    Venison breakfast sausage
    It’s all damn good.

    I do miss the birds though: quail, chukkar, grouse. Sadly, the quail hunting itsn’t what it used to be 50 years ago where he now lives…..Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Damon says:

      Damon – the quail hunting has gotten terrible here as well. It’s a nation-wide problem. Not enough habitat. We have one small covey at the farm but I try to leave them alone.Report

      • North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Could you describe the taste and texture of wild turkey to me? It’s one wild bird I’ve never eaten (never been south of Minnesota really) and I am enormously curious about it. I would presume it’s thinner and tougher than a domestic engineered bird and possibly more flavorful? Is toughness a problem?Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

          North – Most wild turkeys are remarkably similar in taste to domestic, although you are right, slightly more tough. Careful cooking fixes that. The turkeys I usually shoot are living mostly off of clover and corn in the spring so their diet isn’t much different than domestic birds.Report

          • North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Wow I am surprised that they’re so similar though I suppose I shouldn’t be, diet informs the flavor.Report

            • Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:

              One caveat I would add is that the meat can be a bit more ‘complex’ in the fall. While they will still eat corn and winter wheat where available they will also begin eating a lot of acorns to build up their winter protein stores. The flavor from the acorns ends up in the fat on the bird and as we know fat = flavor. This is similar to a good Serrano ham.Report

      • Citizen in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Quail are thriving here, as well as dove. Over the last month the rabbit population was annihilated by a bobcat. I miss those furry lil fellas hoppin around the yard. they should return in force soon.Report

      • Damon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Yep. Sadly. My Dad once called me to ask if I wanted to kick into a group land purchase for deer hunting. Four or five folks would buy the land and pay for it to be planted with desirable crops for deer.

        I indicated I’d rather do that for quail, but Dad said that the cost of creating the habitat and maintaining it, much less getting the quail to come would be time and $$ expensive. Many times greater than the “deer route”.

        I have heard some good news about folks making progress restoring habitat in Texas though…..Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to Damon says:


          The problem we have here is that farms are relatively small (under 200 acres). People will tell the fish & wildlife guys they are managing their 150 acres for quail and the response wil be, “That’s great but you really need 500 acres.” They’ve been encouraging people to team up with their neighbors but there just aren’t enough hunters anymore.Report

          • Damon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Yep, number of acres was indeed a factor in my case. That’s what Dad said. God I’d love to have 500 acres of prime quail land.

            490 of it could be for the quail.Report

    • Miss Mary in reply to Damon says:

      I like to quail watch outside of my office window. I’ve never had the desire to kill them though.Report

  5. Michelle says:

    The whole world of hunting is pretty alien to me, so it’s been interesting to read your stories about it. Unless I was starving, I don’t think I could bring myself to kill an animal but, if you eat meat (which I rarely do) there is a certain honesty about it.

    Congratulations on a successful hunting season.Report

    • Miss Mary in reply to Michelle says:


      I can’t bring myself to kills something, so I’m a vegetarian. But I like the idea of Mike killing an animal who has lived in the wild and eating. I guess that’s the way to go.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Miss Mary says:

        Miss Mary – there is an old saying that the problem with game animals is that they have the misfortune of being delicious.

        I haven’t worked out the details yet but I am hoping that when I die my family can just leave me somewhere for the critters to eat. Maybe they could rub bacon all over me to speed things along. After all the hunting I have done it only seems fair.Report

      • Kim in reply to Miss Mary says:

        If someone doesn’t kill the deer around here soon, there will be an ecological catastrophe (scale: small). And people aren’t going to notice in time.

        If there was a way I could wave a wand and make it legal, I’d pay Mike to come up here and hunt ’em down. With arrows, preferably.

        These deer are mentally retarded. Chuck a stick (or snowball) at ’em, and they sniff it to see if it’s food.Report

  6. Mike Schilling says:

    I should probably refrain from commenting, us being on different teams and all, but this was another terrific post. Have you ever considered writing a book about your experiences hunting? I would buy it.Report